5 sales tips for distributors in the building materials industry

5 sales tips for distributors in the building materials industry

The worldwide building materials sector is buoyant at the moment.  According to StrategyR the global construction materials market is expected to grow to $US1.1 trillion by 2020.  The biggest growth area is expected to be AsiaPac, closely followed by the US. This should be music to the ears of those in the building materials industry as the demand for construction materials will ripple through to increased demand for industrial, plumbing, HVAC, electrical and other building supplies. But that’s not to say that sales people within those distributors in the building materials industry should rest on their laurels. When things are buoyant it is easy to become complacent:

  • expecting rather than striving for customer loyalty
  • expecting pricing to be less of an issue because demand is high
  • losing focus on customer service because everyone is busy.

Yet the converse of this is in the mind of your customers.  They know that everything is looking up. They have demands from their customers, and they in turn want to capitalise on this growth period and get the best price and the best service to ensure maximum profitability for themselves. Is it just price and service? No. The adage that people buy from people is as true today as it’s always been. So how, as a sales person in the building materials industry, do you excel at what you do? Well, according to Mark Mitchell and Carlos Quintero in their book “How to Become a Building Industry Sales RAINMAKER!”  there are several essentials we can draw out, and here are some that we feel are key:

  1. Be the product expert - Have your sales team talk to manufacturers about what makes their products unique.
  2. Be efficient - sell in a well-organized and competent way.
  3. Make doing business easy
  4. Find a way to make plans and goals years in advance
  5. Be a change-agent for your customer

I love that last point — be a “change-agent” for your customer.  I encourage my team to do just that.  We implement rebate management systems into building materials distributors.  And we aim to be change agents for our customers (you — the building materials distributor).

In fact, we’ve helped many of the larger building and construction distributors like AD, Travis Perkins, Wolseley and others to change a small but strategic part of their operations — rebate management.  We’ve helped them to get a grip on managing rebates to the extent that they not only claim what they are owed, but can really work rebate deals in a way that helps them buy and sell smarter in order to grow their business.

So what impact can we have on your sales team?

As Mark and Carlos will tell you — good solid sales training will definitely help.  But a well-trained sales team is only as good as the information that they have to work with. Our rebate management software captures all information about supplier contracts, matches live transactions to each deal and provides strict controls over the way that any discounts are made available for sales and branch managers to use in their negotiations.

Andrew Butt

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