There’s a cavalcade of providers out there vying for your attention to produce your next sales office. With so many to choose from, how do you narrow it down to find the best one to guide your important project from concept to completion?
Get this decision right and you’ll save yourself loads of time and stress, and finish with a sales office that wows you and your customers.
Here’s the official Diva Works checklist to help you screen out the wrong partners – and steer you towards the right one.
1.Is your sales office partner, someone, you’d be happy to spend A LOT of time with?
Producing sales office fit-outs take time. If you’re with the right partner, they’ll assume the bulk of the work, but even so, they’ll need your input on critical decisions, budget sign-offs, design layout and so on.
With the partner you’re considering, are you able to work with them daily and communicate in person, by phone or email to keep the work flowing? Or do you feel a niggling sense of irritation even in the early stages of getting to know them? Or when their number pings on your phone?
Trust your instincts. They’re a poor fit.
2. Does your sales office partner follow through?
If a prospective partner fails to send through promised information, or they’re MIA on agreed meetings or calls, it’s a bad sign.
Just think – if this is happening when they’re trying to woo you as a client, what are they going to be like when you’re thick in the nitty-gritty of the project and deliverables are due?
Pay attention to the early warning signs and don’t involve yourself with a firm that offers excuses instead of follow-through.
3. Is the creative team properly ticketed?
Your prospective sales office partner needs to hold the right insurances and documentation, so it’s best to vet for these from the start.
Check that they have:
- Professional indemnity insurance
- Public liability insurance
- Workers compensation insurance
- A workplace health & safety policy which includes a JSA (job safety analysis) and SWMS (safe work method statement)
Also ask if they’re a member of any industry bodies, such as the Design Institute of Australia (DIA) etc. While this doesn’t guarantee a flawless performance, it does indicate some checks have been made, and the firm has an interest in upholding industry standards.
4. Does the sales office partner have raving fans?
Your potential partner should have a ready supply of case studies for you to peruse or the phone numbers of clients who are happy to chat with you about their experience with the firm.
One caveat though: when you’re checking references, make sure it’s in relation to their performance in the design and delivery of sales offices.
Beware of agencies calling themselves a ‘one-stop shop’ that offer advertising, logo development etc, with sales offices offered as an ‘add-on’. [We’ve been called in numerous times to remedy sales office fitouts done by advertising agencies when (for example) the client has no power points under desks because the agency didn’t think to add them.]
The design and delivery of sales offices involves many moving pieces and trades to coordinate. Avoid the headache and regret and choose a specialist to do the job properly from the start.
5. Is the sales office partner interested in YOUR objectives?
It’s easy to get excited about the ‘good stuff’ – like what the sales office might look like – and some prospective partners might race straight into that territory.
But like most relationships, it’s a good sign if they start by focusing on you. Do they ask you what your objectives are and who your audience is?
Asking these questions demonstrates they’re interested in a well-thought-through sales office solution that’s built on a solid foundation.
By beginning on this footing, you’re more likely to achieve a result that meets all your goals, wins you accolades, increases sales and delights your ideal customer.
It also means you’ll have a baseline to demonstrate return on investment – something that will make your financial controller or CFO very happy.
6. Is the sales office partner transparent on fees? Next steps? Your point of contact?
Your potential partner should be willing to discuss fees and explain the milestones linked to each fee stage.
It’s common to see design and project management fees separated out, or they can be grouped as a whole.
Most will also provide a schedule of fee payments, next steps, and a list of who’s who in the organisation so you have a good grasp on who will be calling you and about what, including your main point of contact.
7. Is the sales office partner happy to meet with all stakeholders?
An experienced partner knows it’s vital to have all critical stakeholders in attendance at the initial meeting.
Otherwise, there’s a strong chance that months of work can be brought undone by a never-seen-before stakeholder appearing towards the end and saying ‘Yeah…nah…didn’t expect it to look like that. Can we change it?’
It’s a much smoother process if all stakeholders are involved from the kick-off and then involved only when their sign off is required.
8. Does your sales office partner boost your stress levels – or make life easier for you?
No lie – building projects like sales office fit-outs can age you considerably.
It’s high pressure and high stakes, with rapid-fire decisions made on the run, site delays, budget issues… the list goes on.
Your sales office partner should be asking you, ‘How can I help? What do you need?’ when they sense you’re under pressure. And a good one won’t even need to ask. They’ll sense how many moving parts you’re managing and will proactively look for ways to lighten your load.
9. Does the sales office partner or agency push back?
When you hire a professional services firm, you’re paying for the value of their experience, their creative solutions, and their best advice, even if it’s something you really don’t want to hear.
You don’t want a consultant who will just chirp ‘yes’ to every request and who avoids difficult conversations about budgets, timelines, and design.
A prospective partner who asks good questions – and who isn’t afraid to raise concerns about the project – can help you spot and avoid potential problems.
Their input can make the delivery process more seamless with fewer unpleasant surprises, and a finished product that meets (or even exceeds) your expectations.
10. Is there anything “off” about the sales office partner you’ve selected?
It might be that they spend the initial briefing meeting talking about themselves, rather than your objectives.
Or maybe you have different communication styles where they insist on email correspondence while you prefer a daily phone update for 10 minutes, so you don’t have to deal with another damn email.
There are plenty of reasons we don’t ‘click’ with someone. And since you’ll be working closely with whomever you choose for the duration of this project, if there’s something that makes your jaw clench in these initial stages, cut them loose.
Your sales office has a critical job: to cut through the competition, appeal strongly to your target audience and communicate the benefits of buying into your development.
Finding the right sales office partner to bring your vision to life is crucial and will make your life considerably easier.
We hope these ten steps help you to evaluate and choose the right sales office partner for your needs.
If you’d like more information, we’d be happy to help. Contact Diva Works at email@example.com