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David Axt, AIA, CCS, CSI
Senior Member
Username: david_axt

Post Number: 471
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2005 - 01:11 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Approximately how much time per week do you spend meeting with product representatives?

For me I would say 1 hour to 1-1/2 hours a week. I try to meet with them for no more than 15 minutes intervals. Sometimes there is a "hot topic" and I may spend 1 hour or more just with that one rep.

What about you?
Linton D. Stables, III, CSI, CCS
Senior Member
Username: lstables

Post Number: 6
Registered: 09-2003
Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2005 - 01:39 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Average 30 minutes per week, not including lunch presentations.
Curt Norton, CSI, CCS
Senior Member
Username: curtn

Post Number: 93
Registered: 06-2002
Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2005 - 02:04 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

It varies a lot for me. I'll go for 2-3 weeks without any visits, and then I could have three in one week. Most of my appointments are around 30 min. When I'm extra busy, I limit them to 15 minutes. I have also had reps come in that I spent an hour plus with when it was a new product line we are reviewing.
Lynn Javoroski
Senior Member
Username: lynn_javoroski

Post Number: 227
Registered: 07-2002
Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2005 - 02:38 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

It does depend on the type of visit. If it's to update a product binder, it can be less than 5 minutes and may not even involve me. If there's something new, perhaps 15 minutes is sufficient. If it's something new AND exciting, 30 minutes is probably the norm. If it's project related, 45 minutes or more, sometimes involving a continued discussion over lunch, is not unusual. And then there are the lunch 'n' learns, too. But like Curt, I can go for weeks without seeing any reps at all and then have a flurry in one week. If I had to settle on one average week, it seems comfortable to say that it's 1 to 1-1/2 hours per week, not counting the lunch 'n' learns (which we have almost every Wednesday).
Ronald L. Geren, RA, CSI, CCS, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: specman

Post Number: 164
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2005 - 02:47 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Ditto Lynn's (I knew if I waited long enough, someone would say it for me).

However, cold calls (visits, not telephone calls) for products in which I have no interest or need: 0 mins - send/leave me information if you want...I "might" look at it. Reading between the lines: make an appointment.
William C. Pegues, FCSI, CCS
Senior Member
Username: wpegues

Post Number: 403
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2005 - 03:47 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Maybe the average over a whole month would come to about 1-1/2 to 2 hours a week, all by appointment. A typical visit is probably about 20 minutes.
D. Marshall Fryer
Senior Member
Username: dmfryer

Post Number: 55
Registered: 09-2003
Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2005 - 03:48 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

No appointment: 5 minutes in a room without chairs.
Appointment: 20 minutes max. (with chairs)
My request: 30 minumes typ.
I have my secretary programmed to page me at these time limits.
No more than 1 hour per week total.
One lunch and learn per month.
Marc C Chavez
Senior Member
Username: mchavez

Post Number: 113
Registered: 07-2002
Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2005 - 03:52 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I guess that I fall into the category than Lynn and Curt are in. It depends. I agree with the time frames as well
Mitch Miller,AIA ,CSI,CCS
Senior Member
Username: m2architek

Post Number: 49
Registered: 02-2004
Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2005 - 03:57 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Doug Frank FCSI CCS
Senior Member
Username: doug_frank_ccs

Post Number: 107
Registered: 06-2002
Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2005 - 04:06 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Here’s a new wrinkle:
Cold Calls without appointment:
1 minute standing if rep is not a CSI member (I then ask them to call for an appointment).
2-5 minutes seated if a CSI member (I then ask them to call for an appointment).
2-10 minutes seated if a CSI, CDT.
2-15 minutes seated if a CSI, CCPR.
(Of course I never get cold calls from CCPRs and very few from CDTs.)

My totals are in line with the rest of you: 60 to 90 minutes per week on average.
J. Peter Jordan
Senior Member
Username: jpjordan

Post Number: 85
Registered: 05-2004
Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2005 - 05:05 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

As noted in another thread, I do not have a hard and fast rule; depends on what else is going on and what information I need.

If I am meeting with someone about a product or system that pertains to an active project, I will spend more time (usually not more than 1-1/2 hours).

"General" calls where an appointment is made in advance may be as little as 30 minutes. "Cold calls" may be less than 5 minutes if I am busy (ask them to make an appointment) or as much as 30 minutes. If I have the time and the product is interesting or has immediate application, I will take more time.

I am like many of you in that I will go for several weeks at a time without someone calling.
George A. Everding, AIA, CSI, CCS, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: geverding

Post Number: 43
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2005 - 05:14 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

My experience with product reps is consistent with the above. It varies week by week, and averages probably an hour a week when all is said and done.

