More on Student Design Competitions

I have written about the marketing benefits of sponsoring design competitions among students. A correspondent points out another benefit: Recruiting. She writes,
I participated in student competitions when I was in school for Construction Management. I was trying to figure out why Centex would put up all the money to do the competition.

Then I realized that they essentially got to interview all the best CM students in the country and run us thru the most grueling interview circuit I’ve ever experienced. They offered internships to the ones they liked and jobs to the ones graduating that they really liked.

New service helps locate sales reps, a new website, a has the potential to deliver three valuable services:

1. Help specifiers and contractors locate local sales reps.  Suppose an architect looking for an door hardware representative to assist with a project; the architect doesn't care which manufacturer, but wants a rep that is local, knows local conditions, and can come to the job site on short notice. The architect can probably find such a rep by visiting manufacturer websites or calling manufacturers, but this is time consuming and not always productive.  The new website allows the architect to enter, for example, "CALIFORNIA" and "Division 8 - Doors and Hardware" and locate Valarie Harris, FCSI and other qualified sales representatives. (I hope the site is refined in the future so I can refine the database so one can search, for example, by Zip Code and by MasterFormat section numbers.)

2. Give reps a way to promote themselves. While the database seems set up to allow individual reps to enroll themselves, I am sure a manufacturer's sales manager can figure out a way to enroll all the reps for the company.

3. Provide a recruiting database where manufacturers can locate reps and agencies to that can be approached to join the manufacturer's team.

I salute, David G. Axt, CCS CSI SCIP, the site's publisher, for developing this and wish him success. In a phone call with David, he points out that many manufacturers have cut back on the extent of their rep force and reps make fewer cold calls on architects; this has made it harder to know local reps. More, architects used to be able to find a rep's business card in a manufacturer's three-ring binder, but few firms use them anymore. He recommends that websites for product manufacturers include contact info for local reps.