The past few years have been very tough for most consumers to budget remodeling work during rising inflation and high unemployment rates. For those of you who have cabinet dealerships that sell to both retail consumers and builders you might be looking to increase your builder sales to make up for the lack of kitchen remodeling jobs. After all, a healthy relationship with a builder can lead to a more stable, long-term revenue stream for your business.
However, establishing new builder accounts can be difficult if you have fierce competition. And even once you get them, you’re faced with the task of figuring out how to manage and sell multiple kitchen jobs at once. So what can your cabinet business do to put you in a better position to make and maintain accounts with home builders, and to improve your sales?
One of the important things to know about builder accounts is that they almost always have more than just one point of contact. You have the field superintendent whom you notify of the delay and who gets ticked off because that affects his schedule (and potentially his bonus). You also have the purchasing manager, who is ultimately responsible for selecting suppliers. Their decisions are typically based on price and “perceived value.” If their superintendents are screaming about the cabinet vendor they’re currently with, that may open the door for your competition to sneak in.
If you’re faced with this situation follow these two steps to win over the builder:
Proactively Meet with Purchasing Managers
Meet with purchasing managers as frequently as necessary (monthly, quarterly, etc.). Talk to them about potential concerns, new products, plan redesigns, etc. before they call you. Take any issue back to your shop and get them fixed – fast!
Get Your Field Service Staff to Network
Have your field service people develop remarkable relationships with their builder counterparts. Teach your staff to bend over backwards on simple requests so that when problems do arise, the existing relationship allows some margin of error.
If you and your staff can master those two things you’ll be in the perfect spot to secure builder accounts for a long time to come.