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Selling Building Materials – A Better Way

  |  Posted in Marketing, Sales

Selling Building Materials – A Better Way

Most building materials are sold following the Business-to-Business (B-to-B) model.  I find that this is not very effective for long-term success.

A better model for selling building materials is Business Thru Business

If you do B-to-B correctly, you may very well be successful.  The problem is that most companies don’t do it correctly.  They abbreviate the rules of successful B-to-B marketing and focus on the (to) part.  Their goal is to sell a product (to) a customer.  Their job is done when the sale is made to the customer.

If the customer orders too much product and it doesn’t sell, it’s not your problem

Yes, there are some companies who don’t make this mistake and are excellent B-to-B marketers.  I find that those companies are the exception.  Most companies are too focused on their own success.  They forget that the success of their customers determines their success in the long run.

It’s all about semantics 

The word (to) ends with the customer and not the customer’s customer or the end user.  Once my Business has sold (to) your Business, the transaction is completed.  The word (to) just reinforces this thinking.

Thru is a much better word

When you approach selling building materials with a B-Thru-B approach instead of B-To-B, you are forced to think about how to make your customer more successful with your products.  You have to look beyond them to their customers.

You have to know your customer’s business.  You have to know their customers.  If you sell to a distributor, dealer, big box, contractor, builder or architect, you have to understand the DIYer, homebuyer, owner, facilities manager, contractor or builder.

Many companies say they want to partner with their customers.  When you take a Thru your customer approach, you have a much better chance of becoming a partner.

Taken to the extreme, a company wouldn’t recognize a sale until the customer sold their product.

The more you think Thru and not just To, the more successful you will be in selling building materials.

Here is an infographic of how I visualize B-Thru-B Sales in building materials.

B2B Poster


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About The Author

I am the leading sales growth consultant in the building materials industry, I identify the blind spots that enable building materials companies to grow their sales and retain more customers.  As I am not an ad agency, my recommendations are focused on your sales growth and not my future income.

My mission is to help building materials companies be the preferred supplier of their customers and to turn those customers into their best salespeople. Contact me to discuss your situation.

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  • Sandhya Malur

    I like the idea of BthruB…makes perfect sense that our end users ‘success’ and use of our customers product is a win-win for us and our customer! Downstream marketing and demand generation.

    • Sandhya – it also keeps the focus off of price!

  • Neil Sutton

    Great advice Mark. It reminds me of a tip my father passed on to me:

    Dad once had the opportunity to shoot pool against the billiards legend, Minnesota Fats, at a convention, and Fats told him to always play three shots ahead. With this wider view of the whole table, you always look to keep yourself in an favorable position, and, when none is available, you can be sure to ‘snooker’ your opponent, so he doesn’t have a shot either.

    That tip certainly helped my Dad’s game, and think it is equally applicable to this strategy.

  • daryl lucien

    It shouldn’t ever be push or pull, it should be both……all the time.