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Content Marketing, Customer Experience, Marketing

How to Get General Contractors to Switch to Your Products

 May 23, 2022

By  Riley Hosman

Want to become more effective in your messaging and marketing to general contractors? Let’s break down the role of these decision-makers, understand what drives their purchasing decisions and identify their industry pain points. Knowing these business areas will help Building Product Manufacturers connect with this target market.

The Role of the General Contractor

The general contractor’s role is to provide the best build outcome to the customer. They are challenged with finding the right trades, products, and systems to match the project’s specifications. The general contractor bears the responsibility of overseeing the project.They hire or have on-hand subcontractors, who are expected to complete the project well, on time, and within budget.

As building material availability and prices continue to fluctuate, general contractors need to be flexible with these unforeseen obstacles. They should be able to develop an efficient solution and communicate it to all those involved in the project.

So, how can a building product manufacturer support the GC role?

Help solve their problems.

General contractors are constantly bombarded with new product options on the market. This causes some to stick to products they have been using and already know instead of veering to something new. They are loyal to what is convenient. GCs are more likely to use a product they’ve worked with in the past because they’ve earned more business from its performance. 

The task for the building manufacturer is to convince the contractor their product is worth switching to. What’s in it for the contractor and their customer? The manufacturer will need to determine their product’s unique selling proposition and effectively communicate that through marketing and sales materials. 

The best way to get in front of them and influence their purchasing decision is to make the product and the materials convenient and available. Establishing a workflow that demonstrates how it will easily integrate with their project will help.

Here are some ideas:

  • Provide industry insight. Know what is going on in the industry (pain points) and showcase how your product can help. For example, participate in industry conversations by offering your experts as resources to industry trade publications, or contribute how-to guest blogs to popular trade sites. 
  • Offer marketing material they can use. This will be used to help educate the homeowner on your product. For example, develop a homeowner benefits guide that general contractors can easily share with their customers.
  • Capture high-resolution images of the product in use. Using professional photography can elevate the business, so planning for this in your budget is important. These images can be used on social media, the website, brochures, advertising, and as part of your media relations strategy. They will also provide the general contractor the ability to show their customers what the product looks like, especially important for front-of-the-wall products. 
  • Be ready to integrate with their management software. Structure the product specification information in an easy-to-export format. Make sure to create it on a platform (Google Doc, Google Slides, Notion, etc.) that can transfer seamlessly into their system.
  • Make real-time updates and order tracking available. This will help plan out projects and support general contractors when they need to notify clients of any delays. Consider adding cloud-based software that provides real-time data for materials, assets, and inventory. Monitoring this will add security to your product and allow users to respond quickly if supply is low.
  • Offer case studies to demonstrate the application of the product. They can be written or a video format of how there was a problem, the product was the solution, and the end result of using it. 

What Drives Their Purchasing Decisions

How does a building product manufacturer get a general contractor’s business? What are they looking for in a product?

General contractors are always looking for ways to streamline their materials. As we can see, they have a lot on their plate. With new-product technologies constantly emerging, they are becoming more digitally savvy. They depend on the product to provide easy-to-navigate instruction available in understandable formats.  

Manufacturers should expect what questions the general contractors will have about the product. QR codes are becoming more popular on job sites and can be offered as a direct link to answers. Each product will likely have multiple installation guidelines, different troubleshooting materials, videos, maintenance requirements, etc. Manufacturers can help save general contractors valuable time and elevate their user experience by providing multiple solutions quickly. 

As more innovative products emerge, word-of-mouth and industry influencers will likely catch general contractors’ attention. Social media plays a big role in that. If they follow other builders, influencers, or new vendors and see the benefits of a product, they are more likely to try it. 

Since they always look for what is best for the homeowner, general contractors do not have time to research every aspect of a particular product fully. To help with this, manufacturers should always provide quality customer service, availability to help with problem-solving, and have the necessary information for installs and troubleshooting available on their website. Making it easy to introduce the new product to a homeowner or architect will also help in their decision to use the product. 

Industry Challenges They Face

When developing marketing content, it’s important to be forward-thinking about the general contractors’ needs. The two main challenges general contractors are faced with today are lead times and product availability, as global supply chain disruptions have halted product import. Manufacturers can support this by making real-time updates and tracking available for project orders. 

Share Your Knowledge

General contractors are visual people. Utilizing social media to showcase the benefits of your product is essential. When they visit your page, they should see pictures and videos of your product in use, testimonials from customers, and the product’s capabilities. This creates confidence that your company is available and reliable. Trade publications are also a great way to get your product in front of the target audience. 

Once the general contractor becomes a customer, there’s an opportunity to keep the relationship by offering technical support while on the jobsite and after. The manufacturer’s website should be capable of handling their questions or can easily get in touch with someone for help if needed. 

Building product manufacturers can continue to improve their marketing efforts, by talking with their current customers. The more understanding they have of what the market is looking for, the more they will be effective in connecting with them. Start with understanding the role of the general contractor and what motivates their decisions based on job site pain points to better market your building product.

Want to learn more about creating a great marketing strategy? GreenHouse Digital Marketing + PR can help! 

We understand the importance of collaboration between Construction Manufacturers and General Contractors. Our team has the resources and experience to take your company’s marketing strategy to the next level and deliver your desired results.