Bottom Line May/June 2022

June 1st, 2022 by Nathan Hobbs

A Guide to Working with Architects

It can be challenging to connect with architects and interior designers, but it’s worth it when you succeed. Good relationships with these professionals can generate significant window film sales. This column will set you up to penetrate the culture of architecture and design successfully—and help you make the right impression.

Consider an Insider’s Perspective

When working with architects and interior designers, it helps to know their roles and focus areas. The two departments work together under the same roof of a single architectural firm. Both architects and designers care about budgeting, but they often desire differing types of film solutions. Architects typically aim to retrofit a building’s exterior glass to enhance performance
and/or appearance; interior designers think about interior spaces calling for decorative films—for privacy or design enhancements.

Use Creative Tactics to Connect

Architects and designers are besieged with marketing for all kinds of products. To break through, consider implementing a more creative approach. These potential customers may know little about window films, and it could play in your favor, as they likely have an annual continuing education requirement to fulfill. Ask your film representative if they provide learning programs for architects and interior designers. If they do, request that they initiate the “Lunch and Learn” process and invite you. Additionally, some film dealers have been known to do highly-targeted social media and radio/TV spots on a local level to raise awareness. These tactics also allow you to get in the door when done right.

Share Information Early and Often

Once you’ve established a connection, leverage it. All firms have product libraries for reference. These used to be rooms packed with product binders but are now transitioning to quickly-searchable, digital warehouses of information. Either way, you want your business information accessible. Digital and/or online pieces enable specifiers to find you, while physical samples provide “in-hand” benefits. Offer to share both—early and often.

Understand Your Path to Sales

Hot architectural leads will come in as spec requests. This is your chance to prove yourself. Be prepared to over-deliver, with film-to-glass analysis for project suitability, product samples the customer can touch and feel and even offer to do a “mock-up” of one or more films at the firm’s office or project building site. Demonstration creates confidence in material choices, displaying your responsiveness and expertise. Do well here, and even if you don’t get the job, you’ll be remembered for future projects.

The Bottom Line with Architects

It takes time and effort to build relationships with architects and interior designers, but it’s worthwhile. These professionals can bring you big projects and repeat business for many years, significantly adding to your bottom line. To set yourself up for success, use a soft-selling approach, be ready to educate and earn trust and involve your film manufacturer when possible. Above all: don’t give up! This is a time when persistence pays off.

Tony Prater, architectural business development, Eastman Performance Films, LLC

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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