Guest Post by Mark Mitchell of Whizard Strategy
To be an effective building material marketer, you need to be multi-lingual. I don’t mean you have to go out and buy a Rosetta Stone course to learn Mandarin. What I mean is you have to be able to speak the language of your customers.
The native language most building material marketers speak is “Corporateez”. This language is full of words like Core Competency, Synergy, Empower, Alignment, Paradigm and more. Not only is this language meaningless to your customers, it is insulting. People who speak in this language are talking down to their customers with their noses stuck up in the air.
Building material customers speak in plain, easy to understand languages like:
- “How much does it cost?”
- “How do you install it?”
- “Who else has used it?”
- “Where do I buy it?”
- “Why should I change from what I use today?”
Your customers aren’t interested in being empowered to expand their core competency by breaking paradigms through alignment with new partners for a win-win solution. They’re interested in learning why they should use your product.
There are several dialects of the language used by building material customers. These dialects are based on their primary motivations. If you understand the primary motivation of each customer, it is much more likely that you will be understood.
Here are the different residential and commercial building material audiences you may encounter and the primary motivation that controls their dialect:
- Building Owner – The Performance of your product or system.
- Architect – Their reputation as it relates to the aesthetic or function of the structures they design. And maybe more importantly, how a problem in one of their designs can negatively affect their reputation.
- General Contractor – Is primarily motivated by the time value of money. You should speak to them in this language as it relates to your building products.
- Contractors – Are focused on labor costs, which is where they make or lose their profit margin. Because of this, they are resistant to any change that might threaten their profit margin during the transition.
- Distributors – Profit margin is the language they use. They don’t create demand or grow sales. They warehouse and deliver, so profit margin is what they speak.
- Homebuyers – Lifestyle is the most important word in the language of the new homebuyer. You hear words like “location” and “resale,” but the main word is “lifestyle.”
- Homeowners – Durability is the big word in the language of home improvement and repair. Even when homeowners talk about aesthetics, they don’t want something that will go out of style quickly. If they are replacing a roof, the most important thing to them is that they won’t have to do it again.
Being able to speak multi-lingually in building materials will make your sales and marketing efforts much more effective. And since many of your competitors only speak Corporateez, you can have a distinct advantage over them.
The best way to learn a language is to visit that country. So, get out of your office and take a trip. Spend time with your customers; learn their customs and their language.