In the following series of posts, I’ll be reviewing the most efficient techniques to sell to and “sell through” architects.
Architect at work from “Catalogue modèle de l’architecte 1913” (Paris, France)
Why sell to architects?
According to our estimations, there are about 1.3 million active architects working in the building industry at any given time. Worldwide. You can safely double that figure if you want to include interior architects, decorators, office space planners, booth builders and other design related professionals. Those are key actors holding a “few” dozen billion dollar market.
Architects are decision makers. They are specifiers of building related goods as doctors prescribe medicine. And while pharmaceutical companies understood the later long time ago, most of the building related manufacturers didn’t seem to quite “get it” about architects. Yet.
The main reason behind that lack of comprehension is probably due to a profound misunderstanding of the architect’s work and role as a “prescriber of goods”. Here are, briefly, some points to take into account:
- Most architects don’t care much which chair or window they’ll prescribe within a similar budgetary limit or need. For example, if an architect gets to chose between a skylight window manufactured by company A and a similar product by company B (similar in general aspect, size and price) he or she will most likely choose arbitrarily the first one to “fall into their hands”. The reason for that is – time. The lack of – to be precise.
- Most of today’s architects don’t keep a well referenced, well-organized materials and product library at their offices. They get your beautiful well designed glossy and heavy catalog by UPS or your country’s postal service and just stack it somewhere in the darkest corner of their practice. The reason for that is, well, time.
- Most of today’s catalogs made by manufacturers don’t suit architects needs. Catalogs without measurements, catalogs in which the object is in a non-neutral context (ex: an armchair pictured in a hotel’s lobby) – The architect needs to do the mental exercise of extracting the object off the current context and imagining it inside his own design… To cite two of the most common problems of paper catalogs.
- 99% of today’s architects use at least one kind of CAD or BIM software. Making paper catalogs quite frustrating to them while making 3CT quite appealing.
- Specifying is a mere small fraction in the work process of an architect. In fact, only big architectural firms have real dedicated specifying teams. Most architecture firms are 5-10 employees strong and specifying is left to the very end of the design process.
- Most architects have few “fetish” objects they specify every time. As it’s very hard and sometimes even impossible for architects to keep up-to-date with all of the new products.
So how can you overcome all those points and how can you make sure you understand the relevant needs and related technology? In the upcoming posts, it will provide you with a complete overview, set of rules and guidance so you could start working and selling to architects in no time. Stay tuned.