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By: Admin

Are You Just Another Carport Company? Here Is Your Test

One more Carport Company or “Oh Yeah you too do metal buildings”. These aren’t the labels you want a customer to be attaching to your brand. The reality though is that most of the carport companies find themselves in this tough spot.

This is a perception problem. Marketing tells us that marketing itself is nothing but a battle of perceptions that are fought in the minds of the customers. Most carport companies fall into this perception trap because they all want more leads, more business (nothing wrong with it) and they hardly create a differentiator for their business.

And I totally understand where you are coming from. This is where I was in the early stages of my career. If you’re trying to be everything for everyone wanting buildings, it sounds lucrative. And trust me I know there are companies that have built fortunes with that strategy (or lack of it).

Those of you who know me know I love traveling and I figured out very early I can go talk to people and tell them how to grow (and manage) their business by building a strong differentiation.

Thankfully, I merged travel with business to create a sustainable advantage for myself and my company. Now after 7+ years of helping carport, sheds, and pole barn companies (as a marketing/product development consultant), I can share four of the most common patterns I’ve observed which lead to my not-so-subtle Just Another Carport Business moniker.

Operations/Production Driven Ownership Mindset

The pattern is owning nice phone lines, iMacs, and equipment and looking for excellent sales people in carports but hardly having any branding. I’ve lost count of how many companies do sales talks on Instagram and Facebook but do not have a great website to back it up. Fancy phone systems which hardly get enough calls to grow their business. Operations is just one part of running a business, not the whole business by itself. Growth management for Carport companies can be done with great tools like Sensei 3D and Sensei CRM.

The most successful outdoor buildings companies I know excel on more fronts other than production, be that financial management and pricing, branding & marketing, or sales.

Overtly Diversified

Buildings and concrete and permits and underground cables and sheds and deliveries. Whoof!! You would not say a no. Isn’t it hard to say no to money, it is, right?

The most successful companies (i.e.- profitable) offer less, not more.

Growth and Leads Take The Front Seat on your Thought Train

You think in terms of revenue and not profitability. Having drinks with a table full of professional “buddies” takes me back to the early days of my career where the real thing was just sizing each other up, if you know what I mean.

Only today all professional buddies compare the number of employees or the roll formers and forklifts and office size. Revenue is just an indicator. It is a part of the story, not the whole story.

Undifferentiated from the Competition

Customer service and dedication and support hours. These are listed as the differentiators on your site and almost all of your competition’s. You’re all too much alike. Trust me, I’ve talked to hundreds of carport companies. You have virtually identical business models, which includes how you market, price, and sell your services.

You target the exact same customers.

If you’re marketing and messaging is same as your competition, then it is the same hyperbole everyone is using. Just look at your website and your competitors if you don’t think this is true. Benchmarking, copying what you like on someone else’s website, or even production efficiency will never get you to the top, just to the middle (at the most).

If there is anything to be learnt from Walmarts and Dollar Generals of the world, it is cost based leadership. From Apple and Harvey Nichols, you learn selling on reputation. Most of the companies in carports and outdoor buildings are unable to find the differentiator and lie bang in the middle of the Differentiation Spectrum Arrow shown below.

Every industry in the country has this Differentiation Spectrum. If you are just another carport company, you’re living in the middle with all the other companies lacking a unique and compelling identity.

Look, you got nothing to anchor your business ship to. That is scary if the weather gets rough, and trust me, it does. When the economy is great the middle of the spectrum arrow gets fatter with more building companies finding their place in it. What will happen to this fattening with another downturn in the economy? Guess who will get squeezed? Hint: It won’t be the companies on the either sides of the differentiation spectrum.

Sensei can help.

Let’s work together to break from these patterns and create a brand positioning strategy for your outdoor buildings company that will allow you to truly stand out in your market.

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