The building materials industry is changing at a faster and faster pace. New decision makers, construction methods, paths to purchase, delivery methods, and products are all making it a challenge to keep up.
That’s why it’s important to never stop learning. Stephen Covey advised his readers to “Sharpen the Saw” – to keep your mind in shape so you’re ready to handle any challenge that comes your way. That applies to building materials, too. It takes continuous learning to stay on top of all the changes in the industry.
That’s something I’ve taken to heart. I am extremely curious and addicted to learning. I don’t just want to know how customers act – I want to know why. Because of that, I spend a lot of time studying customer behavior. Even if my hunches are frequently correct, I would miss changes in their behavior if I didn’t actually verify my assumptions. That would be a very costly mistake, since seeing these changes as they are happening is a massive competitive advantage.
There are lots of ways to learn, but I have found that the best way is to never stop asking questions. If you approach your customers with curiosity, you’ll be surprised at what you’ll discover.
Another great way is to subscribe to newsletters, read blogs and listen to the many building materials podcasts that are out there. And since I have run out of things to watch on television, I’ve discovered the world of YouTube. This is where some of the most insightful people in the industry are sharing their knowledge – all we have to do is pay attention.
If you don’t know where to start, let me share my favorite building materials YouTube channels with you. Subscribing to these is a great way to learn more about the industry and your customers.
With almost 900,000 subscribers and hundreds of videos under his belt, Matt is the Joe Rogan of residential building materials. If you sell residential products to builders or contractors, you need to follow him.
There’s a good chance he has already reviewed your product or your competitors. You should know what he has to say.
The builders and contractors who follow Matt are that rare breed who actually care about the homes they build and want to do a better job. Matt is also where you will find new products that will gain more acceptance over time.
Dmitry Lipinskiy of Roofing Insights has a great channel if you’re in the roofing business or want to understand the issues facing contractors today. He speaks from the point of view of the contractor and is not afraid to criticize manufacturers and distributors.
Whatever type of product you sell, you should see if there is a Dmitry Lipinskiy with a channel for that product category. Follow them, support them and most of all, listen to them.
Belinda is an architect who is very good at taking complicated subjects and making them understandable to the average person. Most of her videos cover products and their applications but she also does a great job with deep subjects like “The Rise and Fall of Katerra.”
Stewart is also an architect who takes a contrarian point of view with videos like the one above “All Good Architecture Leaks.” He also does a great job covering the history of architecture and the challenges today’s architects face.
If you want to better understand architects and architecture, you need to subscribe to this channel. You will also never run out of interesting things to discuss with architects.
The Uneducated Economist
Simon has spent his career as a lumber dealer salesperson. His passion is economics but he shares many insights from a builder’s and dealer’s point of view.
Who are you listening to? Who are you learning from? If it’s only people you agree with, you are losing ground every day.