“Who is looking out for you and are you looking out for your customers?”
by Shawn McCadden
The world of remodeling and building is evolving, changing and getting more complicated by the minute these days. Contractors, just to name a few areas, need to stay on top of the latest building code requirements, government regulations, products and building science. Contractors need this information to protect their businesses from liabilities that could arise out of deficiencies or a lack of knowledge in any of these areas. Here is another thing to think about. Even if you are up to speed in these areas, what else do you need to know to attract and keep the right customers for your business? Just as business owners and managers need the right information to make good decisions and do their jobs with confidence, consumers also need the right information so they can make good decisions and build or remodel with confidence.
It has been my experience that a certain few material suppliers, National Lumber being one, have recognized these needs for both the contractor and the consumer. These suppliers have seen the mutually beneficial advantage of providing education as a way to help both contractors and consumers. By educating their contractor customers with the right information in the right ways, not only does the supplier increase their potential to grow their own business, but that same education can help the contractor better educate their prospects in ways that help turn them into customers.
Smart building product suppliers are starting to see the advantage of “out-teaching their completion”. By offering valuable education to their customers they stand out as a helpful, trustworthy and different than other suppliers. As a natural consequence of doing so they are also building relationships. This same tactic can also work for contractors. Recent research indicates that consumers spend about two thirds of the total time they invest in researching a purchase before they are ready to speak with a sales person and make a decision. Understanding this new reality, smart contractors are providing consumer education as a way to attract and impress prospects during these first two thirds of their process. Then, when the consumer is ready to meet with a salesperson to finalize their decision making process and choose a contractor, these contractors stand out as a knowledgeable and reliable source to do business with. Again, as a natural consequence, they are also building relationships.
There are many ways you can take what you learn at educational events and share the information with your clients and prospects. National Lumber already has several such events listed on their web site. The upcoming “Navigating the Road to Green Building” seminar being offered by National Lumber could be one of those events if you are or want to get involved in the green building market. The list of speakers is impressive and I know my fellow NARI Members Dan Glickman and Andrea Goldman are both very knowledgeable and experienced. If you attend, you could take what you learn and share it through your marketing pieces, on your web site, in blogs, at consumer seminars and or at sales calls. Remember, try to make the information available in places prospects will find it during that first two thirds of their buying and decision making process. If you do it right several things will happen. You will peak their curiosity about your business. You will have already started building their trust and confidence in you. And, most importantly, you will increase the odds they will call you to discuss their project.
Shawn McCadden is one of the most prominent figures in the remodeling industry. He speaks frequently at industry conferences and trade events, consults with remodeling companies and the supply chain, blogs, and writes an award winning monthly column for Remodeling magazine. Shawn is one of the Remodeling industry’s leading authorities on the new EPA RRP rule. Visit him at www.shawnmccadden.com. Visit his RRPedia Blog to find and share “contractor friendly” and timely information about the RRP rule.