A recurring problem faced by many manufacturer's reps is the substitution by contractors of cheaper alternatives to architect-specified products. This problem stems from the fact that architects often do not have a good feel for construction costs. Some architects feel that spending too much time weighing line-item prices can distract them from the "big picture." Architects must consider hundreds of products in a typical building, and few are fluent in the pricing of all those products. Instead of assuming that architects share their degree of interest in prices and products, a sales rep should become familiar with the whole project, and understand how their product fits in. Then the rep can act as a cost consultant to the architect. To do that, think of construction costs as part of an equation in which the other factors are project size and quality. If any two of those factors are fixed, they will determine the third. Ask architects about the tradeoffs they must make among size, cost, and quality. If you see that a project is over budget, suggest your own substitution.