Most building materials are sold following the Business-to-Business (B-to-B) model. I find that this is not very effective for long-term success.
A better model for selling building materials is Business Thru Business
If you do B-to-B correctly, you may very well be successful. The problem is that most companies don’t do it correctly. They abbreviate the rules of successful B-to-B marketing and focus on the (to) part. Their goal is to sell a product (to) a customer. Their job is done when the sale is made to the customer.
If the customer orders too much product and it doesn’t sell, it’s not your problem
Yes, there are some companies who don’t make this mistake and are excellent B-to-B marketers. I find that those companies are the exception. Most companies are too focused on their own success. They forget that the success of their customers determines their success in the long run.
It’s all about semantics
The word (to) ends with the customer and not the customer’s customer or the end user. Once my Business has sold (to) your Business, the transaction is completed. The word (to) just reinforces this thinking.
Thru is a much better word
When you approach selling building materials with a B-Thru-B approach instead of B-To-B, you are forced to think about how to make your customer more successful with your products. You have to look beyond them to their customers.
You have to know your customer’s business. You have to know their customers. If you sell to a distributor, dealer, big box, contractor, builder or architect, you have to understand the DIYer, homebuyer, owner, facilities manager, contractor or builder.
Many companies say they want to partner with their customers. When you take a Thru your customer approach, you have a much better chance of becoming a partner.
Taken to the extreme, a company wouldn’t recognize a sale until the customer sold their product.
The more you think Thru and not just To, the more successful you will be in selling building materials.
Here is an infographic of how I visualize B-Thru-B Sales in building materials.
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Thanks for the following comments. I’d like to hear your feedback and suggestions on how to sell architects.
“As a former sales rep for a distributor, I enjoyed developing trusted relationship and being allowed to mange many of my customers inventories. I spent time in their market, speaking with their customer and gaining an understanding of their market. I provided product solutions that offered the best results and provided product training to their sales staff. Thanks, Mark for redefining the sales strategy I adopted long ago. “
Global Manufacturing Services
Business Development Manager