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 lose the job.
- Their installers will have to be trained and the cost of that training will fall on them.
- Installers will take a longer time on the first few jobs, reducing the contractor’s income.
- There is a higher likelihood of a callback on the first few jobs, once again costing the contractor.
- Dealing with a new supplier is also time consuming, when he probably isn’t having a problem with his current supplier. (more…)