Since the start of the pandemic, most building materials companies have been focused more on themselves than their customers.
At first, the questions were about a possible recession.
Is there going to be one? If so, how deep will it be? What expenses can we reduce? Who should we let go?
After that, companies started to adapt to the new reality. The questions became all about remote work.
How does our staff work from home? Do they have access to the information they need from home? How do we know they are doing their job when we can’t keep an eye on them?
Then the concern over selling and retaining customers started to settle in.
How do we interact with customers who are also working from home? What about the ones who aren’t working remotely but still don’t want to meet with us? How do we reach and sell new customers? How do we replace the benefits we used to get from trade shows?
Surprise! Most building materials companies are experiencing an unexpected increase in business. With that increase came a whole new set of questions.
How do we meet the demand? Can we get enough raw materials in a timely manner? How far can we push our production capacity before we start having problems? How can we stretch our customer support functions to meet the increased activity?
Those are all important questions, but what’s missing are the ones that matter most.
That’s what I thought about when I saw this announcement from Canon Cameras in Australia.
All the major camera brands will sell directly to you on their websites in addition to selling through dealers. Canon announced that they are shutting down sales from their website in order to drive more business to their dealers.
This is a very bold move. It’s also a smart strategy.
The camera industry is facing massive disruption. This “put your money where your mouth is” program will create more dealer loyalty. When a customer asks which camera they should buy, the dealer is now more likely to recommend something by Canon.
It’s time for building materials companies to do the same kind of thing. It’s time to shift the focus back on the customer.
Your customers have been facing the same challenges you have. In many cases, they are smaller companies that do not have the resources that larger companies have.
So, it’s time to ask yourself a new set of questions.
How can we help our customers grow their businesses? What kind of problems are they facing? How can we help them solve those problems?
Your customers will remember who cared for them during all of this upheaval and did something to actively help them. Whether your customer is a dealer, distributor, contractor, big box, builder or architect, they all can use your help.
Your success depends on your customers having a glowing opinion of you. Shift your focus to them now and you’ll see what a difference it makes.
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