When they must, how do architects prefer to deal with sales people?


Thousands of companies want to get in front of architects who can specify and/or recommend their products. It can be very annoying to get unexpected sales calls while you are trying to focus on a specific project.

What approaches from sales people do you appreciate and feel work best for architects and what approaches just annoy you?

Dec 15, 17 6:28 pm
Non Sequitur

don't call or drop by uninvited.  I'll contact you if I think your product is appropriate... and also, if you have free BIM/CAD and details.

If you drop by my office and you're peddling some nonsense green-washed jive, I'll black list you.

Dec 15, 17 6:50 pm

Thanks. I agree with this.

Don't call us, we'll call you. Or not.

Dec 15, 17 7:51 pm

This annoys me. All you want to know is how to trick us into buying more of your crap.

Dec 16, 17 3:38 am

No. You are stereotyping. Not all sales people are like that just like not all architects are arrogant and conceited. I was asking for advice so that I can help to avoid coming across such a salesperson as that.


All you care about is how you come across? Typical...


Everyone should care how they come across to others. What is so wrong about that? And I haven't tried to trick anyone into buying anything as you stated. I was only asking for advice.


"I was only asking for advice."

So you can find better ways of approaching us without us getting too annoyed and try selling us more your crap.

What you're talking about isn't sales, it's MARKETING.

Marketing people (as opposed to sales people - those who provide info and take orders) are routinely dismissed as a nuisance and an annoyance. They think their shit is better than all other shit because they profit from selling it, so they try to stick their shit in your face. They'll even give you a free taste! 

It's a con game. Focus on making great products or providing great services and you won't need marketing. The more marketing you need the shittier your product is.

Dec 16, 17 9:39 am

Thanks. Good advice and I agree.

Serious response: Know Your Shit. 

Translated: Be a *knowledge* resource for me, not just a provider of pretty images and pricing and free food. Know the technical aspects of your product inside and out. If I say I have this big an opening to fill with a security screen, come back at me with "The Model X can do that in four or six panels with no bottom rail required and a remote electronic motor. The Model Y is only two panels but will require a bottom rail, and the motor is not remote and can be noisy so that may affect your choice."

Dec 16, 17 9:43 am

Thank you. That is good advice.


I agree with Donna.  Also realize that if you've been repping your current product for less than 5 years we may know more about it already than you do.  I don't expect the rep to be deeply and equally familiar with every single thing their company makes, but if I say "I just specified your purple grout on my train station project" and you say "we don't carry purple grout", even though it's on your website and in the color sample set that your company just mailed me last week - well then I'm going to be annoyed with you. 

Also don't send me heavy boxes of unsolicited samples.

Do send me wine for Christmas.

Dec 16, 17 10:20 am

Thanks. So far I am seeing the alcohol is good and product knowledge is vital.

Be careful with the alcohol some offices have strict rules regarding that. Best to ask before sending. also some firms get too much stuff and prefer a gift to a food bank especially this time of year.


agree with Donna. Stick to the basics of being able to answer questions and if you say you are going to do something like send some info or provide a quote then do it. I don't like to have to remind you to do things, so I don't and just do something else instead and you get blacklisted. 

And don't act like we are best friends, we have nothing in common.

Dec 16, 17 11:11 am

I agree. I hate when I just meet a salesperson and they act like they've known me my whole life.

I sometimes see them when I look at cars. But I can never decide on which car to get because they all seem to have design flaws. I could literally have a billion dollars to spend and I could still not decide on a car.

Dec 16, 17 11:22 am

You know what's annoying, someone who talks out of both sides of their mouths, like someone who says "If you have something an architect wants at the moment they will be your best friend, if you don't they will be arrogant and ignore you with their superior minded condescending attitudes which most have." and then 2 seconds later "I agree it was a condescending thing to say. I have found most to be very friendly and courteous with me. And yes I am. I am just asking for honest feedback from architects so I can avoid doing anything that is annoying or unprofessional." So which is it?  

Dec 16, 17 11:27 am

That's why they annoy the hell out of me.


right, and then they pretend they don't do it too

It must be hard doing sales. I did like this one car salesman that had been doing it so long he didn't even try to lie or pretend. He was like a genius of car sales. I wanted to buy all the cars.


