Pin Board: "What are the main differences between specification selling and account sales?"
Shaun: "A specification sales position is quite different to a traditional sales job in the building industry, although many make a successful transition between the two. The key differences that you can expect to find are:
- You are very much seen as a trusted person: In my opinion you are not a salesperson but a consultant and a consultant is not viewed in quite the same way as a salesperson. What you say is taken on trust and your reputation relies on it. Keep the trust and you will keep your contacts and reap the reward. Your company will benefit from increased brand loyalty and gain competitive advantage that will lead to repeat orders and enhanced business relationships.
- You are working on multiple projects at the same time: This can get very confusing and excellent time management skills are needed as well as careful preparation for each call. It is not something that you can do ‘off the cuff’ as can be the case in account sales.
- You are selling on value, benefits, regulations and standards: This is different than dealing with buyers, pricing, codes, stock, merchandising, promotions, lead-times, missed delivery problems and having a more basic product knowledge. In specification selling you will need to have an excellent technical understanding of your products and the standards and regulations that apply.
- You are dealing with many people across multiple job functions: This means that your ability to be flexible is paramount. You will not get an instant high and boost from an order on a daily basis, but you will see a much longer-term benefit, which is much more rewarding. The order that you are responsible for getting will usually be very large.
- Your efforts feed account sales: Specification sales should build a close relationship with accounts sales as you will be responsible for giving a particular merchant the opportunity to provide the stock for the project that you have secured the specification on. The relationship between the contractor, salesperson and the merchant is an important part of the whole process.
- You need to prove everything you say and have the evidence to support it: It is vital that your company provides you with the resources to do this. When something is ‘specified’ it adds a lot of value and with this comes responsibility.
"Hopefully you are still interested in specification selling and feel that the key differences appeal to you and don't forget you will spend much of your time on-site!"
In the final part of the series Shaun will be letting us know why he loves specification selling, how he ended up in specification sales and the career development options available.
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 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.