Design Build is rapidly overtaking the traditional architectural specification model. Most building material manufacturers don’t know how to gain sales from Design Build. They are happy when an unexpected order just shows up, and they wonder where it came from.
The Design Build market is played at the distributor and contractor level. It’s mainly local and about trusted relationships. It’s also about shifting the risk.
In the traditional architectural specification sales process, you count on the specifier to get it wrong. He can’t be an expert in all the products and systems that go into a building. When something works, he uses it again. The result is that he just cuts and pastes specs from a previous project.
The sharp bidder recognizes that what is specified may not actually work in this situation. Frequently, they will provide a low bid to get the job. Once they are awarded the job, they then inform the specifier of the problem with their specification.
The problem can, of course, be fixed for an additional fee, which now makes the job much more profitable.
In Design Build, partners replace bidders. The knowledgeable distributor or contractor is given a description of a product, system or need, based on performance criteria. The partner is expected to come back with a solution that works at a reasonable cost.
In this situation, the supplier assumes the risk. If the system doesn’t perform, the supplier is expected to make it right, at their cost.
Building material manufacturers no longer have enough sales people to cover all the Design Build projects on a local level. They have to rely on their distributors and contractors.
Two ways smart building material manufactures can grow their Design Build sales.
1. Rapid technical assistance when it’s needed. The distributor or contractor needs help Right Now. You need to have qualified technical people available to answer questions in live time.
2. Pricing on demand. Your customer also needs pricing from you in live time. If your pricing is flexible, the person on the phone or email has to be empowered to adjust the price. For even better service include freight charges in your pricing calculations.
Remember, Design Build is all about speed. If you, as a building material manufacturer, are serious about growing with Design Build, you need to become faster in your responses.
Distributors and contractors have confessed to me when they can’t wait for a manufacturer to respond, they will go ahead and quote a price without specifying a manufacturer. After they secure the job, they tell the manufacturer how much they will pay. If the manufacturer doesn’t agree to the price, they move on to another.
To win the Design Build game, manufacturers need to have the ability to rapidly respond to questions from their distributors and contractors.