Building materials companies are frequently out of synch with their customers’ needs. These days, what customers really want is product availability and accurate information. If they can’t get the product as soon as they want it, they at least want to know exactly when they can plan on receiving it.
Not too long ago, building materials companies had plenty of availability but their customers were concerned with price stability. At the very least, they wanted advance notice of price increases.
Now the customer wants availability, but some companies are offering price stability instead. They are promising not to raise prices for as long as one to two years!
Customers appreciate price stability, but there are two problems with committing to holding prices. The first is that it isn’t what the customer cares about the most. The customer needs availability and accurate information, even if prices fluctuate.
The second problem with offering price stability is that it tells the customer that you’re so desperate for business you’re willing to put your company’s financial health at risk. The market is volatile and no one can predict what unforseen costs will arise. Raw materials, labor, freight and who knows what could force you to increase your prices just to stay in business, so price stability is a big gamble with only a small payoff.
Building materials customers don’t want to deal with desperate companies. They don’t want to deal with companies that might go out of business because they couldn’t raise prices to stay profitable. And they definitely don’t want to do business with companies that are offering them the wrong benefits at the wrong time.
If you want customers to take you seriously, give them what they want now instead of what they were hoping for last year. If you can’t give them the availability they want, at least give them accurate information.
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