People, For Sales Directors | 5 min read

How to Market & Sell Building Products to Contractors

Posted By
Danielle Fauteaux

You can improve your channel sales through contractors by understanding they are often artists at heart, not salespeople or accountants. When you help them become better business owners, you'll build loyalty to your brand and as their book of business grows, your order counts will likewise grow.

Marketing To Contractors

Contractors have often either inherited the business they operate from their father or grandfather or begun to pave their own way after building up a network of connections and community reputation from previous employment.

These buyers are quick to just “do things the way they have always been done” just like their father and grandfather did things at the company. This carries over into the materials and building products they install. They often question:

  • Why risk their brand reputation on a new product when the current product does the job?
  • Why waste time learning how to install a new product?
  • Why risk unforeseen problems arising? After all, the devil that you know is better than the devil that you don't.

Overcome Their Fears and Remove Uncertainty

Thus, your role is to educate contractors that the risk of NOT switching to your product is higher than their perceived risk of trying something new. Because of this, you need to show them how your product fits into their brand story and upholds their core business values.

  • Is the product easy to install (and can I trust my workers or subcontractors to install it properly)?
  • Is the product cost efficient?
  • Can I get as close to the exact amount I need as possible to avoid waste?
  • Have I heard good things about it?
  • Does this product make my company look good?

You need to also find out which products they currently bring up in conversations to close their project sale with their customers. Then, become one of those products by focusing on your pull-through sales and marketing tactics. 

Swiftly get your digital product specification libraries and installation resources up to speed to match contractor demand for this information on the move. 

Devote some boots-on-the-ground efforts to your contractors as well by sending internal sales reps and your portfolio/account managers to their job sites to provide in person installation training and add the human element to what has become a primarily digital sales process.

Mentor Contractors into Businessmen

Another key characteristic to keep in mind when selling to contractors is this: most contractors hate selling. They are craftsmen and want to deliver a quality end result, not hackle people into big expenses. They might own a business, yes, but they regularly have the heart and passion of artists, not entrepreneurs. Do your research carefully and develop your indirect sales materials and partner programs appropriately to support your contractors who are shy to sell anything, let alone vouch for your products intentionally.

Consider also how to take on a mentorship role for contractors who prefer to be on a job-site rather than crunching job costing numbers and running P&L statements. Take a step back and evaluate how you can help contractors sell more profitably. When you help them improve their margins, they will be able to grow their businesses and you’ll grow with them. This tactic is part of the "Engage" stage of ManoByte's REGG Channel Sales Framework, which you can learn more about on this page.

Develop a Qualified Contractor Program

Consider a “Certified / Qualified Contractor” program that would elevate contractor’s brands by conveying expertise and quality assurance.  Give them a solid way to ride your coat-tails per se. This is a with-partner marketing tactic that will also improve your brand perception by validating the top performers in your channel and disassociating your brand from less reputable contractors.

Be vigilant to enable positive word-of-mouth (digitally and physically) about your brand via contractor roundtables and trade associations. Contractors will ask their peers in groups like Remodeler's Advantage and Facebook groups for product and solution recommendations and testimonials for new products they are considering.

To Increase Sales, Be Convenient

Contractors are loyal to convenience. As discussed earlier, most contractors are resistant to change. Why? Because change is not convenient. Contractors likewise will often choose the most readily available brand or material because it is easier to run to a big-box hardware store to get one or two more to complete a job that way.

So, do your best to be conveniently purchased in small quantities in store and online, either directly, through third-party marketplaces, or via your indirect channel partner's eCommerce setups.

Helping building products manufacturers and distributors sell more building products to contractors is what we do using channel management strategies, inbound marketing, and indirect sales enablement tactics. Learn more about our approach.