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How Manufacturers Can Be Better Partners For Contractors

Discover how building materials manufacturers can become better partners with contractors by understanding their financial needs. Learn how to connect with and support contractors in their financial and business growth, to build trust, improve product adoption and ultimately increase sales.

March 11th, 2024



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Episode Rundown

03:49 - Contractors are streamlining marketing strategies

08:54 - How manufacturers can help accidental business owners

09:48 - Two manufacturers that are exceptional contractor partners

10:55 - The importance of emphasizing cost savings in product offerings

12:13 - Why building rapport with pros is essential as a manufacturer

Meet Timothy Wingate, Jr.

Timothy Wingate, Jr. is a seasoned professional with a strong background in the construction industry, stemming from his father's involvement since 1985. With an in-depth understanding of the financial and operational challenges faced by construction companies, Timothy founded G+F Business & Financial Consulting LLC to provide strategic back-office support and expert financial advice to contractors and construction business owners.

His passion lies in helping construction businesses streamline operations, maximize profitability and achieve sustainable growth.

The Current State of The Construction Industry

Timothy starts the conversation by discussing how the building industry has taken off, especially since COVID when people realized construction is considered an essential industry. However, with a booming industry comes a need to stay relevant, and businesses must find ways to separate themselves from competitors to stay profitable.

To do this, Timothy has seen businesses select specific niches in construction to narrow down their focus and streamline their marketing.

When you're able to streamline the marketing from that standpoint, what it does is it saves you money because you're not wasting money marketing dollars in other areas.” - Timothy Wingate, Jr.

Timothy also mentions that pros in the construction industry are having to think outside of the box and past their old ways of marketing and sales. Incorporating new technology, attending conferences and trying new products are ways builders can adjust to today’s industry. From a manufacturing standpoint, manufacturers can better reach builders by offering products that save them time and money or help them better meet their customers’ needs.

Understanding the Mindset of Contractors

When contractors reach out to Timothy for financial advice, he says that some come just to level up while others are coming to him in desperation. Beth brings up the idea that many contractors are accidental business owners — they start on a crew and then decide to go off on their own and start a company. While they may have the technical skills to complete jobs, they may not have the business skills to succeed financially.

Timothy points out the two different mindsets: hustle versus building a company. A hustler is someone who is putting in the time on projects but not necessarily putting time into their employees. A person building a company is looking to hire employees, teaching them how to do certain jobs so they can eventually hand off tasks. However, both types of mindsets can get someone to $1 million or more by accident.

If you don't have someone helping you to navigate the finances and understand how profit works from project to project and how all that ties back to the company's profitability, then you just don't know how you got there.” - Timothy Wingate, Jr.

Manufacturers could take a different approach when talking to contractors about their product’s benefits — offer to sit down with the contractor's financial advisor to discuss how your product could save them time and money to increase profitability.

This way, it takes the pressure off the contractor and you can explain the benefits of your product to someone who may have a better understanding of the cost-saving advantages. This not only can help contractors, but it can also help manufacturers win more business.

Fostering Stronger Partnerships

When asked about manufacturers who have gone the extra mile to be a good partner to contractors, Timothy names a couple that stand out to him.

Timothy says that ROCKWOOL will come to a conference and demo their products, showing contractors how they work and how their solutions can save pros time and money.

He also mentions that Schluter takes the time to really show contractors how their products work, how they increase efficiency and will offer books, samples and even free products to bring value to contractors.

Those companies are taking the slow approach, but it actually brings them in — it builds trust, and it shows the contractor that they care about the company.” - Timothy Wingate, Jr.

Beth also mentions that manufacturers need to talk about their products’ benefits with the right perspective and context. If your product increases efficiency, having those quantifiers in time values — or better yet, dollar amounts — can make a contractor's head turn and could be the reason they chose your product over a competitor’s.

Actionable Advice For Manufacturers

Timothy’s piece of advice for manufacturers trying to be better partners for contractors is to build rapport.

Manufacturers should consider offering contractors opportunities to engage with each other and share their experiences with using the products. This fosters a community-driven approach, where contractors are not convinced by the manufacturer but by their peers in the industry.

It's the beauty of other contractors saying, ‘Yeah, I'm going to use this product,’ or ‘Yes, I use this product, and this is how it saves me time.’ As a manufacturer, you're not really convincing them — it's really the other contractors in the room convincing them.” - Timothy Wingate, Jr.

Get in Touch with Timothy

If you have any questions for Timothy, book some time with him on his website, or send him a message on LinkedIn.

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