How to Work with Remodelers

October 25th, 2011 by DWM Magazine

Want to work with remodelers but don’t know how to get started? Think price is among the top items remodelers consider? Think again. Paul Winans, Remodelers Advantage, talked about how to work with remodelers and what is most important to them, during his seminar held yesterday during the Association of Millwork Distributors Annual Convention taking place this week in Nashville.

Winans noted that many remodelers starting out (and even some who have been in the business for years) have no industry knowledge.

“You need to figure out how to educate this group,” he said. “A remodeler does not want to be the product knowledge expert. They want you to help them navigate this process.”

He also pointed out that many of these companies have no business training and suppliers can help them with this as well.

“Sponsor sales training for remodeling companies,” said Winans. “Most of them are in the toilet because they don’t know how to sell.”

Your goal: Become that company’s preferred provider. Winans warned to not just get to know the owner but others in the company as well. “If they don’t know you, they will go elsewhere.”

Winans said suppliers can also help whittle down the options for remodelers.

“There are 20 million choices for remodelers today when there used to be three,” he said. “There are many choices, and how to help remodelers narrow them down is an opportunity for you.”

Winans detailed the most important criteria for remodelers when it comes to product selection, according to a survey conducted by SPECSpan.

1. Delivery is correct, defect-free and undamaged;

2. Supplier response to mistakes/defects; and

3. Solid dependable warranty.

The way suppliers react to number two is key.

“What you do when there is a problem will determine whether or not you get repeat business,” said Winans.

The least important criteria, according to the same survey, include:

1. Co-op advertising available;

2. Price: biggest rebate; and

3. Exclusivity of product within market area.

Many may be surprised that price is considered least important but Winans is not.

“When you build a relationship with a remodeler price is even less important,” he said. “Time is where remodelers make money. If it means paying a little more for a positive delivery experience they will pay for it.”

So how do suppliers build relationships with remodelers?

Winans tells them to get involved in local remodeling associations, or sponsor a meeting at their showroom. Identify three to five remodelers who you would like to know better.

“Ask the remodeler questions about him–not the business,” he said. “The right ones will ask you about your business.”

At a time when it is easy to get discouraged Winans presented many signs of encouragement for those in attendance.

“When the market takes off again you will have so much business it will be incredible,” said Winans. “You won’t have to lower your prices and I strongly recommend you don’t do that. If you do what you say you will get a ton of business.

“You can’t write remodelers off,” he added. “They are coming back. If you stick with them they will never forget you.”



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  1. Wondering if it might be possible to use a portion of the DWM Remodeling Show video on our website (odl.com)?
    The first interview is with Scot Harder from ODL, and we’d like to use his footage on our site, promoting our products at the being at the show.
    Could you please respond at your earliest convenience, and let me know if this would be acceptable?
    (mkowalczyk@odl.com)

    Thank you,
    Michael Kowalczyk
    ODL

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