Building materials manufacturers and their direct and indirect sales reps often get the short end of the stick when general contractors and architects disagree on product selections.
Most often, the client hires the architect and designer before the builder or general contractor. This creates a rift in the the entire construction process between the design phase and the construction phase.
The Great Divide
Conflict between the builder/GC and the architect/designer stems from the designer causing a client to swoon over a fancy idea that the general contractor is not able to actually translate from the paper into reality. Then the GC becomes the bad guy to the shared client, which hurts the ego and breeds tension in the professional relationship. Sometimes the GC needs the designs changed because the proposed structure is physically not possible. Other times there may be a regulatory conflict from professional or governing bodies. And sometimes the GC just wants to use something they can get cheaper, faster, or more readily.
In any case, unless the design and the GC are working collaboratively with the client, there is a lot of miscommunication, frustration, and wasted time spent during the moments between when a client approves the designs and when the client hires the GC to implement.
Why is this your problem?
Manufacturers who can get their product specified into the design, but are unable to prove the value of their brand and their product to the general contractor are likely to get value-engineered straight out of the final build. It's rare that the architect who chose to specify your product will be able to keep the GC from swapping in a different material or product at the last moment while purchasing occurs. This is why it's critical for you to do two things:
- Develop partner resources for architects that enable and incentivize them to advocate against any changes. Help them become a true extension of your brand.
- Win the hearts and minds of builders and general contractors.
Give Architects and Contractors a Reason to Agree on Your Construction Product
The best way to get all parties involved to agree that your solution is best is to engineer your products so that they solve for the real life use cases that the builders and contractors are also solving for their client while also leaving room for architects to build their brand and value proposition on the unique, forward focused aspects of your products.
The next step is to take the initiative and educate your architect and design customers about the unique challenges faced by builders and general contractors and vice versa. In this way, you help your shared distributors recognize the needs and challenges faced by the other side of the table when sharing design and construction clients with your products customers.
Consider also ways to connect architects who love your brand and products with builders and general contractors who love your brand and products and who work in the same service areas. It's kind of like setting up two friends for a date who never would have considered being in a relationship with the other person until you pointed out a shared mutual interest neither of them originally knew the other also had. That arrangement beats a blind date every time, and the same is true when you foster collaboration between likeminded architects and general contractors who share your customers and a love for your brand and products.
Attract Architects and Builders to Your Product
Once you've laid a foundation for healthy collaboration and mutual respect between architects and builders who choose your products, then implement inbound marketing tactics that foster pull through demand generation from builders and contractors. When you work to win the hearts and minds of the people who are actually ordering and installing your product, you are cutting out opportunities at the end of the channel where your product so often before could be value-engineered out of the project.
Find the value in your product to architects and find the value in your product to builders and contractors. Then align your messaging and outreach strategies to effectively solve for both, not just one or the other.💛 Win the hearts of designers via inspirational photo boards and articles about design trends and innovative uses of space.
🤓 Win the minds of designers with product samples and resources to speed their day to day workflow.
💛 Win the hearts of contractors by showing them your product is best (not just telling them) alongside providing resources that help them become a more profitable business.
🤓 Win the minds of contractors by giving them installation guidance and matching their delivery window without extra headaches along the way.
Do everyone involved in the delivery of the construction product a favor: make it so that the architect and builder stop fighting and better understand each other. This will foster not only a better construction process for their shared clients, but it will improve the customer satisfaction of your shared customers.
Learn more about how to managed key stakeholders in the construction materials purchasing process to rid your sales forecast of value-engineered deal losses when you download the guide to stakeholder management including a plan template below.