Architecture and design salespersons love to share their knowledge of both design and products.

Whether they sell to the trades or directly to consumers, sales reps have a deep understanding of how a particular product can enhance or improve aesthetics, construction, or efficiency. This knowledge often comes from formal education, but experience in architecture, design, and sales also matters.

The most successful salespersons demonstrate three common traits.

Salespersons understand and build relationships

Making a sale might seem like a priority when you meet with clients, but in reality, the deal should be last on your mind. Building a relationship takes precedence. Sales come from the natural result of the relationships you build. You can only create those relationships when you know your client.

Sometimes that means working at the local level with architects, builders, and suppliers. Rather than dropping off samples or a bid, become part of the process rather than an afterthought. For example, you might show up on-site with a few coffees, mention last night’s remarkable sunset and how you hoped they were able to enjoy it. By the way, this deck you’re building will offer fantastic sunset-watching views, too. Any thoughts regarding soft lighting?

Even if you don’t sell lighting products, you might be able to put them in contact with someone who does. And if you do sell lighting, you might have some options that would work.

Remember that your buyers don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. 

Timing is everything

Sales depend on the timing. Create the need and then offer the solution.

Some architectural and design salespeople try to pitch the product before creating a need for it. No clients become buyers unless they recognize that they require the product. If, for example, you’re selling stone pavers, you first must create a need for them. After all, no one likes walking in mud when trying to get from a doorway to a driveway. Stone pavers would significantly reduce the likelihood of dirtying your shoes.

Once you agree that the mud is a nuisance, you can explain why the pavers are the best solution – cheaper than concrete, greater design versatility, fantastic ROI, etc.

Then buyers feel like they have a choice, thanks to the lifeline you threw them. They don’t want muddy feet, and here’s the perfect solution. It even comes with added benefits regarding cost, design, and ROI.

Mastering the art of flexibility

Should you always be aggressive in your pursuit of the sale? Or is a soft sale the best route?

It depends.

Gauge your client’s needs and readiness before your share your expertise. Vary your approach according to the client’s needs. Some buyers want you to take a back seat until they’re ready to discuss your products. Others may value your input and want your support in making architectural and design decisions.

If you’d like to share your expertise with others, we need to talk.

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