BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020 - 16

decline. A good relationship with
a rep can smooth over problems
and even help you anticipate
potential issues. The rep can keep
the customer while the company
is at risk of losing them. I know
customers who stay with a supplier
only because of the rep.
3.	 In a time when there is less job
security and loyalty to employees,
reps who have strong customer
relationships have a more secure
future. If they need to find a new
job, the reps with the strongest
customer relationships have the
easiest time finding a new position.
It's not that they own or control
an account; it's that the customers
recognize their skills as a rep
selling to their type of business.

HOW BUILDING MATERIALS
COMPANIES DROP THE
RELATIONSHIP BALL
Here's an email I got from a builder:
"I wanted to share with you
something that has happened to us
from several manufacturers over the
past year. There is a lot of personnel
movement in the builder channel sales
force. They are moving from company
to company but many times the
builder customers are not notified of
the change.
Sometimes the company sends out
a notice to their customers about the
change but they forget that not all of
their 'customers' purchase product
directly from them. The notice goes to
their dealer or distributor network but
not the builders.
There are times that I will shoot
an email out to the rep but do not
get a return email or the email is
bounced back. If it bounces back at
least I know that they are no longer
there and I have to contact someone
else. If there is not a bounce back the
company has either left their email
open or redirected them but they
do not have a process to respond
so I will go weeks without hearing
from them.
This is a great way to lose trust
and show a customer that you are
not important. It is such an easy
thing to do but so many companies

16

NEWS MAGAZINE | BSIA NEWS | FALL 2020

do not execute a strategy to handle
the change. It is very frustrating to
have to spend time to figure out
how to continue to get service from
their company.
This lack of communication also
happens with companies that I have
rebate programs with. Things will
be going on smoothly then they
miss paying one or two rebates. This
is when I find out that the person
processing rebates is no longer with
the company. I then need to track
down the new person and push to
receive what they agreed to pay us for
our loyalty and product specification.
What a waste of my time.
I had a great experience in a
recent change over of a Regional
Builder Account Manager for a
faucet manufacturer. I have a good
relationship with the one that is
leaving to a new company. He called
me to let me know that he was leaving
and where he was going.
The new company is not a
competitor so it was not to steal my
business. He wanted to let me know
who the new account manager was
and where he was going so that
maybe we could work together in
the future. Several days later the new
account manager emailed me to set
up a face to face get to know you
meeting. We were able to meet at IBS
and created a seamless transition.
This is how it should work."
If you don't have a process in
place for notifying customers when
someone leaves, you should create
one. Don't make it even more costly
when someone leaves or is replaced
by throwing away the good will you
have with your customers.
When you start a partnership, a
good advisor will tell you to include a
plan for ending that partnership.
In addition to your internal HR
process for departing employees,
you need an external plan to
communicate with your customers.

ARE YOU MOVING IN THE
RIGHT DIRECTION WITH YOUR
CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS?
Building materials companies
are at a tipping point as they

learn to balance the three types
of relationships:
1.	 One-on-one personal relationships
with sales reps, customer service,
technical advisors, company
leaders and others, in person, by
phone or by email. This traditional
approach to relationships will
continue to have a higher and
higher cost so it is important to do
this right.
2.	 Person-to-person relationships
where the customer interacts with
someone from your company
but they do not know each other
(example: making an airline
reservation over the phone). For
better or worse, the customer still
sees this as a relationship between
them and your company. This
is where most companies drop
the ball as employees from other
departments do not understand
how important they are to
the relationship.
3.	 Person-to-computer relationships
(example: ordering from Amazon).
More and more customers want
to have good relationships with
building materials companies in
this way. They like knowing that
there is a flesh-and-blood person
available to help them if they need
assistance, but overall prefer the
efficiency that comes with a great
online relationship.
This is the new frontier for
building materials companies:
learning how to make their website a
relationship builder.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT
*	 How would you rate your
relationships with your customers?
*	 How would you rate your
competitor's relationships with
their customers?
*	 How could you improve your
customer relationships? 
Mark Mitchell is a Sales
and Marketing Consultant
to the building materials
industry and author
of Building Materials
Channel Marketing.
You can learn more and sign up for his
newsletter at www.seethewhizard.com.


http://www.seethewhizard.com

BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020

Chair’s Message
Board of Directors
BSIA News and Events
In Memoriam
Calendar of Events
Orion Award Winner Stories
Power to the People
Three Tips for Effective Virtual Networking During Covid-19
Changing Relationships in Building Materials
President’s Message: Last Word
BSIA Affinity Partner Program
Index to Advertisers
BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020 - Intro
BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020 - bellyband1
BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020 - bellyband2
BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020 - cover1
BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020 - cover2
BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020 - 3
BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020 - Chair’s Message
BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020 - Board of Directors
BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020 - BSIA News and Events
BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020 - 7
BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020 - In Memoriam
BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020 - Calendar of Events
BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020 - Orion Award Winner Stories
BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020 - 11
BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020 - Power to the People
BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020 - Three Tips for Effective Virtual Networking During Covid-19
BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020 - Changing Relationships in Building Materials
BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020 - 15
BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020 - 16
BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020 - President’s Message: Last Word
BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020 - Index to Advertisers
BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020 - cover3
BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020 - cover4
BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020 - outsert1
BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020 - outsert2
BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020 - outsert3
BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Fall 2020 - outsert4
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