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What would you call a sales opportunity worth hundreds of billions of dollars annually? We call it the office sector. Getting your share of this enormous market depends on understanding two key roles, those of facility managers and property managers. Their titles may sound alike, but their responsibilities and needs can be quite different.

What’s the difference between facility and property managers?

Facility managers are typically found in single-tenant buildings, where the occupant is also often the owner. They are frequently an employee of the tenant-owner, working in-house, although the role is sometimes outsourced. Their job is to make sure that the people in the building have all their service needs met, from cleaning to security.

Property managers, on the other hand, take care of multi-tenant buildings or even complexes of office buildings, and they work for the building owners, overseeing day-to-day operations. Their responsibilities include tenant services like cleaning and maintenance, but also encompass management duties such as negotiating leases and collecting rents.

Whether handling single- or multi-tenant buildings, these managers both often rely on a third player to provide maintenance and cleaning services: The Building Services Contractor, or BSC. Managers will select a BSC, and award a one- to three-year contract for regular janitorial services, and sometimes also for supplies.

Who does the real buying for buildings?

Depending on the type of BSC contract, either type of manager, or even the BSC, may be the ultimate product decision maker. In service-only contracts, a manager uses the BSC to provide janitorial services, but purchases their own products directly. In service-and-product or service-and-rebill contracts, the BSC purchases supplies on the end-user’s behalf. The point is that there are multiple types of influencers and decision makers, requiring a multifaceted sales approach.

How can you reach all the different buyer types?

End-users are never easy to get to – unless you know where they get together, and you meet them there with something of value. In this case, the “where” is typically a trade association meeting. These may be strictly national gatherings, like the three conferences sponsored by the Building Service Contractors International (BSCAI). Or you can find both national and local opportunities, like those sponsored by the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA), or the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), both of which have over 100 local chapters. The “something of value” comes in problem solving for your prospects, which is best done via the SPIN selling method.

How can SPIN be used to make this kind of sale?

SPIN is a selling method applicable to any kind of prospect – if you have the right questions and customer-centered attitude. Formulating what to ask is a matter of doing your homework, and tapping in to resources like National Accounts for special background and insights.

For instance, if you were talking to a property manager at a BOMA conference, the SPIN-fueled discussion might go something like this:

  • Situation questions
    How long have you been managing this company?
  • Problem questions
    What is the most common complaint you hear about restrooms?
  • Implication questions
    Does dealing with restroom complaints keep you from being able to work on
    more important tasks?
  • Needs questions
    If you could avoid runouts in the restroom, would that improve tenant
    satisfaction?

The office sector is a huge opportunity for all of us, if we understand the different managers and providers. Study the different buyers and influencers, speak to their individual needs – and get ready to build your sales.

Resource:
Selling to Office buildings PPT and Webinar