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October 29, 2022

Holding Up the Middle: How to Combat Collapse and Stand Apart from the Competition

Each month at Builder Town Hall, we are fortunate to be joined by distinguished professionals from across the industry to learn more about how we can forge a path to greatness. This past month, we were joined by the President and Founder of SageBerry Consulting, Steve Dennis to talk about some of the principles discussed in his book, Remarkable Retail

Steve’s 30-year career as a senior executive at two Fortune 500 retailers has given him an interesting perspective on the importance of storytelling, branding, and customer experience. Steve’s insight is absolutely invaluable in the quest for customer growth and overall success.

The Collapse of the Middle 

No matter the industry, a spectrum consisting of quality, price value, convenience, and efficiency exists. Products on one end of the spectrum often boast fast, affordable, lower-value options. The other end of the spectrum includes luxury, upscale, and premium experiences. 

Both ends of the spectrum provide for a specific demographic and therefore continue to persist despite any sort of market disruption. No matter the state of the world, people will still seek out convenient, low-price, or premium, expensive items. However, despite the success of products on either end of the spectrum, a middle ground continues to exist. 

And it’s collapsing. 

Companies that exist in the middle of this spectrum are neither the best value nor the best quality. And with the introduction of the digital market approximately 20 years ago, these companies have taken a serious hit. With the accessibility of the internet, consumers can get their products anytime, anywhere. Since these companies don’t have anything to differentiate themselves from the competition, they are finding it much harder to stay afloat. 

What Can Be Done? 

While the weight of potential collapse can feel too heavy to lift, there is an abundance of tools and tactics that make it possible to carry yourself toward success. 

Don’t Cut What Where You Aren’t Bleeding

In times of market distress, it’s easy to look to sales and marketing as the first place to pull funds. Though these departments can appear to be inessential, in reality, they are the roots that will keep you grounded in the wildest of storms. 

When you cut sales and marketing, you make it much more challenging to tell your story to potential customers. At the end of the day, marketing is all about storytelling, and people will always buy a story before they buy a product. 

Strengthening your sales and marketing tactics can help you create a story that your customers will want to share with others. 

Find What Sets You Apart

The lack of ability to differentiate can be a heavy weight on any company’s shoulders. How is the consumer supposed to know what sets you and your brand apart, when you don’t even know? 

Take the time to really understand what is unique about your company. Utilize voices from within your organization to gather insight into what is integral to your success. Emphasize what works and cut back on what doesn’t. 

Understanding your brand allows you to get a leg up on the competition and combat the collapse of the middle. 

Put People First

Companies that fall along the middle of the spectrum often make the mistake of operating on a customer-centric business model. While, at face value, this can seem like the best model, it narrows your sight on what goes into the growth of an organization. 

A customer-centric mindset disregards the fact that a successful sale is so much broader than the interaction with the customer. This sale also requires input and expertise from sales associates, suppliers, and communities. It also involves your image as a corporate citizen. Yes, it’s important to focus on the customer, but you must also consider all the other human beings that contribute to the final outcome. 

Switching from a customer-centric mindset to a human-centric mindset allows you to create empathetic connections that are both sustainable and mutually beneficial. This mindset is what will set you apart from the rest of the middle and allow you to stay afloat. 

Combat Collapse

It’s easy to forget that at the end of the day, the homebuilding industry isn’t about homes; it’s about people. And all throughout history, people have relied on storytelling not only for entertainment but survival. 

The creation of a strong story about your own brand, and the utilization of that story to celebrate your connections with other individuals will ultimately help you lift the middle and combat its collapse. 

We look forward to seeing you at our next Builder Town Hall!  Mark your calendar and register today for our session on November 4. In the meantime, be sure to join our Builder Town Hall Facebook Group and keep the conversation going! 

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