BUSINESS INSIGHTS: Leading with Service First in Siding

By / 2 years ago


Grow your siding sales by understanding what’s important to building pros.

Siding is one of those building product categories with clear lines of distribution, depending on the type of product carried. While all products are sold through all channels, the lion’s share of volume for any siding product is concentrated in one channel or another:

• Specialty 1-step mainly sells vinyl, aluminum and polymer shake/ shingle.
• Box stores aren’t significant in any category but have appreciable sales of fiber cement and engineered wood.
• Masonry yards have a sizeable share of brick/ stone, manufactured stone and stucco/ EIFS.
• Lumberyards lead the way in sales of fiber cement, engineered wood and wood siding.

Today, the main battleground for pro dealers in siding is not just selling existing products to current customers but where to grow and with what products. Residing and remodeling projects for a large and aging housing stock will remain steady business, but the best opportunity would appear to be new construction given the projected rate of housing starts recovery over the next several years.

So, who’s your customer—the builder, contractor or homeowner? Often, all three are involved, but the building pro still remains the most critical decision maker. In siding, the builder/contractor group influences product and brand selection on three out of every four projects, making this group a high priority target for the pro dealer.

The builder continues to heavily influence the type and brand of siding as part of the design elevations offered to the homeowner, especially on new production homes. The custom homebuilder and remodeling contractor also have strong influence, even with increased homeowner interest and involvement in product and brand selection.

We’ll talk about homeowners another time as product manufacturers are spending more time and money to pull demand through the homeowner, especially for higher end, specialty products like fiber cement, polymer shake and shingle, cellular vinyl and new entries such as polyester lap siding.

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Lou Rossi

Lou Rossi is managing partner at Principia, a marketing strategy consulting firm that serves the broad building products and construction markets, as well as other materials-related industries. Lou brings over 25 years of consulting experience to Principia where he leads the strategic direction and growth of the company.