I am frequently referred to as a “Flaming Optimist” because I see any situation as an opportunity. I also believe that we all are in charge of our own destiny which is why I have always refused to participate in recessions.
If you want to join me, now is the time to prepare for the next recession in building materials.
How to Prepare For The Next Building Materials Recession
1. Don’t be fooled by today’s sales
The economy is getting better, housing starts and sales continue to improve. Because of this, your sales better be up. This growth probably has very little to do with anything you are doing, other than filling orders.
Your sales may be growing, but you may be losing market share. The company who gains the most market share will be in a better position during the next downturn.
Building materials companies too often rely on anecdotal information to guess at their market share. Even if you can’t afford a major market research effort to monitor your market share, you should develop some metrics that will give you a better guesstimate.
2. Let go of your outdated approach to marketing
The best time to try new marketing approaches is when the market and demand for your products is growing. The degree of risk is much lower than when you are fighting for every sale and budgets are down. You can’t screw it up by trying a new idea when sales are up.
Most building material companies are stuck using the same old marketing programs they have always used. They still print too many brochures and catalogs. They blindly go to the same trade shows year after year. They still have websites that are just online brochures and not the lead and sales generators they can be.
Use this window of opportunity to let go of the old, ineffective, everybody does it sales and marketing programs.
Here Are the Two Things You Should Do
1. Own the online world for your product category. Start a blog with content geared to your customer’s search terms and dive into social media. Social media now attracts more website visitors than organic search. How long will you ignore these potential customers?
2. Blow up your website and turn it into a tool that pays for itself.
All building materials companies will be using these tools soon. The question is, are you going to wait for them to be used against you before you realize their power?
3. Upgrade Your Customers
Now is the time to pursue those customers who are the leaders in their markets. The ones who are well run and will do better during a downturn than the weaker firms.
Prize customers may take more time and patience to land than some others. You will be glad you made the effort when the market goes South.
Jettison your losers so can better support your winners.
Invest in programs that will make your strong customers even more successful, with your products.
Three ways to prepare for the next downturn
1. Focus on market share
2. Update your marketing programs
3. Partner with the right customers
Contact me if you’d like to learn how to grow your sales faster.
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