The Shannon Recipe
Everyone reading this package of material has something in common. We are all professionals working in the specialty interior products industry. We have all had our successes and failures in promoting high end, complicated products to owners, architects and designers. We have all wasted time on projects where we really did not have a chance for success from the beginning! At Shannon Corporation we have developed a simple program that immediately distinguishes the potential winners from losers. It is not foolproof, but we have found that if we follow the simple concept, our success rate is impressive. It all starts with identifying a major project with potential for high end, custom interior metal products. Although this presentation is aimed at significant, large projects, the concept works on smaller high-end projects as well. The project is uncovered, and the very first step is to identify who is responsible for the actual design! Not the spec writer, not the caD operators, not the librarian, but who is actually determining what the design will be. Once that individual or group of individuals within the architectural firm is determined, the next step is to set up a fact-finding meeting. Try to get as many of the decision-makers possible to attend and promise to make the meeting short and to the point. We indicate to the client that we are not going to present any products at the first meeting but that we want to ascertain their intent, and develop an understanding of their concept. That is exactly how we handle the initial meeting. Many notes are taken at this first meeting and at the end of the meeting we part with the next meeting date determined. This is when the real work begins. Taking the notes and information from the initial meeting, we prepare a package of samples, literature, photographs and details for the next meeting. We try not to overburden the client with information but try to involve material germane to the specific design. During the second meeting we present products, manufacturers, photographs and samples. If we have done our job, the result is an enthusiastic response by the client. This is the exact moment where we succeed or fail!
The client loves what they see, BUT,”it’s a public project and we can’t write a proprietary spec!” How many times have we all heard that statement? Our response…”do you really like what we have shown you?” “Is it important to you that you end up with the quality you see in the literature, samples and photographs?” Do you really want to work with Shannon and our principal companies? If the response is not an enthusiastic YES to all of the questions, then the chance of this being an award winning major project is negligible, and we say that to the client. We will provide them with all items they request, but we will not invest the time and money required to land this major project. If, on the other hand, there is an enthusiastic YES, we share the Shannon Recipe with them. It is really quite simple. We inform the client that like any award-winning recipe, they cannot pick and choose their own ingredients, they must follow all steps;
- The materials selected must be precisely as determined during the design, not almost the same but precisely the same.
- The sizes, gauges and finishes are for a reason; they may not be altered.
- They MUST accept our performance specification on public work, or a Proprietary Specification on private work, exactly as written, NO CHANGES, every word has an historical reason for being there. Every sentence is based upon thirty years of experience and problems that have occurred on other projects. Every paragraph contains insurance that they will end up with the project they expect!
This happens at the outset of the project, if you loose here, the ensuing work is probably for naught, or best case, setting the stage for a competitive battle resulting in cut commissions, unfulfilled expectations and a problem job! As indicated at the outset, we are all professionals in the interior construction industry, but we are also all hopeless optimists. We have all wasted hours, days, and weeks for unappreciative owners, and architects. Let us set the rules of engagement to assure success.
Please turn to Specification Section 05730, which follows for review of the critical components for your success. Following Specification Section 05730 is a question and answer piece for use in assisting your architect in understanding this concept. The Shannon Recipe has helped Shannon Corporation amass a more than $4,000,000 backlog with Baker Metal Products alone in the past few years!
Hope you all enjoy this information and hope it makes more money for All! Please call me with any questions or comment.
William L. Shannon CSI, CISCA
President of Shannon Corporation
Recipient of the 2004 De Gelleke Award