I talk with architects, builders, contractors, distributors and other customers on a weekly basis. I always ask them who their top three suppliers are and what makes them so great. I also ask what a supplier can do to get more of their business.
I have been asking these same questions for years. Because of that, I see how your customer’s interests are changing.
It’s Never About Lower Prices
In all my years of asking your customers what a supplier can do to earn more of their business, I never hear them talk about lower prices.
This has not changed.
Here’s What Your Customers Are Telling Me Today.
“Building materials companies who want more of our business should do the following.”
Do What You Say
Doing what you say seems like a simple request. It’s what any successful business should already be doing.
Unfortunately, building materials companies have never had a great reputation for doing what they say.
After every trade show, your customers tell me the information they requested never arrived. Or when they ask for a rep to contact them, they often have to contact the rep themselves.
Part of the challenge is that you are usually not selling your products directly to the actual decision-maker.
This has been growing in importance as construction activity and the volume of materials increases
What I am hearing now is Do What You Say is now extending into more areas that are creating bigger problems for your customers.
It’s About Trust and Commitment
Can I trust you? Are you committed to me? Why can’t I get answers to questions like these? Why do I even have to ask? If I do get an answer, do I believe it?
- What is the lead time?
- How soon can you have new pricing?
- What date will the shipment arrive?
- Will the order be complete?
- When can I get the new samples?
- How soon can I get an answer to my question?
- And so on and so on.
Your customers have learned to assume you won’t do what you say until you prove it to them.
What Happens When You Don’t Do What You Say
- You make your customers look bad to their customers. If you don’t do what you say, how can they do what they say to their customers?
- They have to spend time (that they don’t have) following up with you.
- The few companies who consistently do what they say will keep the business.
- You are making it easier for a competitor to take this customer away from you, simply because they do what they say.
How to Improve
- Most companies believe they do what they say. The problem is that they measure things from their perspective and not the customer’s.
- Ask your customers, “Where are we dropping the ball? How could we be a better supplier to you?”
- Empower your people to get accurate information and to be able to take action and make commitments.
You No Longer Get a Pass
Architects, builders, contractors, and distributors now expect the same level of Do What You Say in their professional life as they experience in their personal life.
They don’t have to check back with Amazon. They think it should be the same with their building materials suppliers.
If you want to grow your sales faster, work on earning a reputation as the company that does what it says.
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Thanks for the following comments. I’d like to hear your feedback and suggestions on how to sell architects.
“Not only I agree with that, but I truly think that supporting your customers in every way is the only way to make business in the long run.”