Checklist of What LBM Dealers Will Need To Do To Get Ready For Gen Y Contractors
Back in February I did a presentation at the NRLA LBM Expo titled "Will Your LBM Business Be Ready For The Next Generation of Contractors”. At that seminar I shared my thoughts about what LBM dealers and distributors need to consider about Generation Y members who will soon take over as the next generation of contractors. I estimate that Gen Y will become the majority of construction business owners within the next ten years. Although a handful of attendees already had Generation Y contractors on their radar screens, the rest of the attendees admitted they had no idea regarding the significant changes their businesses (or their employers' businesses) would need to make to be ready to sell to and service this new type of contractor.
If like many of the attendees at that event this topic is new to you, check out this blog post titled “Will LBM Dealers Be Ready For The Next Generation of Contractors” for a little more insight before reading the checklist offered below.
Checklist: What to do to get your LBM Business ready for Gen Y Contractors
Here are a few pointers for LBM dealers who want to get ahead of the curve and be ready for Generation Y before they are already the majority of construction business owners.
- Learn who Generation Y is, what’s different about them and why they are different.
- Keep in mind that some Generation Y contractors will be tech savvy, but, more important, most will be tech dependent.
- Recognize that in addition to being your next contractor customer, they will soon make up the majority of your retail customers and your work force as well.
- Learn how, and the many reasons why, they will be using technology inside their businesses and will be expecting you to use it as well.
- Commit to what your LBM business will need to do to get ready for this new generation of customers and paying for the changes.
- Be realistic about the condition and effectiveness of your current marketing methods, sales methods and service offerings.
- Recognize now that your sales methods and maybe even your sales staff will need to be replaced and the related changes will take years to put in place and master.
- Learn how to interact and communicate with Generation Y in ways they will respond to; using both technology and social media.
- Figure out what you need to do, physically and emotionally, so contractors can shop, price and buy from you via your web site.
Keep in mind this is only a partial list.
LBM Dealers and the distributors that supply Gen Y will need to make many changes to their business models and tactics. In order to successfully complete and support those changes they will need to upgrade both their staff and their technology. Here are a few quotes from Gen Y contractors that should help motivate both to get going before it’s already too late:
“A lot of the suppliers are represented by older men and most of those people are just not tech-savvy”
“For about three-quarters of our suppliers, we’re using them because of their customer service and account management. If they’re not into electronic communication, it’s probably not going to work out very well”
“For us technology isn’t a nice thing to have, it’s a necessity.”