No matter how bad it is or how long it stays, the Coronavirus is going to have a big effect on the building materials industry. And much like this image, we are dealing with two main issues, uncertainty and more distance between us and our customers.
Even if we discover a vaccine that puts a stop to it soon, the epidemic has changed the world. It caused people to think about their health in new ways. We’re all thinking of the steps we should take to protect ourselves.
A black swan event in business is an unpredictable or unforeseen situation that has big consequences for your industry. Most business owners hope and pray they’ll never encounter one because there’s just no way to plan ahead for them. Your response plan is always going to be reactive.
The Coronavirus is one of those black swan events. If you haven’t already, it’s time to take steps to adapt to it.
10 Ways the Coronavirus Will Affect Building Materials
- Your website and online presence just became 10 times more important. The company that gives the customer what they want online will win.
- Your salespeople need to get even better at virtual selling. Telephone, email, texting, social media and video calls are now even more important. Do not be surprised if some of your customers temporarily stop allowing in-person sales calls.
- Some CFO’s will mistakenly see this as a way to cut travel and trade show expenses when they should redirect them.
- Trade shows and events will change. Some will be canceled. Most will get smaller.
- Companies will reconsider their sources of supply. If your workers in Kansas City become quarantined, where does that leave your customers?
- A healthy place to live will be the new granite countertop for new
- Owners and facility managers in commercial construction are looking for ways to protect their investments. No one wants to be the Coronavirus hotel in San Antonio.
Incommercial new construction, owner and developers will be looking for ways to use “healthy” as a way to differentiate their properties.
- Whether it is healthier HVAC systems or germ-killing antimicrobials, your customers will be looking for these features.
- Products and construction practices will change. Maybe fresh air and sunlight will become popular again, as mold-producing
supertightbuildings will be less desirable.
Steps to Take Today
- Make your website the best in your product category, as defined by your customers.
- Make it easy for customers to contact you in the way they want. If you don’t have a chatbox on your website add one today.
- Train your salespeople in virtual selling. Your salespeople should be able to make a video sales call that is as close to being live as they can make it.
- Make better use of social media to stay in touch with customers.
- Produce more and better videos.
- Cancel all future trade shows and reinvest the funds in the areas above. Trade shows will be hurt this year. Even if you have paid for the space, cancel everything else.
- Proactively let your customers know what you are doing to protect them in case a health issue affects your business.
- Rethink your sales messages. If your product has a healthy feature, promote it. Look for ways to make your product healthier such as adding a germ and mold killing antimicrobials.
Some companies will use this as an opportunity to jump ahead of the competition by better meeting the needs of their customers. Others will be left behind with their heads stuck in the sand, assuming things will return to normal when this passes.
That’s a misunderstanding of how black swan events work. They don’t just come out of nowhere and shake things up. They also leave a mark on the industries they affect.
When something of this magnitude strikes, it’s important to adapt. Do more than just rethink your travel plans. Show your customers that you are their best choice in this new world.