Blog for Building Materials Companies

Early Adopters and Laggards in Building Materials

  |  Posted in Strategy

Early Adopters and Laggards in Building Materials

There has never been a better time to grow your sales, find new customers or introduce new building material products and services.

After decades of being stuck in the stubborn world of “that’s just how we do things,” the industry is finally waking up to the fact that it needs to change.

But not everyone accepts the change at the same time. The graphic above was developed by Professor Everett Rogers to show the stages of how new ideas are adopted.

Disruptive innovators like Katerra, Entekra, Full Stack Modular, Clayton Homes, Smart Walls and others are showing building owners and home buyers that they can have it faster, cheaper and better.

Early adopters, like some of the largest homebuilders and the more innovative commercial owner/developers, are embracing this idea of faster, cheaper and better.

This is starting to create more interest and awareness with the later adopters, like the majority of builders, contractors, architects and owner/developers.

Everyone is looking for a way to solve their problems and meet their challenges. Early adopters are the ones who recognize right away that simply finding cheaper products or lowering labor costs is not the solution.

Instead, they’re looking for ways to reduce waste and inefficiency. They are becoming aware of how much it costs for every extra day it takes to complete a project, and they’re placing a high value on products that help them get it done more quickly.

Early adopters are looking to reduce or eliminate unnecessary costs. They’re focused on improving the process of designing and constructing buildings.

What This Means for You

So, what does all this mean for building materials companies?

1. Early adopter customers are rethinking how they do everything, including the materials and processes they would normally use.

The cost of an individual product is less important than it used to be. If your product or company can improve the process, early adopters want to hear about it.

They are open to paying more for a product that helps them reduce waste and inefficiency.

2. The customers in the middle of the curve are all looking to the right, where the change is happening. They are watching closely, trying to decide how this will affect them and what steps they should take.

They are looking for building materials companies who are ahead of the curve and have knowledge and a plan. Unless they’re one of the laggards, your customer is thinking, “I know this change is coming, which [type of product] company is most on top of this? Who can best guide us or help us make the best decisions?” You want them to be thinking of you!

The majority of homes and buildings are still going to be built on site. Site-built customers are going to look for ways to rethink their processes to stay competitive with off-site construction.

You have an opportunity to be the one who guides them.

In order to do this effectively, however, you will need to invest some time in rethinking how your product is designed, manufactured, sourced, delivered and installed. 

Are You Focused on the Laggards?

Whenever I write about this change in the industry, it generates a lot of interest. I also get a lot of comments and a surprising number of them are negative.

Here’s a sampling:

“It will never work.”

“I’ve seen this before. When the next recession comes, they’ll be out of business.”

“Anything built in a factory is crap.”

“Who will be there when the customer has a problem?”

Many of these people are laggards. They see this change as a threat. They have a successful business model and they want to protect it.

As a building materials company, your laggard customers may make up a large volume of business. You are probably closer to them than to the smaller group of early adopter customers.

But remember the words of Wayne Gretzky: “You don’t want to go where the puck is, you want to go where the puck is going to be.”

The laggards are playing with a puck that moves in slow motion.

The puck is racing toward reducing waste and inefficiency. Are you headed to where the puck is going to be?

The window of opportunity for growing your building materials sales, finding new customers or introducing new products and services is now open. It’s time to get the early adopters on your side before it closes.

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“Mark, I love this!”
Jack Silverman
Vice President
Bolin Marketing

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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.