Here’s a question: Do any of you (particularly in larger firms) use younger architects and interns to handle the cold calls, drop-ins, and products you have no immediate interest in? I’ve done that in the past, and found it to be a good method of screening, as well as introducing younger architects to the methods of product research, evaluation and selection. Interns seem to like it because it can contribute to some harder to reach IDP areas, too.
Linda Brown
Junior Member
Username: lbplexus

Post Number: 2
Registered: 02-2004
Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2005 - 05:15 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I agree with Lynn and Curt; it depends on many things.

Drop Ins: I try to see every rep that calls on me regardless. I do this for selfish reasons - I never know if or when I might need their assistance. I try to spend at least a few minutes with them, if I am under a deadline, I explain my time constraints and ask them to call me for an appointment.

CSI or other professional credentials are always worth a few extra few minutes and I make sure to compliment the rep on having made the effort. It also adds to their credibility.

Time: The amount of time I spend with a rep depends on if I am under pressure with a deadline; how familiar I am with the product; if I consider the rep a valued resource or a potential one; what new stuff they can teach me; if I am working on something and need their help or if they need my help. I don't set time limits but I don't waste their time or mine.

I value the professional reps who make office calls, who are experienced and knowledgeable with their product and competition, who are honest and reliable. I appreciate that they keep me updated and respond quickly to my calls for help, that they take the time to know the type of projects I write and what information I might need; who share their experience and product understanding with me; and who know that when they leave my office, the best they can say is "Yes, I got into her spec." They understand I don't buy and that even the best spec can be broken. I know this doesn't fit all the product reps, however, it fits the good ones.

I make an effort to know the reps so I can include the good ones as part of my network of resources. We have a lot we can learn from each other. I don't want to lose that potential just because they were a drop in or I was too busy to take a few minutes to say hi.
David Axt, AIA, CCS, CSI
Senior Member
Username: david_axt

Post Number: 472
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2005 - 09:02 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Then there is the likeability factor. Some reps are just a joy to speak with. They have tons of knowledge and I always pick their brains.

On the other hand, some reps I dread calling and hate to have come to the office. At least on the phone you can make up an excuse to hang up.

Then there is a local flooring rep who always brings food. She definitely gets past our gatekeeper receptionist by bribing her with a tasty morsel. She is one of the few reps that can show up without an appointment and not be shown the door. Partly it is the home baked cookies but she is also very active CSI member and a very knowledgeable rep.
J. Peter Jordan
Senior Member
Username: jpjordan

Post Number: 86
Registered: 05-2004
Posted on Wednesday, June 22, 2005 - 09:23 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

A knowledgeable rep; active CSI member; brings fresh home-baked cookies? Sounds like a keeper!

Do we need to add a section on baked goods (maybe with recipies) to the product representation section in the PRM?
Lynn Javoroski
Senior Member
Username: lynn_javoroski

Post Number: 228
Registered: 07-2002
Posted on Wednesday, June 22, 2005 - 10:07 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I've heard of the apocryphal project manual where the contractor was instructed to provide beer when the architect was on site. I'm all for the food thing. Seriously, an active CSI member, knowledgeable rep is worth their weight in chocolate chip cookies, Krispy Kreme donuts, AND cute little hand-outs! And I will always make time for that person because I know they are not going to waste my time. They have come with knowledge that I need.
Brett M. Wilbur AIA, CDT
Senior Member
Username: brett

Post Number: 46
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, June 22, 2005 - 10:44 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I'd say I spend too much time with vendors. We do weekly lunch-n-learns. Sometimes several a week, depending on the relevance to current projects. I believe it is one way to get the interns interested in learning that architecture is more than just lines on paper, and more than just abstract thoughts and theories that they developed in school.

I also meet with 2 or 3 reps a week, and sometimes 2 or 3 a day for several days/weeks in a row. I talk on the phone with them daily. I try to “weed” them out before I meet with them. Sometimes, I just have them leave their binder at the front desk. Sometimes, I have them mail it. I hate uninvited drop-ins, CSI or not (Sorry guys).

I do socialize with a few also. Some have become my friends.

One important note though, I have little time for vendors who do not research what our firm does prior to visiting. We design K-12 schools, pretty much exclusively. I don't need to waste their time or mine (especially mine) if they come in trying to sell me church pews or medical equipment. Yes, granted, those people don’t make it in the door, but sometimes they slip by under the radar..

