By Erika Anderson

Time poor, but with high standards. Nervous of new brands, but hungry for fresh ideas. For a manufacturer, connecting with specifiers is like walking a tightrope. Over the course of Clerkenwell Design Week, we’ll be sharing five lessons we’ve learned from 10 years working in the sector.

From world-leading LVT brand Amtico to Masonite designer doors to Ideal Standard global bathroom solutions – our work has taught us the crucial (and complex) role specifiers play in the decision making process, and how often this relationship can be overlooked or misunderstood by manufacturers. We believe a big change is needed.

From supplier to partner

This five-part series guides manufacturers from a supplier mindset to becoming valued creative partners through unpacking the key traits of specifiers today.

Monday – Get noticed by the time-poor specifier

TuesdayTeach them something new to give them an edge

WednesdayBuild trust with a cautious audience

Thursday – Think big picture to make a big impact

Friday – Tailor their experience to make it personal

Get noticed by the time-poor specifier

Architects and designers are constantly time poor. When they read or watch films, they’re working. When they visit galleries or museums, they’re working. When they travel, they’re working. So if they’re always on, and always busy, and always up against the clock, how do you break through?

What they told us:

“Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

“Be ready with technical information and samples when needed – don’t push.”

“Be on hand when needed”

“Use my time effectively and efficiently when you’re called upon.”

This language is frustrating. It puts you, the manufacturer, firmly in a ‘servant’ role and devalues what you do. We need to change the dynamic.

First, accept that the vast majority of the time, they simply don’t care about you. But that’s nothing to get down about. In fact, it gives us a clear tactic for cutting through. This lets us think about their time in a clear way.

How they spend it, and how they save it.

Like all of us, there are aspects of a specifier’s job that fill them with pride, and there are other elements that are perfunctory. In a word, boring. It’s your job to be the one that saves them time on those boring elements and helps them spend time valuably during their moments of pride.

Takeaway: to get noticed by the time-poor specifier…

  1. Think mindset and motivation
    Find out when they’re thinking of you and what state of mind they’re in. Then target them with what they want to know most at that exact stage.

    “Cold calling randomly never works for me. I generally only have the time to think about 
new products at the appropriate time in a project.”

  2. Help them spend time wisely
    To elevate your relationship, spend time with them at the most satisfying moments of the project. Moments of inspiration, passion, pride.

  3. Help them save time wisely
    Marie Kondo your customer journey. Remove and steps that aren’t strictly necessary, or bring joy.


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