Blog for Building Materials Companies

Mexican Standoff in Building Materials

  |  Posted in Strategy

Mexican Standoff in Building Materials

Most building materials companies are stuck in a Mexican Standoff with their competitors in which no one can win.  To the customer, they all look alike with similar products, pricing and support.

Mexican Standoff: a stalemate or impasse; a confrontation that neither side can win.

Similar products, pricing, warranties, features such as colors, delivery time, installation, availability and distribution methods keep most building materials manufacturers in a standoff.

It starts with the product.  They are all basically made the same way with the same ingredients and costs.  You may think that your product has something unique about it, but your customer probably doesn’t see it that way.  These small differences won’t get a customer to switch.  They may only help a customer who has switched to justify their decision.

Fiberglass insulation, roofing shingles, furnaces, drywall, faucets and probably your product are viewed by your customer as not that different than your competitors.

When a new homebuyer see that a home has a fireplace, they don’t know or care what brand it is.

When an architect specifies a roofing membrane, he cares more about the material than the manufacturer.

A good home improvement salesperson can sell the products from one manufacturer as easily as another.

If windows weren’t in a standoff, there wouldn’t be over 500 window manufacturers.

Manufacturers are all focused on lowering production costs instead of innovation.  No wonder their products are all the same.

They also provide similar levels of customer service that are measured in terms of “good enough”, instead of “outstanding”.

Pricing is definitely in a Mexican Standoff, while manufacturers test the waters with pricing and hope the competition will follow.  You don’t see many companies saying, “We cost more and we are worth it”.  This pricing parity only reinforces that the one product is the same as another.

Promotion is also largely in a standoff with manufacturers going to the same trade shows and playing follow the leader with marketing programs such website features.

This standoff mentality also keeps the manufacturers focused more on each other than the customer or that unexpected new competitor who may disrupt the standoff and make their product and approach irrelevant.

A Mexican standoff is a confrontation between two or more parties in which no participant can proceed or retreat without being exposed to danger. As a result, all participants need to maintain the strategic tension, which remains unresolved until some outside event makes it possible to resolve it.  – Wikipedia.

All things come to an end.  What will be the outside event, company or person who will resolve the standoff?  Why not you?

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“Great summary of the world of building material sales.”
Ben Pedersen
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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.