I tend to be very sensitive to "salesmanship", and shy away from that (actually, I run). When I feel that unwanted tug on my psyche, I usually respond half-heartedly. When I know someone is really trying to help, the extent of my interaction has to do with how much I already know about the product or system. I was having this conversation last night with a rep. He said he could tell I knew more than I was letting on about this certain product. I told him I try to do my homework before I meet with reps. Then I test them to see how much they actually know or want to help, or how much they are just spouting manufacturer’s rhetoric. A lot of the time, I seem to know more about there own products then they do. Why is that?
Anne Whitacre, CCS CSI
Senior Member
Username: awhitacre

Post Number: 213
Registered: 07-2002
Posted on Wednesday, June 22, 2005 - 05:26 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I'm all for reps doing a little homework on the firm as well -- the local AIA office (in a big city) would have the "typical project" information for most of the firms in town. We have the same problem as Brett does but in reverse -- we don't do K-12 at all, and don't do any residential or multi-family residential unless it is a college dorm (and those are rare). I get some guy trying to sell me residential roofing or siding, and I know that they haven't done their homework.

I wondered about that "I know more about their product than they do" question myself -- until I realized that I probably have 2 or 3 times as many years in the business as a lot of the younger reps in my area. I think we forget just how much we learn about products after working with them over a long time.

As for me -- my typical week is 1-1/2 hours with reps. They are appointment only, and the walk-ins either have to catch me when I'm not busy, or be someone I know pretty well and like to talk with. In that case, I'll suggest we go have coffee and get updated in the coffee bar downstairs.
Brett M. Wilbur AIA, CDT
Senior Member
Username: brett

Post Number: 47
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, June 22, 2005 - 06:52 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I guess the question I have is, how do you say no to them without being disrespectful. They want to "update their binder", but end up staying 30 minutes. Unfortuantely, my office is the library, so I can't really hide.
Curt Norton, CSI, CCS
Senior Member
Username: curtn

Post Number: 94
Registered: 06-2002
Posted on Thursday, June 23, 2005 - 07:54 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

We don't allow reps in our library. (That's where my desk is too) If I'm busy and can't meet with a rep who drops in, the receptionist takes the binder(s) up front and brings them back when the rep is done. Otherwise I will take the binder up and politely explain that I have a dealine and ask them to leave the binder at the front desk. They can use a conference room off our lobby to do their update.
Wayne Yancey
Senior Member
Username: wyancey

Post Number: 27
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Thursday, June 23, 2005 - 12:42 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

My rep meetings are as long as necessary. If they are invited at my request for project specific information, they may last up to an hour or more. If I am full of questions, they may last longer. I do not accept cold calls. The rep is requested to please call back and make an appointment in the same way Curt Norton describes.
One variation on this "no cold call rule" is no cold calls Monday thru Thursday, but OK on Fridays.
With e-mail, web sites, and faxes I see fewer reps for face-to-face meetings unless to introduce a new product, a new and improved product.

FYI, we have a 10 point bullet list of information we request the product reps provide.
1. Budget cost per sq. foot (material + labor);
2. List of approved applicators;
3. Warranty (mfr watertight system, joint/several, material, etc.);
4. Contact information of technical department personnel and mfg reps that can answer or provide details of their specific products;
5. A check off list for inspecting their specific wp membrane (intent is to use it as a tool for our field technicians);
6. Procedures for addressing damaged membranes;
7. Expected life cycle of wp membrane;
8. Mfg catalogs/samples.
9. Basewall flashing treatment (can the basewall flashing be applied first to allow for work on exterior walls; and field membrane applied at a later time). For the case of DecTec, can the basewall PVC membrane be applied at the basewall or do we need to install PVC coated metal basewall angles?
10. Material incompatibility issues.

Lunch and learns seem to be favored by product reps at this point in time to take advantage of a larger captive audience.

I am curious as to the methodology used by others to broadcast useful product data information to the rank and file. Do you have a dediicated new products display area?

At my last office, I started a monthly internal newsletter originally called "Wayne's World". The name eventually evolved to the NEAT FILE for No Excuses After This. My subject matter involved more than specific product data. If I was asked a particularly intersting technical question, I assumed all staff should know the answer. I maintained a hardcopy in the library and assumed all would print out and place in their personal library. NOT. Sooner or later, I would get the same question from a different source. See Neat File, Issue 4, Volume 2.
If any are intereted in obtaining a sample copy e-mail me at wyancey@morrisonhershfield.com. I would love to share.


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