Contractors are the Most Important Customer in Building Materials

Today we have a guest post from Mark Mitchel of Whizard Strategy. Building materials companies frequently only see the customer who is directly in front of their nose. They are laser focused on selling a builder, an architect, a facilities manager or even a homeowner. In every one of these cases there is someone standing right behind them that you may not see. That person is the contractor. More specifically, it is the installing contractor. Time and time again, I see building materials companies, with a great product, think they have a made a sale to their primary customer, only to lose the sale because of a contractor. It’s easy to assume that contractors are working for your primary customer so they will do what the customer wants. That is frequently not the case. Here’s Why Contractors Resist Change There is a shortage of labor so any good contractor is in demand and may turn work down or charge more, if it involves something new or different. Contractors see new ideas and products as change and change represents risk. It usually does not represent opportunity to them. Contractors can be very stubborn in their resistance to change. They and maybe even their Daddy has always used the same product and installed it the same way for years. Many of them also believe that buildings and homes are not built as well as they were in the past. To them, modern day construction practices and products are not necessarily better. New products mean the contractor will lose money. The contractor looks at a new product as having many places where they are going to lose money, for example: They aren’t sure how to estimate the project so they can underestimate it and lose money or they can over estimate it and…read more >

Eliminate the Silo and Become a Change Agent

Today we have a guest blog post from Jeff Naymik, Marketing Director at Nook Industries. This post originally appeared on Nook's blog Making Motion Work and is reposted with permission. Read the original blog here. We live in a world of instant communication and yet, we are sometimes not good communicators. Poor communication is usually the root problem for creating silos in many technology-driven companies. Development secrets are usually held tightly and limited to only those in the organization who “need to know.” When you start limiting the flow of information in your organization, divides begin among associates, departments and divisions. Many mature brands struggle with the problem of departmental silos, while some start-ups introduce products at lightning speed. How can this happen? The reason is communication is their lifeline to survival and success. Look around your organization for signs of silos. You’ll find: Special projects in every department no one has heard of. Too few meetings to inform senior staff of progress. Poor communication from the top illustrating how your efforts fit into the big plan. Many companies recognize this problem but most don’t know how to address it. The senior staff needs to appoint a cross-functional team of people committed to change, “Change Agents” if you will. With the backing of the senior staff, this team has the authority to break down barriers of communication throughout the organization. A process needs to be put in place and everyone needs to take ownership. Change will come through the commitment of proven leaders in the organization as they drive the change process.read more >