Blog for Building Materials Companies

Are Building Product Companies a Loser With Women?

Are Building Product Companies a Loser With Women?

The building products industry continues to miss the sales opportunities that women represent. It’s easy to miss the tremendous amount of power that women have in the industry because it’s men that are usually the ones doing the physical purchasing of building products.

However, the thought that it’s women, not men, who control the majority of a household’s spending isn’t by any means groundbreaking or provocative. In today’s world, it’s just common sense. That said, such common sense is something that building products companies seem to be lacking.

When it comes to home improvements, women wear the pants. My mother is proof of this.

Once, my mother wanted a new kitchen floor. She got it by waiting until my father was out of town and then started in on the tile with a hammer. My poor father came back from his trip only to find the tile dug up and a new project waiting. While that’s just one example of my mother’s project style, there were many more like it and of which, the widespread removal of Brandy Bunch-esque wallpaper from the 1960s was the worst.

Here, I’ll reiterate my point by saying that it’s always been the woman of the house who’s had the idea for a project, and it’s always the man who’s paid for it, often times in more ways than one.

We’ve all seen the tremendous growth of Houzz and Pinterest and know from having wives, girlfriends, sisters, and daughters that the audience of these sites is overwhelmingly female.

Knowing that, consider the following:

Today, more single women are buying new homes than single men.

40% of women are the breadwinners, earning more than their husbands. (This means that if she wants the master bedroom to be painted pink, she just might get it.)

As of last year, women accounted for over 25% of the total heads of household.

16% of homebuyers are women.

The Home Depot has begun to host workshops that are aimed at women, which are called “Do it Herself.”

And finally, there is a new DIY site called “See Jane Drill” that features instructional videos and is aimed at women.

Based on the above, it would seem that if building products companies want to tap into female spending, the first thing they need should do is stop being so chauvinistic.

To get on the road towards becoming a perfect gentleman, here’s where I recommend starting:

1. Look at the changing face of the customer at the cash register. There are more women buying than ever before. Ask yourself, “What have you changed to make your product or project more appealing to them?”

2. Look beyond the cash register. Although the face at the cash register is usually a man’s, it’s the woman who’s brought him to you. Discover ways to speak to and inspire her from beyond the register.

3. Reach her where she lives: online. Inspire her with ideas worth pinning. Talk to her, not at her. Ask, don’t tell.

It doesn’t matter where or how your product is sold, women now matter more than ever.

Big boxes are ahead of most of their suppliers in going after women.

That’s because suppliers are so concerned about staying on the big box shelf that they can’t see past it. This is troubling because one way to stay on shelf is by bringing big boxes ideas that will grow the market by appealing to women.

Most lumber dealers and their suppliers haven’t figured out how to get past the pro, and usually male, customer in order to appeal to women. Suppliers can help dealers attract more female shoppers.

Architects and commercial building owners have recognized the importance of women for a while. Hotels were among the first to recognize the importance of women. They began to notice an increase in single, female travelers and decided to tap into the market by becoming the hotel of choice for women.

Builders, in-home selling contractors as well as kitchen and bath dealers have recognized the power of women for a long time.

With so many people beginning to recognize that it’s women who wear the pants, will you be the company that gets ahead by changing to meet her, or will you wait for your competitor to get ahead of you so you can play catch up?

Yes, I am known for occasionally pushing the boundaries of propriety to make my point. I get very passionate about sharing my point of view. Sometimes, appropriate politically correct politeness just doesn’t get your attention.

And if you think the industry is making strides in their respect for women, see what it’s like on the job sites in this article.   If the industry treats women this way on job sites, how can they respect her as a customer?

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Thanks for the following comments.  I’d like to hear your feedback and suggestions on how to sell architects.

“Direct hit on successful strategy = Educate & Share Information!”
Bruce Baker
Winsupply of Cleveland

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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.