Building material manufacturers are all focused on the largest customers nationally. They all line up to see the same big builders, big boxes and distributors, giving the large customers all of the leverage and pricing power.
Sales people are usually sprinkled around the country based on some rationale like, “we ought to have a guy in Chicago.” The result is that most building material manufacturers view North America as one big market and are driven by national statistics such as:
Apartment construction activity
Commercial construction activity
Big box sales
Two problems with looking at building material sales nationally.
1. Your competitors are looking at the market the same way you are so you both see the same picture and the same opportunities.
2. The national statistics are an average of many markets. An average is made up of high markets and low markets. Most building material manufacturers do not take the time to dissect the opportunity and focus on the best markets. It’s easier to just let it all blend together.
How to grow your building material sales by focusing on the best markets.
Find the best markets for your products. Here are a few examples of how easy it is to find out where the opportunity is.
Focus your building materials sales and marketing on those markets with the greatest opportunity rather than taking the easy way out by doing everything nationally or even regionally. To succeed at this you have to think locally.
Three ways to grow your building material sales in markets with the greatest growth potential.
1. Localize your marketing and advertising. Ask your agency, how can we reach builders, architects, contractors, dealers, etc in Columbus, Ohio and nine other markets? It may be advertising, online, direct mail or another medium, but they should be able to figure it out.
2. Support your current local customers. Develop a marketing program to help your distributors, dealers or contractors to sell more than their competitors in these hot markets. Help them gain market share, which will also grow your share.
3. Gain more distribution or channel customers. Blitz the market with extra sales people. Assign extra sales people to spend a week in the market and call on as many customers as possible. Ideally you do this with a special offer to convert to your product.
You can also cart out “The Big Guy”. Have the VP of Sales or another senior executive spend a week in the market with the local sales person. Customers are impressed when they are made to feel important enough that “The Big Guy” came to meet with them. They will feel, “They must really want my business. I am important to them so they will may meet my needs better than my current supplier.”
When you focus where the action is, you have the potential to gain more sales with the same amount of time and effort it takes to gain a smaller increase.
You also gain the added and lasting benefit of becoming the preferred and generally accepted product in the market. A benefit that lasts a long time.