Tuesday, December 7, 2010

WHY FACTORIES LOSE BUILDERS

I often think of the vast amount of time, effort and money that goes into finding a new authorized modular home builder.  Factory management and the sales reps try all sorts of ways to acquire builders, spending many months try to attract them and them months drawing plans and doing quotes and hopefully, selling them their first home.  But isn't it ironic that what has taken so many months to achieve can disappear in a matter of moments.

Here are a few ways that factories lose builders:

Broken Promises.  Builders get upset when a factory makes promises that aren't fulfilled.  This is referred to as "over-promising and under-delivering."  Many sales reps and factory management have made promises to builders that they knew couldn't be met just to get the builder to place an order.  Then when the rubber meets the road, the factory tries to back peddle and the blame game starts.  Result: lost builder.


Complaint Shuffle.  As consumers, we've all had the experience of calling a company regarding a complaint and then find ourselves being shuffled from one person to another until we just get so frustrated that we give up.  This same "Complaint Shuffling" happens in modular factories as well.  It starts when a builder has a problem and it disappears inside the ivory tower of factory management.  No department wants to take ownership of the problem and it keeps getting passed from one person to another until so much time has passed that the builder hopefully gives up.  Result: lost builder.

Poor Service Quality.  I have seen some improvement when it comes to service issues but it still is a hassle for a lot of builder service issues to get resolved in a timely manner.  The reason for this is two fold.  First, most factories won't take the builder's word for the service call and insist that a factory rep take a look at the problem.  This isn't for the little things that always seem to happen like loose fitting water connections or mislabeled items.  This is for more major issues like mold, wrong door locations and wrong or missing materials.  Secondly, factories have for years viewed service as a necessary evil and one that they would like to cut back during these slow times.  When the cycle from initial service request to final resolution takes too long in the builder's mind, bad things start to happen.  Result: lost builder.

Lack of Follow-Up.  It doesn't matter if the sales rep didn't get back with the builder or the engineering dept dragged their feet or it took too long to get pricing on special order products, the builder has a built-in time clock that activates when he thinks the factory doesn't respect his business.  Wait to long to respond to his requests and the builder will start looking for someone that will respect him.  Result: lost builder.

Builder Apathy.  Taking any builder for granted is a dangerous thing.  If you want to keep a builder buying from your factory, there has to be more interaction than just through the sales rep.  Newsletters, emails from various members of management, contests, rewards and recognition are just a few ways to let the builder know that he is important to the success of the factory.  If you treat a builder like you would the guy that picks up your trash every week, well you know what will happen:  lost builder.

Non-Competitive Practices.  Your prices might be higher than anyone else in the industry but if you can't show your builder AND their customer why, you've got a problem.  If the terms for working with your factory are stricter than any other factory and you can't show why, you've got a problem.  If your building materials are different from factories and you can't explain why they are, you've got a problem.  Result: lost builder.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Coach,

I have factories promise a quote and never call back- Champion, I have had a rep tell me she is never in my area for a visit - Maria Excel, I have had a plant never follow up on a quote - Probuilt. I have had a plant tell me they are always the cheepest - Muncy. I have had a plant tell me there paint is a nice white - Icon. A truthful saying in the industry is that there are thousands of parts in a home and something will be done wrong. The main issue is how and when it is corrected. No one is perfect. People want to feel their business important no matter how large or small.

Great posts lately. Like the new look. Keep up the great work.

Anonymous said...

The question is whether there is a problem RATHER WHAT YOU DO ABOUT IT. Unfortunately too many plants simply turn off the volume or go deaf. And those plants, like the ones named by Annymous SHOULD GO OUT OF BUSINESS.

Anonymous said...

Modular home companys seem to think they are exempt from fixing a lot of problems their people created. They say they build 80% of the house in the factory, doesn't it make sense that they should be responsible for 80% of the repairs?