Tag Archives: remodelers

Is your building product marketing ready for the R & R market?

15 Mar

Marketing business sales

How to support the R & R market

The professional contractor, especially in the R & R market, is the final person who can decide, or strongly influence, what products a homeowner uses. Many times the homeowner knows what they want done, but not how or with what product. This is a powerful position for the contractor and one that all manufacturers understand.

As a manufacturer, are you and your marketing efforts addressing this situation? Have you thought through what this all-important part of the sales process can utilize or leverage to fully enable the sales process?

Here are 3 reasons many companies have yet to figure this out.

  1. Sometimes it’s just a matter of budget. [harder to fix]
  2. Sometimes it’s not understanding who really sells your product. [Basics of your job and your team]
  3. And all too often, it’s the view that you can’t develop programs that ‘this guy’ will get or even utilize – they just don’t see the importance this guy has at the winning the kitchen table. [Your viewpoint has gotten askew of who matters]

But it isn’t simply a fancy new iPad app, it can be other support that makes the difference. It takes time to understand how your products are actually sold. Too often, the brand manager hasn’t taken the time to understand who is involved in the sales channel and how the sale occurs, especially to the homeowner.

At that moment, all the branding and marketing really don’t have any value beyond making the homeowner familiar. Most homeowners are buying the pro, not the product. People buy from people they know, like and trust.

While there are examples of brand awareness driving the consumer decision, those companies have spent years and thousands, maybe millions, of dollars to build that brand. Unless you’re one of those companies, and even they sometimes forget, you need to look at what you’re doing to support the channel, all the way to the kitchen table.

So what can you do right now? Here are 3 things you should be doing:

  1. Review technologies that you are proving down the channel.
  2. Develop a strategy to reach out to your channel partners to gain insight on what tools they want and need.
  3. Set up a plan to enable the sales process at the kitchen table to benefit your company’s products.

Observations From The Remodeling Show/DeckExpo

17 Oct

Energy was up, attendees were excited and exhibitors were benefiting

Last week I spent several days in Baltimore attending the Remodeling Show and DeckExpo with one of our employees. Since 2009, Hanley Wood has co-located the Deck Expo with the Remodeling Show and this has proven successful for both parties. The shows represents all parts of the remodeling community and focuses on education. I’ve been to this show many times and and was impressed this year by the overall energy and buzz from the show. Here are my takeaways:

  • The DeckExpo is where it’s at: We spent significant time on both sides of the convention center and could always feels a boost of energy when we crossed over to the DeckExpo side. Not only were there great conversations during the show, but people had to be asked to leave after the show closed.
  • All the major players are there: Even though IBS is the big building-product industry show, all of the major industry players also attend this show. Remodelers and deck builders are there looking for companies that support their business, and if you aren’t there, they take note.
  • Interactive sponsorships get a big draw: In our social, on-demand world, you can start to wonder if people will check their watch and make it to a specific location on time for an on-floor demonstration, but the DeckExpo proved they will. Simpson Strong-Tie sponsored the Live Deck Collapse (click here for video) which always got a big draw and lots of pictures.
  • The basics still work: While we all spend time thinking, re-thinking and over-thinking our tradeshow strategy, the basics still prove to work. TimberTech put out free beer and pretzels at the end of the day – something deck contractors have a hard time turning down!
  • This is a great industry: I’ve been in this industry for over 20 years and attending tradeshows is always refreshing and energizing. We work with some great people that are dedicated to the industry and improving how people live. Plus, our industry knows how to have fun at the end of the day!

Although many of you are looking towards IBS in January, mark your calendar for October 15 – October 18, 2013 when the Remodeling Show and DeckExpo head to Chicago. You won’t want to miss it!

Increased Potential of the Green Building Products Market

3 Apr

The Green Home Market Is Expected To Increase Five-Fold by 2016

It seems now more than ever, going green is important to consumers, which makes the building products industry a prime market to target. As a building products CMO, you are likely focused on this growing trend, but the key statistics from McGraw-Hill Construction give us even more of a reason to strive to reach the next level of eco-friendly products.

Going Green

The study showed much anticipation for green building products over the next few years.  It seems, homebuyers are going green for not only higher quality products, but also reduced energy costs. With the price to ‘go green’ declining, it is predicted the green home market is expected to grow from 17% in 2011 up to 38% in 2016 – a 21% increase in five years.

With homebuyers and homeowners wanting what’s best for the environment, it’s no surprise that a lot of builders and remodelers are starting to gear products towards green marketing, but should we all jump on the green building products’ bandwagon?

I think green marketing is the way to go with the green home market increasing and the benefits of going green being positive. 46% of builders and remodelers are finding it a competitive advantage to market themselves as green while 71% of green building firms report it easier to market in a down economy.

McGraw-Hill Construction Statistics

In addition, I think builders, and us alike, know consumers will pay more for green homes. The study shows by 2016 green builders and remodelers show much anticipation:

  • Builders expect to be dedicated to more than 90% of green building projects
  • 33% of builders predict to be dedicated to green work
  • 22% of remodelers speculate to be dedicated to green work, triple the 8% in 2011

With the green home market expected to increase five fold in the next few years, it’s essential to look into your strategic initiatives and ensure ‘green’ is a part of your plan.

To read more: Green Homes to Grow Five Fold

Building Products: 4 Tips for Asking Informative Questions that Drive Sales

23 Nov

The following 4 tips will provide valuable intelligence about a prospect and/or sales opportunity:

A recent webinar conducted by Tom Searcy at HuntBigSales.com provided a list of tips on the importance of asking questions to getting sales.

Here is my summary and input for how they relate best for the building product industry.Building product customers (distributors, dealers, builders, remodelers, etc.) have many product options and often will sway in loyalty for a good deal. This makes the ever-present four P’s of marketing (Product, Price, Promotion, and Place) continue to be important for CMOs when marketing their products.

Strategic information is just as crucial for landing the big building product sale and understanding how and when to ask the important questions can determine if your company will land or lose the big sale.

Tip #1: Observe Caution

Do not make your prospective client uncomfortable by making the discussion feel like an interrogation. The building product sales process can be lengthy; therefore, spacing your questions over a period of time using multiple media tools can make the questions seem less intrusive.

Tip #2: Use the Barbara Walters Approach

From a 1970s book by Barbara Walters How to Talk to Practically Anyone about Practically Anything, there are a few items that can help sell building products:

  • Be authentic: If you are going to ask the question, you need to be interested in the response.
  • Provide the reason you are asking the question: This approach can build trust with your prospect.
  • Honor the answer: Get the information you need, but do not challenge an answer, assume it is valid and honest.

Tip #3: Beware of the 4 Major Competitors of Every Deal

Your main competition can come in many forms and isn’t always a single company or product

  • Doing Nothing: Your biggest competitor is always yourself. If you don’t take any action, you may just be putting yourself out of business.
  • Brand #1: The biggest brand is always perceived as safest choice.
  • The Incumbent: With any opportunity there is probably a pre-existing relationship. The trust and experience that exists can be tough to overcome.
  • Price: A common competitor in the building industry is anyone with a lower price. This can also be your own pricing structure that can stand in the way of your company’s success.

Tip #4: Toxic Clients and Black Hole Prospects

Toxic (Black Hole) Prospects can be dangerous to building product companies as they have a tendency to challenge quality, stretch out payments and not honor billing.

  • Black Hole Prospects are always close to “making a deal” or “making a purchase” that may never happen.
  • Learning from asking great questions will help generate the big sale as well as eliminate Black Hole Prospects.

Sources and Additional Articles