CE Academy Home Page
Frequently Asked Questions

Architectural Specification Program
1. What do RBA’s representatives do when they visit a design professional’s office?

Our representatives will present the unique benefits of your product to the spec writer, project architect, or decision maker early in the project design process, during pre-design, and at times during the conceptual stage of a project. We try to get a proprietary specification for your product, which will have enormous "holding power." Our representatives are reliable and will answer questions, solve problems, or assist with specifications. We order catalogs, specifications, samples, and request box lunch presentations from you on behalf of the design professionals to assist them in product selection and for writing their project specifications

2. Why should I hire RBA to make specification calls instead of hiring someone to directly work for our company?

RBA has access to "hard to see" architectural firms and spec writers because they know us. They see us because we will not waste their time when we are educating them about your product technology. We can help you establish better communications with design professionals and spec writers with whom you are having difficulty. Many times architects are reluctant to tell product reps about problems, but they will tell us. We can find out what the problems are and how they can be corrected.

RBA saves your staff and reps valuable time by calling on design professionals, so they can be selling in the field. Are your reps paid to call on architects or to move product? Are they evaluated on the number of architects they visit? Reps are busy solving field problems, calling on customers and putting together bids. Often they are unable to find the needed time to call on the design professionals in their territory.
Hiring a full time rep to make architectural specification calls is very expensive due to salary, benefits, and travel expenses. Our specification program lowers your personnel costs. Current estimates are that the average direct company rep costs the company $90,000 to $100,000 per year. Do you really want to add another company rep to your payroll to concentrate on design professionals? We identify your local rep or distributor in the area to the design professional. Your representative will get the results of our face-to-face meetings and can make follow-up calls, as requested by the design professionals.
3. How do I determine the success of the architectural specifications program?
The success of the program can be determined by three criteria: company and product recognition, education, and specification. Our representatives have three goals when they walk into a design professional’s office. First, we build name recognition for your company and product line. After our initial visit, your reps and marketing team should feel confident that the design professional recognizes your brand and is aware of your company.
During our presentation, our representatives will educate the design professional about the basic benefits of your product. Educating the design professional is crucial in getting your product specified. Finally, we ask that the design professional include your product’s in their office master specifications.
"Hot leads" are emailed daily to your company. A spec writer will not wait long to receive help from a manufacturer. RBA’s communications will inform you who to contact and what urgent requests are concerning. Often, this occurs when a spec is being finalized and we have an excellent chance to get your products in the specification. Reports are written for all calls we make and are submitted to you at the end of each call period. You can then send these call reports to the appropriate rep or distributor for sales follow up.
4. How much does the Architectural Specification Program cost?
RBA is paid no commissions. We work on a monthly retainer basis. This fee includes our representatives salary, travel expenses (airfare, hotel, rental car, etc.), and all administrative costs. There are no hidden fees. We have several programs to fit your company’s budget. We can create a national program for you to maximize the 50+ markets that we visit or we can develop a regional program.
5. What is the most important aspect of the Architectural Specification Program?
Follow up! Once our representatives begin making architectural specification presentations to design professionals, there needs to be a point person in your office to perform the follow up. Follow up might be as simple as sending product literature or guide specs. "Hot leads" and weekly call reports are emailed to your company every week. A spec writer will not wait long to receive help from a manufacturer. Therefore, someone on your staff must be able to quickly respond to guide spec and product literature requests, technical and pricing questions, and anything else that the design professional asks for. The point person might also send the “hot leads” to reps in the field to follow up on. This helps establish a relationship between your company and the design professional after our initial visit.
Continuing Education Program
1. What is continuing education for design professionals?
All architects who are AIA members must complete 18 Learning Units (LU’s) annually to retain their membership. Architects in most U.S. states and Canadian provinces must meet Mandatory Continuing Education (MCE) requirements for licensure. Eventually all states will require MCE. A learning unit represents approximately one hour of study time. Eight of those LU’s must be of Health, Safety, and Welfare (HSW) designation, which is a quality standard set by the Architectural Record Examiners board, (ARE). AIA also requires four hours of Sustainable Design (SD) education. SD courses are hosted at www.GreenCE.com provided by GreenCE, Inc. HSW and SD LUs are the most sought after credits by design professionals. Ron Blank & Associates Inc. and GreenCE, Inc. can create, host, manage, and market courses for your company that have the HSW or SD designation.
2. How much does a CE course cost to develop and host with RBA?
The cost to sponsor and host a CE course is much cheaper compared to other marketing efforts. You get the most “bang for your buck” educating design professionals through a CE program. To determine the cost, we will have you fill out a course development form. The form will list all of the materials you have available to develop a CE course with such as digital photos, CAD details, video clips, case studies, as well as learning objectives. The more material you can provide to us, the less expensive the development costs. For example, you may already have a Powerpoint presentation that can be incorporated into a course.
After receiving the course development form and reviewing your materials, our continuing education department will provide you with a free estimate for the development and registration of the course. The monthly hosting fee is determined by how many CE courses you currently have sponsored. Many manufacturers sponsor both face-to-face and online courses. We discount the monthly hosting fee for all additional CE courses after the development of the first course you sponsor.
Copyright 2011 Ron Blank & Associates, Inc. with all rights reserved.