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Growing Upscale: Associated Building Supply, Inc. builds on California luxury

ABSi has a total of 30 employees, including 18 outside sales consultants and seven inside sales coordinators. “We’re a lean, mean, selling machine,” Thurber said. “The majority of our resources are spent on sales development. We are hunters, not gatherers, and our sales consultants have exceptional ‘hunting’ skills and they enjoy the chase. They are very good at conversion of prospect to customer.”

Serving the Triad

Tim Bradshaw and Connie Hall | ABSi’s Pacific Grove, CA location.
Tim Bradshaw and Connie Hall | ABSi’s Pacific Grove, CA location

With 97% of the company’s business going to contractors, the company’s primary customers all fall under what Thurber describes as the “ABSi Triad.” That is the builder, the architect, and the homeowner.

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Thurber said the Triad is always top of mind for anyone at ABSi. “We work diligently at selling and developing relationships with these three decision influencers,” he said. “Each is as important as the other, handled differently in terms of selling points, wants, needs, and desires.”

While higher-end products for higher-end homes have always been the company’s focus, Thurber said that product selection has never been mandated as so with the sales staff. “We’ve always been a wood clad seller,” he said, “so our non-commoditized custom offerings have always been a higher percentage of our sales.”

Thurber said ABSi sales staff, guided by the company’s product portfolio, have become specialists in the luxury home market. This has helped distinguish ABSi from its competitors in the market.

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Associated Building Supply-2ABSi is similar in many respects to some of its Big Box competitors. Differentiated by a narrow focus on one component of the building envelope. As such, specialization driven by the complexities of this focus drives customer demand. While the same wood clad brand offering is available in the Big Box, the product offering within the brand is different. That coupled with ABSi’s nature to upsell and add ancillary products that complement the total package differentiates the company from the Big Box model.

Fairness Doctrine
Whether an employee or a customer, you can’t get too far into ABSi without hearing about the company’s Fairness Doctrine. The doctrine, Thurber said, is “like a tangible product. It’s sold from the opening bell of the sales process. During the qualifying process we ask probing questions designed to solicit confirmation that fairness is important to us and we confirm that it’s also a core value of our customer.”

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