There are a lot of hard-working people in the building materials industry, such as contractors. In the sales and marketing of building materials, some of the hardest working people are home improvement sales people.
The typical building materials sales and marketing person complains about things like travel, trade shows and paperwork. This usually all takes place in comfortable climate conditioned spaces. I don’t see them working over a weekend outdoors in 95-degree heat like home improvement sales people.
It makes sense for a home improvement dealer to exhibit in places like House & Home shows where they have a very qualified audience. The vast majority of the attendees of a House & Home show are homeowners who are potentially interested in a home improvement project. Or they are simply to hoping be inspired. While House & Home shows also require the salesperson to work the weekend, they are usually held indoors.
What I really admire is how hard many home improvement dealers will work for a sale. It takes a commitment to work outdoors at an event like a county fair or festival. The type of event where it’s hot and sweaty, and the vast majority of the audience isn’t a potential customer. There are a lot fewer homeowners at these events.
The hardest working of these sales people are reaching out to people walking by only to be rejected and rejected and rejected or just plain ignored. I would have to take anti-depressants and listen to a self-help tape every hour to survive.
Home improvement dealers who exhibit at these events help everyone in the home improvement industry. Sure they are selling themselves and a product or project, like new windows. But they are also causing every homeowner, who walks past to think, for a moment, about their home and how it might be improved.
The investment of working these events must be worthwhile. One thing that successful home improvement companies do is to measure everything. They can tell you how many leads they received that generated how many in-home sales presentations that turned into how many closes and how manly sales dollars they generated at what cost. I don’t know why more building materials manufacturers don’t measure their marketing expenditures this way.
The more sophisticated of these dealers, such as Andersen and Champion may have already tested this, but I tink they are missing an opportunity. If five homeowners out of 100 know that they need new windows, then the frequently used message of “Name of Company, Windows, On Special” works.
I believe that there are another five homeowners who need new windows but don’t know it. The messages on most of these displays misses these people. A message explaining the benefits of new windows or the risks of worn out windows would draw more people in for a discussion.
Dealers frequently forget that their real competition may not be another dealer but how else a homeowner may choose to spend their money such as a vacation instead of a home improvement.
How Building Materials Manufacturers Can Help
In addition to the branded exhibits like Andersen or Champion, there are also many independent dealers who invest the time and money to exhibit at these events. They create their exhibits themselves, and they usually look like it.
Building materials manufacturers who sell their products through these independent dealers should help them with better display tools and advice. It can be as simple as a banner and a guide. The displays of these independent dealers frequently do not feature a brand of products. This is a big missed opportunity for manufacturers of home improvement products.
If this dealer had been provided with some help with their display, they both sell more and be linked to a brand of products. Currently, the brand of the manufacturer the dealer sells is not important. This is a mistake that could easily be remedied by a manufacturer.
James Hardie Does It Right
James Hardie helped this home improvement dealer out with a branded display canopy. James Hardie is the only brand of siding this dealer is promoting.
Back to my original point, home improvement sales people who are willing to work this hard are the hardest working people in building materials sales and marketing. The rest of us should appreciate their efforts and the example they set. How hard will you work to get that extra sale?
If you are a manufacturer of home improvement products who would like to grow your sales, contact me.
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