I've done sales in clothing stores. It's easy. Just be helpful and attentive, answer questions, etc. Make people feel good (thats why everyone does food.) I used this principle - everyone wants a different level of customer service, give it to them. Works like a charm.


I never said the former, I was only relaying what someone once told me and I disagree with them after meeting with several architects. The person that said that didn't last long here anyhow. To me it was due to their negative attitude.


Yes, I understood that someone else told you that, and then you conveyed it.

"be brief, be gone" -somebody

Dec 16, 17 11:48 am

I like it when the sales people are well dressed. When they know how to put together a look. That is enough really. It doesn't make me more or less likely to spec anything, but it is nicer for everyone.

Dec 16, 17 1:11 pm

Thank you for your tips.

Salespeople are obnoxious period. I second others' sentiments. Put your cad/BIM details on your website, freely accessible. List a contact so I can call about specific detailing/pricing. DO NOT lunch n learn and claim to be knowledgeable etc then after I spec your product, ghost me, fail to respond to inquiries, have zero knowledge about your products.
Dec 16, 17 2:35 pm

Thank you for all of your tips and advice. I really appreciate it. I also appreciate that only 2 of you were negative and stereotyped all salespeople into one and the same group. To me we should never do this to any one group of people. "It is written, a tree shall be judged by it's fruit, not the whole orchard shall be judged by the fruit of a few bad trees."  ~ me. I chose not to do that for you group and would appreciate the same mature response in return. Peace and happy holidays to all!

Dec 18, 17 10:32 am

If you are a sales person or product rep, please consider the following:

The best thing a product rep or sales person can do is find out who is responsible for the firm's library and the firm's Lunch and learn (often not the same person) and coordinate with them if it is an update/cold call. Or deal with the people working on the project your product is being considered while keeping the library person in the loop.  

Don't let your work, information, or sample be the cause of a delay on a project get it to us in a timely manner or give us an accurate window of time to get it (Ironically window reps are terrible at this)

Don't drop off samples or mail us samples without permission (some of us have small library spaces)

Always send samples to a person at the firm care of library or project never send them to the firm without a name.

Put a date in every piece of lit and on every sample, the worst thing is sorting through a library and not having dates on things.

Email before a call.

Don't schedule cold calls and visits if you know a major project deadline is happening, especially important for small offices.

If there is more than two of you showing up at the office don't have an argument during your presentation.

Always assume the IT in-house will not work and have your own screen/laptop and speakers if you need to play a video. Also test the video before inviting us to sit down to the presentation so we don't waist time with IT issues, better to have a late start than to waste 5-10 min of time for 20-30 folks. (no you may not assume you can use our WiFi, we don't even know the passwords)

Over and OUT

Peter N

Dec 18, 17 11:20 am

Thank you very much Peter! I hadn't thought of some of your points. Especially about the library part.


Always contact someone in advance.  There is usually one person who schedules lunch and learns and meetings.  Don't spam everyone else.  If one of the other members of the staff needs you, it's a "don't call us; we'll call you" deal.  

Don't show up mid-morning or mid-afternoon.  Get there before we get heavily involved in something.  Early: bring by some breakfast food.  Midday: Lunch and learns are great.  Even better if they count for learning units. Afternoon: Don't do it. Evening: Maybe.  I've never had such an offer.  These beers other people are talking about don't happen. 

Don't throw a hissy fit if your product wasn't in a spec.  Just mention that you noticed it wasn't in there and you'd like to help out on future projects if you can.  I've had reps try to make me feel guilty.  That's a good way to not get included in the future.  

Be a nice person.  Remember names.  We have a couple reps who remember me and act nice.  I don't miss their stops because of this.

Know about the firm's projects your company has been involved in.  A little ego stroking never hurts. 

Know your competition.  Know if there is something different.  If there isn't anything different, acknowledge that.  Don't sell me some industry leading bullshit if there's no appreciable difference in product.  Now, if there is a difference, I want to know.  

If you don't provide A/E support, have the names and numbers of someone who does.  


Dec 18, 17 11:53 am

Great advice! Thanks. Our site doesn't require architects to create an account to access our details/product info. We do, however, need to give a password on our "Cad files" download area. I think we do that so our competitors can't see them. Does it bother you to need to contact someone for that pw or would that also make you say I won't be using this company's product? I do agree with you that it should be as user-friendly as possible.

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