In today's market you want to stand out and differentiate yourself by being the company that offers the most valuable relationship, not necessarily the least expensive product.

In this four-part series, we will reveal several ways you as the manufacturer can become invaluable to your builder customers without sacrificing profitability.

September 2020 | Tip #1: Offer cost-savings ideas. Reducing costs is an ongoing challenge for builders. Manufacturers can strengthen relationships with builders by sharing ideas on how to reduce costs. Become a trusted resource of valuable information and provide builders with effective methods for increasing efficiencies in product development and construction.

We often talk to our builder members about the importance of being the “Builder of Choice.” These builders focus on excellence and their suppliers see the difference. In the same way, operate as a “Supplier of Choice” and let builders see that you operate at a superior level. Show the builder that you put them first. Be a true partner.

October 2020 | Tip #2: Show the field staff you appreciate their business. Get out there and connect. Show up on the job site with coffee and bagels. Foster a relationship with the field team and they will be an advocate for you with their purchasing department.

Manufacturers of building products spend countless hours each year researching the needs and wants of the home builder with focus groups, surveys, consultations with experts and analysis on new product development.

November 2020 | Tip #3: Personally reach out to builders when promoting new products. Focus on the individuals who will be making the decision to change their buying behavior to purchase your new product. Builders need to know how your new product is going to help them and why they should make a change.

Among the greatest benefits of establishing a builder-focused sales emphasis are the relationships the sales team will develop and the knowledge the team will acquire about the needs of the builder. These benefits pay significant dividends for manufacturers throughout the new product development process, including the part that really counts: selling.

2020 | Tip #4: Track commodity costs and adjust prices accordingly. Offer to monitor an appropriate index or price and agree beforehand to lower the cost to a specific amount if the index drops. Predetermine price increases and reductions based on an agreed-upon standard.

The greatest challenge to achieving the long-term benefits of a builder sales strategy is identifying success. The best practice is to have a clear understanding of the benefits of a builder sales strategy, and how the actions of the builder sales team can indirectly increase sales and margin at other points of the sales channel. It is important to identify success metrics other than direct sales, and to identify a value for each.