3 Steps to Sales Staff Training in Design Ethics & Practicality

Although this is a (prolific) subject I’ll try to limit it to the basic concept.

Scenario: A set of plans are rolled out on my desk and a new project is about to commence. As I study the conditions for the design I notice that the section shows what looks to be a 12/12 pitch in the attic. However, there is no indication given for a pitch. As the evaluation moves forward it becomes apparent that there are no pitches given anywhere and the dimensions are scant at best. Then it becomes obvious that it’s a stick-framed‘ roof and the plans are labeled as preliminary ‘NOT FOR CONSTRUCTION’. Been there my fellow designers??                        In this scenario I would have wasted valuable time and time = money.

What has happened? More times than not the salesman was never trained in component sales but can sell the ‘puddin’ out of sticks so the sales manager was anxious to get him on board. The individual is part of a team that has set goals for the end-of-month sales as a competition against the other teams. He not only wasted my time but his team’s momentum as well.

Solution: Send a salesman to the design department for a very basic but valuable session in what to look for on the plans to begin with. This session needs to be light-hearted and not accusatory as to put the sales person on the defensive. Next time he picks-up a set of plans from a client he should do a feasibility check before bringing them to the design department. Everyone wins!

This was an actual scenario from when I was in the office and it happened more than once. I now am a remote designer and it is no longer an issue. All the up-front evaluation is done and when it hits my desk it’s ‘quickly’ a new project in progress. Questions are answered swiftly and the job is re-evaluated after completion by others and sent to the shop. I am very pleased with the end result, as it saves time and money!

  1. Professional Development of sales staff in plan requirements & building applications. As the industry changes, the sales staff must also. They are the first (and sometimes only) contact with your clients.
  2. Communicate with technical staff. They are your best friends, or your worst enemies for getting things accomplished. If it’s the latter, it can be very difficult to get your deadlines met.
  3. Hold them accountable! Put the ball back in their court to provide the necessary information. Require a “Job Submit” form, or a “Checklist”. If your client wants an accurate estimation, then they will be willing to provide the necessary resources to achieve it!

By: Mickey Morrison – Gould Design Inc.