Pin Board: "What do you love about specification selling?"
Shaun: "I love my job for many reasons and I look forward to each day as it offers complete variety and keeps you interested and your brain switched on.
"It gives you control as, more than any other type of sales; you have a greater ability to influence the decision for your product to be used. It also allows you to feel as though you are making a difference to people and the environment, as the products that I recommend improve the standard of living, reduce energy bills and help to create a greener world. That might sound corny, but it does make you feel that you are contributing.
"Specification selling is a safer and more reliable environment than standard sales, as you are measured on other factors rather than just orders and with not being so reliant on commission, due to a higher basic wage, this allows you to take a long-term approach to the role and develop the job and yourself."
Pin Board: "What career development opportunities are there?"
Shaun: "I have been lucky to progress my career over the years to be in a position where I am at a world-leading company that offers superb training and development opportunities. Of course, moving to companies with larger product ranges and greater opportunities on a worldwide basis is open to everyone. However, I would say that loyalty and stability in a specification role is viewed with much more respect than it is in a regular field sales job.
"There are many opportunities to manage specification teams on a regional, national or worldwide basis or to specialise in a particular sector. Many also develop a career in product development or as a Technical Manager/Director or even end up sitting on trade bodies and advising on regulations within the industry.
"You can make the role your own and should always be learning and acquiring new knowledge, which is key to the role and through owning this knowledge your value in the industry grows."
Pin Board: "How did you end up in specification sales?"
Shaun: "I actually started my working life in retail, when I co-owned a sports shop. In hindsight this gave me the basic skills needed to succeed in specification sales, as I had to find a solution for people’s very different requirements with an appropriate product – although I can’t say I miss people’s smelly feet when advising on trainers to meet their fitness or running needs!
"After selling the sports shop, I started my career in the building and construction industry, working in fire protection for Astroflame. I started in internal sales and customer service, which meant that I dealt with the whole spectrum of people involved in the selection and sale of their products. By working for a small close-knit company it gave me an excellent foundation to understand the bigger picture.
"After a number of years I left Astroflame as Sales Manager and joined PFC Corofil, the leading UK company that actually first developed passive fire protection products, as their Business Development Manager. At PFC I answered technical calls from the office and also on-site, this helped me to develop their product range and support services to meet the changing needs of the market. I would actively seek out new projects and spend my time advising on regulations and how to meet them.
"During my time at PFC I learnt how not to miss an opportunity to sell their whole range by always asking the question “What are you doing with/for that, etc, etc.” I also dealt with distribution on a national basis including speaking direct to their customers as well as putting business their way.
"I then developed my career by becoming a Firestop Specialist at the world-leading construction company, Hilti, providing site support services. This gave me valuable enhanced understanding of the requirements of the whole specification chain, not just firestopping. This provided the missing knowledge and experience to allow me join Rockwool in the role I have always been looking for.
"Good luck in your career!"
Part One: What is specification selling?
Pinnacle Consulting is a specialist recruitment consultancy for the building products sector, if you are interested in developing a career in Specification Sales in the building materials' industry then please contact us to discuss the Specification Sales Job right for you. Call our expert building industry recruitment consultants for a discussion on your career on 01480 405225.
Pin Board will continue to assist job seekers and recruiters in the building product industry with further interviews with professionals from the sector. Keep checking in on the Pin Board blog or make sure that you are alerted to their publication by signing up to our social media sites.
With many thanks to Shaun and to Rockwool, a leading supplier of stone wool insulation materials for thermal, fire and acoustic protection. For more information on Rockwool www.rockwool.co.uk