Contractors are the Most Important Customer in Building Materials

Contractors are the Most Important Customer in Building Materials

Today we have a guest post from Mark Mitchel of Whizard Strategy.

3Icons-Salesexecution2-120x120Building 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:
  1. 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.
  2. Their installers will have to be trained and the cost of that training will fall on them.
  3. Installers will take a longer time on the first few jobs, reducing the contractor’s income.
  4. There is a higher likelihood of a callback on the first few jobs, once again costing the contractor.
  5. Dealing with a new supplier is also time consuming, when he probably isn’t having a problem with his current supplier. (more…)
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How Do You Recruit Sources for Content on Your Blog?

Anyone who does a blog on a regular basis know it’s a huge commitment. I try to do three posts a week and some weeks work (clients) gets in the way. But the show must go on and constistency is something I think every blogger should aspire to. So what do you do? If you’ve read other posts about blogs on this site, you know that I’m a big proponent of doing an editorial calendar and having a list of people who could help out with content.

If you’re a manufacturer, here are some tips on identifying helpers:

  • Internal employees – Your editorial calender along with the topic categories you’ve decided to write on will help you identify possible contributors. Engineering, customer service and sales are three that come to mind.
  • Suppliers and distributors – These folks certainly understand your product and have a motivation to spread the word. Distributors and suppliers can shed light on various other issues that are closer to and are industry related.
  • Customers – They have first-hand knowledge of not only how your product solves their needs, but they can also talk about how important customer service or engineering support is.
  • Industry experts – Every industry has several “experts.”  Ask them to do a guest post on a pressing industry issue. They can offer their take on it and hopefully start a conversation on your site.
  • Magazine editors – Editors from trade publications that cover your world are in the thick of industry issues and most would be happy to share their opinion either in writing a post or being interviewed for a podcast, for instance.

Those are some ideas of who you can tap to help out with content. Who have you been asking for help?

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