Here are three building materials companies I recommend you follow whether or not they are a competitor. They each use a different strategy to outgrow their competition. It may help you to develop your own strategy that helps your sales grow faster.
Successful Building Materials Sales Strategies
GAF—Relentless Innovative Marketing
Roofing shingles, like many other building materials, are basically a commodity. It’s hard for a shingle manufacturer to distinguish themselves on products alone. GAF sees their marketing department as an asset, while other roofing companies see it as an expense. The result is that GAF has phenomenal building material marketing.
Most roofing companies have a new marketing program each year that is just a new headline on an old idea. GAF seems to have an actual new idea every couple of months.
Most roofing companies stick to the usual marketing techniques: website, sample boards, trade show, and contractor programs. GAF goes well beyond those basics. For example, they have 229,000 likes on their Facebook page; compare this to Owens Corning which has 3,500 likes. They have contests with prizes, participate in TV shows, and have a popular ‘view from the rooftop’ program in which fans of GAF on Facebook submit photos of scenic landscapes that go into a media gallery—a fun way to get people involved that is still relevant to the roofing market. Many companies could learn what to do with their marketing department from GAF.
Assa Abloy—Making the Competition Less Relevant
Assa Abloy has been acquiring companies in the building access and security market in order to offer a total system solution. They’re not competing on the same level as their peers anymore because they have positioned themselves perfectly. It just makes sense to deal with one company instead of multiple companies that offer individual components.
But it’s not just about the competition. Assa Abloy has found a great way to focus on the needs of the customer. That’s why their business will be so successful.
Design build is a growing field that requires speed and efficiency. But even in the architectural specification market, firms have fewer people doing more. They frequently end up cutting and pasting specs from a previous project, so they welcome a supplier who has a total solution rather than having to work out the details themselves or with a number of suppliers. It will be interesting to see if more companies begin to offer total solutions that can meet building industry needs.
James Hardie—Aggressive Goals and Confidence
Most building materials companies are not in charge of their own destiny. Instead, they take what the market gives them. In an up market, they prosper. In a down market, they suffer.
If they gain or lose a big box, they don’t see it as their fault or merit—the big box makes the decision for them. If they face an aggressive competitor, they frequently see the solution is to make a price cut.
It’s all out of their control.
Most companies are afraid to set big goals because of the fear of failure. Someone has to take the fall. Not so with James Hardie. They don’t fear the inevitable setbacks that prevent them from reaching goals; instead, they overcome them. James Hardie doesn’t settle for what the market gives them; they are firmly in control of their own destiny.
Just ask any vinyl siding company about all the problems with fiber cement. None of those challenges affected James Hardie. They created a market for fiber cement that they are still growing and dominating.
Every goal has challenges to face before that goal can be achieved. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it or have done it already. But what could you do if you could find the confidence to set and meet big goals?
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