The 4-step tuneup diagnostic that will grow your building material sales


Whether you have more sales than you can handle or are looking to increase orders, every building material company can benefit from taking itself through the four steps of a tuneup diagnostic.

The goal of a tuneup is to find opportunities to improve your product’s preference with architects, designers, and contractors. There are advantages to creating a preference:

  • Designers and architects who have a preference for a product will defend their choice. They will argue its merits to the developer, homeowner, contractor or installer.

  • A preference means that your product is specified in the designer's mind before the project even begins.

  • When a preference has been created, price becomes a secondary consideration. Architects and contractors who believe in your product see its value beyond cost.

  • When a preference is formed for a certain product or material in a designer’s mind, it bleeds over to your other products.


  • Uncover what’s needed to create preference for your product.

  • Discover what’s preventing you from growing sales.

  • Find opportunities to engage your sales force.

Are you ready to grow sales?


Step 1: Know Your Competition

By understanding your competitors, you’ll uncover how to make your product stand out from the pack. Define who you think your competition is—then ask your customers who they think it is. This is usually an eye-opening process. We tend to think of competitors as being someone who offers a similar product, but customers think differently. They are looking for something to solve a problem. For example, if a designer or architect wants to add light to a space, the solution could be recessed lighting, a window or a skylight.

Now that you have defined your competition, take a look at their positioning and messaging. How are they communicating? What are they saying? And, where are they creating conversations? Are they on Instagram? Snapchat? YouTube?

By clearly defining the competition, you can tweak your marketing to become unique or differentiated. Products that are clearly differentiated are stronger in the eyes of the specifier. The competitive readout should show you where you have opportunities to engage with your targets in ways that are meaningful and new while building your product preference.


Step 2: Know Who’s Checking Out Your Product Online

Since marketing and sales are customer-centric, you need to understand who you’re trying to reach and engage. Architects, designers, and contractors are very different customers. Taking the time to write down exactly who your customer is, what they want, what they value, and how they want to be reached, creates a valuable tool that you can use to shape your marketing efforts. Even the best of marketers struggle to do this—it’s surprisingly hard.

Designers, architects, and contractors may not be your only customers. There are many influencers in the product specification journey. Interns, installers, sample librarians and even your own sales force can influence specification choice. Do your marketing efforts include reaching and influencing each of these customers? What do you know about the motivation behind each one?


Step 3: Hear About Your Product in a Designer’s Words

This is a simple but powerful way to learn about how the specifier engages with your marketing materials and product line. Forget surveys; have a neutral third party conduct and interview a designer using a series of thoughtful questions about your product. This interview will uncover any beliefs and emotions specifiers have about your product and help you understand how they shape preference. It’s also a great way to actively “listen” for your messaging strategy.


Step 4: Roadmap (Plan of Action)

Now that you have your diagnostic tuneup in order, you can use it to create a roadmap focused on growing sales and creating preference. A road map should include:

  • Specific strategies and tactics to make your online marketing more compelling

  • Actionable insight and suggestions on how you can gain market share in the competitive landscape

  • Recommendations on positioning your product to attract ideal specifiers

  • Efficient, yet comprehensive, company analysis

Follow these four simple steps to help your business pivot and succeed.


Susan Milne

Want to grow your sales by increasing specifications by architects and designers? Click here to download our guide: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO GETTING SPECIFIED: HOW ARCHITECTS AND INTERIOR DESIGNERS SPECIFY ARCHITECTURAL PRODUCTS AND BUILDING MATERIALS. If you have a question that hasn’t been answered or would like find out more about how Epiphany can help you get specified, give me a call: 804.377.0106.