Lesson 3 : Provide a benefit the customer can’t find anywhere else

In the early days of Kenroc, Ken Sexton needed to attract new customers without starting a price war. Established contractors were hesitant and it cost them little to stay loyal to their current suppliers.

So, Sexton visited new building sites in Regina where some were building their own homes and numerous small-scale builders were building on spec. It was the way it was done in the late 1960s.

To win their business, Sexton pitched that he would deliver drywall at a good price, but also haul the waste after they finished installing. Kenroc’s competitors weren’t interested in the cleanup. It gave Kenroc an edge, keeping its trucks busy and its product moving.

“Primarily I’m a businessman, and what businessmen do is they find a need and fill it,” Sexton says. “This is why I started Kenroc: I saw the need.”

Kenroc always looked to offer service competitors couldn’t match, such as superior delivery. Kenroc uses its own drivers and delivery specialists who understand the needs of contractors and learn from each customer. Today, Kenroc uses the best available delivery trucks equipped with forklifts and cranes.

“Everyone (in our industry) sells the same products,” said Bruce Bryan, the first general manager at the Saskatoon branch.

“You need to separate yourself from your competitors by providing better service and better employees because the product is the same.”

Ralph Wilcott of Eltex Enterprises needed deliveries done better. He was losing patience with the company he was working with during the late 1990s.

“They weren’t performing and getting the job done. But there was a guy from Kenroc, Rod Kobzey, who kept bringing donuts and his business card to the office,” said Wilcott, who was working in Vancouver at the time.

After he was let down once again by the other company, he decided a change was necessary.

So, I said, “Call that guy from Kenroc.” That was in 1998. We’ve been with Kenroc ever since.

The reason is simple.

“They did it the way it needed to be done. They’ve given us excellent service all the years we’ve been with them.”

“I’ve had the competition come by several times and I’ve told them we’re happy with Kenroc,” said Wilcott, who has since moved his business to Calgary, building 10 towers in 2012 using Kenroc as a supplier.