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Ralph Liebing, RA, CSI, CDT
Senior Member
Username: rliebing

Post Number: 1340
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 08:44 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

by Ralph Liebing, RA, CSI, CDT-- Cincinnati, OH

Information, appropriate to the need and with proper explanation and flexibility is the root and hallmark of education-- no matter the topic. Information enriches knowledge and provides a thick layer of bedrock substance used by designers, architects, contractors, engineers, etc. Lacking this, or holding but a mere snippet of information is fatal to project success.

There is big difference between “selling” and “informing”-- and the product rep needs to do both. Obviously the sale of the product is most valuable to the rep and the manufacturer he or she represents. The life blood is to make money from the sale of various products and accessories, in the largest quantity possible. This, of course, sustains the manufacturer[s], its stock holders and its staff including those at the product representative level

But even the best of sales techniques is the adjunct function of value to all involved-- the conveyance of information and, if you will, “education”. And by the way while adjunct in status this function is a necessity! Almost another, “you can’t have one without the other!”

There is not to imply reps are generally wrong in their approach, but rather that they can help themselves as well as the design professionals, if they carry an increment of “education” in their minds. With ever increasing numbers of construction personnel who do not know the basics of the products of all types, and sizes, and raw material, reps, if prepared can fill-in many of the blanks. This will make the design side a better and more flexible work unit who correctly uses and understand, in turn, allows for quicker ordering, manufacture, etc,-- and a better set of products better fitted together.

We cannot continue to overlook or misuse products simply because we don’t know enough about them. And this includes the small details, nuances, fabrication and installation. But there are few sources for this information in the academic climate. You will find people who do not know the difference between an extrusion and a rolled section; alkyd and acrylic, etc. Many only know products by part numbers in catalogs; nothing about making frames or other complexes.

So it would seem most prudent and helpful where product representatives seek [to educate!] beyond the highly technical manufacturers’ information [and minutia] and only the sales “shtick”] with aesthetics and glitzy and real substance of a technical nature. Be ready with and challenge your contact with questions specific to the project and information to the designer for a variation of the products. Doing this will “stir the pot” and create more innovative uses [perhaps on other projects].Get up on the approach of “this is what I got and this is what we added, so sell it any way you can!”

You, reps, are part of the project team, so be a contributor as well as a resource, or someone “sitting on the bench” for use when needed! Your “educational” contribution is vital to better projects, and in aiding the continuing upgrade of project personnel. So, welcome, and thanks much for your help and effort!
We appreciate it—VERY MUCH!!

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