Rick Wedding doesn't want to be known just for his day job as an inside sales representative at Cincinnati's McCabe Lumber. Instead, he has branded himself as The Building Supply Guy.
Go to www.buildingsupplyguy.com and you'll find Wedding's vehicle to help contractors and homeowners pick the right construction materials for their projects. He tries to drive most sales back to his employer, but if McCabe doesn't sell the right product, he'll suggest the customer buy from someone who does.
"Do you need help?" he asks on his site. "Trying to avoid a big mistake when buying a home improvement product or picking a contractor? If so, you're at the right place. Unlike other websites, I am going to answer your questions."
Wedding bases his answers on 25 years' experience in the construction supply business and extensive reading of blogs, product brochures, and similar materials. In a sense, he's no different than thousands of other expert sales reps at LBM operations nationwide. What's different is that he uses the Internet and social media to promote that expertise.
"I go in [to work], I do my job, I do it well, and then when I go home I'm the Building Supply Guy," he says. "When you are online, it seems to give you more credibility."
Wedding says he got the idea to brand himself about six years ago while he was working at the Holland, Mich., branch of Standard Lumber. At the time, he was reading a lot of materials by sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer about the importance of branding oneself.
Wedding took that advice to heart. Aside from launching the website, he wrote a few articles for a local newspaper in Michigan. Eventually he moved to McCabe but took the Building Supply Guy brand with him. Technically, it's an unpaid job, but he considers the name to be a part of his work as an inside sales rep at McCabe, and he argues that his Building Supply Guy status will repay McCabe ten-fold in references and recommendations.
"It's not so much a business, as it is an identity," says Wedding. "At least that's the way I use it."