Blog for Building Materials Companies

Why Contractors Don’t Sell Upgrades

  |  Posted in Contractors

Why Contractors Don’t Sell Upgrades

Contractors are a major source of frustration for building product manufacturers.  They refuse to sell an upgraded product even when it’s, seemingly, in their best interest. There is one main reason for this that can help you solve this problem.

I am not talking about the well oiled in home selling contractors; I am talking about the tens of thousands of smaller roofers, handy men, and plumbers and assorted other types of contractors who work on residential houses.

Contractors don’t sell upgraded building products because they want to do the right thing for the homeowner.

The first problem is how the contractor views the world based on his income level.  Even when he’s in the home of someone who makes more money and wants a better product, the contractor will frequently talk him or her out of the better product.

They mistakenly put themselves in the shoes of the homeowner and recommend the product that they would buy. Even when they would make more profit, in their own way, they believe they are helping the homeowner by selling a less expensive solution.

If a basic garbage disposer is what he would buy for himself, it must be good enough for Mrs. Jones.  It’s hard for him to see why she might be willing to pay more for a better model that is quieter.

The second part is about respect.  Most of the time the contractor may not think of himself as someone who gets a lot of respect, like a Doctor or successful business executive.  But when he is in the Doctor’s home and the Doctor’s wife asks his advice, he is respected.  And with respect comes the responsibility to give the right advice.  A respected person doesn’t sell you, they advise you.

And guess what the contractor’s advice is?  That’s right; don’t waste your money on an upgrade.

The last reason is that most of these contractors started out as installers who one day decided to start their own business.  They are not salesmen, they are installers.  They don’t feel comfortable selling.  Most of them probably don’t even like salesmen. The homeowner usually has to ask and even insist on an upgraded product.

Even though the majority of consumers now go online to do their own research and may learn about the benefits of an upgrade, the contractor still has a lot of power and ability to talk them back down.

Most building product manufacturers make the mistake of focusing on the extra profit dollars and can’t understand why the contractor doesn’t get on board.  The solution is to stop talking about extra profit and start talking about how the contractor is doing the homeowner a disservice by just focusing on entry-level products. Show him how he is actually a better adviser when he shows the homeowner the range of products and explains their benefits.

The way to get contractors to sell upgraded building products is to talk to him in terms that are important to him.  And some things are more important than profit to him.

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

“Great atrticle as always from the master!”
Robert Seaman
President & CEO
NexGen ECOatings Inc.

“Great article Mark.”
John Pardue
Panel King
Standard Panel, LLC

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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.