Marketing, Sales | 9 min read

The #1 Reason Builders & Tradesmen Will Purchase Your Product

Posted By
Danielle Fauteaux

Right now builders and every other stakeholder involved in residential and commercial construction projects have one priority top of mind: finishing the project on time, or sooner. Everything else about your offering is secondary.

What Matters Most to Building Products Buyers?

As a building materials manufacturer, you are selling to a variety of buyers, including your one-step and two-step distributors, dealers, online marketplaces, as well as end consumers like architects, builders, contractors, tradesmen, and DIYers. For now, let's hone in on just one of those buyer segments - architects, builders, and contractors - who act as the primary decision maker when specifying products and materials into new builds and renovation projects.

When the purchaser of your building materials products is evaluating options, they often make a choice based on these kinds of questions:

  • Have I used the product before?
  • Will the product arrive on time?
  • Can I order the right amount of product?
  • Can I order this myself or do I need to initiate back and forth with a sales rep?
  • Does it fit the budget / construction allowance?
  • Is the product high quality?
  • Is the product innovative, unique, and/or trendy?

Within this buyer segment, you have two buyer personas whose purchase decisions will weight the seven primary purchase factors differently. Below we've ranked the product factors that sway each - in order of highest sway to lowest sway - when making building material purchase decisions:

Top Product Purchase Factors for Architects and Designers

  1. Is the product innovative, unique, and/or trendy?
  2. Have I used the product before?
  3. Does it fit the budget / construction allowance?
  4. Is the product high quality?
  5. Can I order the right amount of product?
  6. Can I order this myself or do I need to initiate back and forth with a sales rep?
  7. Will the product arrive on time?

Architects and designers have an eye on the trends and look for innovative products that will help them design an inspiring home or commercial space. These buyers will often spend considerable time evaluating new product options when they are afforded the time to do so. When there is not the time to identify new, creative uses of materials, architects will fall back on the tried and true brands and products that work in most projects. Then they consider how to fit those products into the budget. For designers, least considered is when the products and materials can arrive; Architects and Designers are not involved in managing the construction schedule and thus rarely factor in delivery times to their specifying decisions.

Top Product Purchase Factors for Builders and Tradesmen

  1. Will the product arrive on time?
  2. Can I order the right amount of product?
  3. Is the product high quality?
  4. Does it fit the budget / construction allowance?
  5. Have I used the product before?
  6. Can I order this myself or do I need to initiate back and forth with a sales rep?
  7. Is the product innovative, unique, and/or trendy?

While builders and tradesmen do work to keep pace with the trends as much as possible, they are less so the "dreamers" and are much more pragmatic towards getting the right amount of product, at a fair price, and on schedule. Because of the high demand for new builds right now, timing is everything and if the product won't arrive on site for install within the window allotted on the construction schedule, that product is not going to make the cut and the builder will find a different supplier and brand who can deliver right when they need it.


Why Product Delivery Time is Top Priority for Builders

Residential construction build times are currently crunched. Because of a combination of buyer sentiments influenced by extremely low mortgage interest rates, decreased consumer trust in other investment markets, and increased desire to move outside of cities, the national housing market has proven a profitable investment both in the short run and the long run. Since the national market has just about a tenth of the supply to meet housing demand, new build delivery times have been pushed into high gear. Simultaneously, lead times are stretched due to various supply chain bottlenecks.

Historically, construction has been one of those industries where they say the project will be done around X date and you know to stretch that prediction out by an additional few months to a year depending on the project. In 2021, however, this is not an option, especially for residential new builds and community development projects. Right now, home builders and community developers are simply trying to catch up to demand and get more houses on the market while combatting inflated lumber and steel prices.

Because of this, the products that make it into the finished build are the ones that buyers known will arrive on the job site in time to keep the rest of the tight project schedule on track. Right now, builders and general contractors are opting to source materials and products from new manufacturers who can deliver on their timeline if their go-to building materials manufacturers are running behind or do not have enough volume to keep pace with their projects.

How Manufacturers can keep from losing sales due to Timing Issues

The unfortunate reality is that even if you win the heart and mind of an architect and they specify your product during the design phase, the victory is not yours until the product is installed into the physical structure. So often, builders, general contractors, and tradesmen will swap out products and materials during the construction phase to account for budget and timing issues as well as product familiarity and ease of installation.

Since on-time delivery is a builder's number 1 priority in the current construction climate, manufacturers need to take swift action to deliver on the builder's schedule in order to win the sale. Here are a few ways to pivot your production and sales approaches to keep up with the current buyer landscape:

1. Increase Production without Increasing Capacity

Your ERP system should give you an idea of how much manpower you have at your disposal to start running extra shifts, assuming you can source enough raw materials to supply your increased production capacity. Equipped with that information, work with your production supervisors and managers to determine ways to employ current employees more or hire additional temporary workers during the boom. This way your operations output can match the current spike in demand without becoming a financial burden when the market does slow back down.

2. Have Sales Reps Focus on Delivery Date over Product Features

Your product features matter for the problems they solve, but right now those aspects should be secondary. We're hearing straight from the horse's mouth that what builders care most about right now is getting enough product to the job site within the window they can afford in their construction schedule.

Take that information to your sales force and indirect channel partners so they can craft their sales conversations around delivery windows first, product features second. Consider also what messaging may need tweaked in your current channel marketing and inbound marketing plans to accommodate this changing buyer behavior.

If you have partner incentive programs focused around a sales focus that conflicts with this current priority to sell based on delivery window first, then consider how to adjust your rewards program so that everyone wins.

3. Work to Get Pre-Order and up to date order projections from buyers

The construction supply chain involves a large number of stakeholders from raw materials suppliers, to manufacturers, one step and two step distributors, dealers, builders and contractors as well as end consumers. If you have not yet implemented an effective CRM and integrated ERP tools, it will be harder for you to get up to date order projections but not impossible. Utilize the records you have and start calling on your regular buyers to see what projects they have in their pipeline to ensure you are ready to meet their needs when they close their deal.

4. Hire an Agency to Automate Your Sales and Marketing Systems

When orders are increasing and capacity for production and in terms of manpower are already capped, automating recurring sales and marketing tasks will ensure no buyers slip through the cracks or feel like your team is too hard to get a hold of. Learn more about updating your digital sales & marketing tech stack to keep pace with the market changes before it's too late to catch up.