If you grow your network of contractors, you stand to win in manufacturing. The question is, how do you achieve this with consistency?
According to Deloitte, in light of the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, manufacturers have an opportunity to build stronger supply chains. To do this — while protecting your market share and bottom line — it’s smart to use both offline and online means to sell your products to more contractors.
By doing this, your brand will be better prepared to weather the storm. You’ll ensure the revenue is there to keep the fundamentals of your business going strong, while laying the groundwork to gain more brand presence in more places over time.
Start an Installation Training Program
One of the best ways to bring more contractors into your corner: train them!
Top professionals want to be great at installations, repairs, and other services. It’s what earns them high marks from customers and builds their businesses. Manufacturers who provide full instructional support to contractors will gain their attention and earn their respect.
Offering an installation training program is also a good way to establish goodwill within the contractor talent pool. By doing so, you’re showing that you want to form solid partnerships with local pros, above and beyond simply trying to grow your brand.
The best manufacturer training programs have an in-person element, where contractors can physically interact with your product and get immediate feedback. However, you can create a high-quality program that uses video and remote learning as well.
Whatever form works for you, follow these steps to implement an attractive contractor training program:
Do Some Competitive Research
See what other manufacturer training programs look like, so you can come in and fill the gaps. This could involve talking to contractors you already work with to learn what their pain points are, and to get their insights on what kinds of training will make them more successful and confident in their work.
If you’re offering training programs in certain areas, even better! It will only help you lock down more contractor relationships.
Put Together a Complete Sequence of Trainings Around Your Product Lines
Talk to your product and R&D teams, and even your seasoned sales reps, to clarify all angles of your product’s features and functional aspects that contractors need to know. Leave no stone unturned.
Then, you can strategize on step-by-step training sessions, learning objectives, and assessments (such as tests and quizzes) that will help contractors become product experts and provide the best customer service.
Get Feedback and Continuously Refine the Program Over Time
Take note of your contractors’ thoughts about the training. Incorporate them by refining your training program accordingly to keep the competitive advantage over other manufacturer programs. This will ensure you have a process that’s best in class.
All in all, present your company to contractors as a partner with similar interests in excellent end results, and you’ll earn their trust wherever your business has a footprint. The goodwill you’ll build will expand your brand’s influence, attracting even more top local pros as time goes on.
Provide Contractors with More Leads
To earn more contractors, why not help them get new business directly?
The best way to do this is to send them leads. Lead generation is a top priority for many businesses, and over 60% of professionals engaged in marketing say their customer acquisition costs have increased in recent years. Especially for smaller contractors, that can be a serious business hardship.
As a manufacturer, you can fill that gap by sharing leads with contractors who buy and use your products. Do this and you’ll increase your contractors’ own local market presence, which they’ll thank you for.
Not to mention, you’re moving more product, and your own company’s bottom line will grow.
Your website likely gains traffic from customers who are interested in your brand. To make this pipeline more consistent, you’ll want to expand your digital presence via smart online marketing. Build a big roster of leads for your contractors with the following proven methods:
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a great way to capture free, relevant traffic. Start by brainstorming and researching the kinds of keywords consumers are typing into Google.
Build high-quality, informative, and interesting content around those search terms. Make sure you create content that speaks to customers with different needs, and at different stages of the buyer journey.
When web users who find you leave their name and email in exchange for downloading a lead magnet you have, such as a helpful brochure, catalog, or video…you’re gaining valuable leads you can share with your contractors.
Search engine marketing, or SEM, entails using pay-per-click ads (like Google Search Ads) that reach customers immediately after they type relevant terms into the search box.
Make sure your ads are attention-getting, concise, focused on benefits, and have a relevant call to action (CTA) for customers who need contracting services now. Use several ad variations as well to be sure you’re spending on ads that are proven to convert.
Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are proven places to capture hot leads for your manufacturing brand. Use both organic content and paid advertising on these platforms to capture the interest of people in need of contracting services, and you’ll add a powerful tool to your lead gen toolbox.
A Premium Contractor Locator that Generates Leads
On your website, you likely have a “Where to Buy” locator page that lists local contractors. Not all locators are built alike, however.
Both your brand and the contractors you partner with can benefit greatly from a locator that actually generates leads. The Bullseye Location software is unique in helping you achieve this.
With Bullseye, customers who visit your site can submit inquiries at the click of a button, while leaving their contact information. That means you’re instantly referring a valuable lead to the contractor.
Bullseye also lets you highlight your preferred contractors in the locator. This is a great complement to your “Preferred Contractor” program if you have one, and a way to forge stronger local sales relationships with the best-performing partners.
With better insights into sales, you’ll know which pros to keep sending leads to — and you can prove to them that selling your products has some serious business perks.
All in all, a Bullseye locator is a lead gen machine that drives high returns for both your brand and your contractors in the long run.
Provide Contractors with More Sales Tools
Sales tools are key for contractors. They need to tangibly demonstrate to customers why their services are the best, and why customers should choose them over the competition.
As a manufacturer, you can provide them with valuable sales tools that relate to your products, helping them come across as capable, confident, and professional as they inform customers about their services.
One tool you might use is product samples. A house siding manufacturer might provide samples of vinyl siding, for example, to contractors who deal directly with homeowners and can visually walk a customer through the benefits of certain siding types.
As contractors see the value — with actual samples of your products in their hands as a sales tool — more and more of them will be encouraged to make wholesale purchases.
Another important sales tool is a brochure. Detailed brochures that show the benefits of your products over others, while highlighting what makes your products unique, is an easy way to give your contractors talking points.
Use these sales materials to not only enable your sales reps in the field, but expand your reach with tangible messaging that contractors will remember you for…and eventually act on by buying more of your products and materials.
Start Selling to More Contractors by Supporting Their Businesses
Contractors have it hard. They often depend on word of mouth, and business can ebb and flow for them in unpredictable ways.
However, by caring about your contractors and helping them build their operations, they’ll trust you more. You’ll also build your brand as a trusted manufacturer, giving you a chance to earn and cement an “industry standard” status.
Sales tools like product samples and brochures, and supporting contractors with an installation program, can start building that key trust with local pros. Keep it going by building a treasure trove of contractor-ready leads with SEO, SEM, and social media.
You’ll need one more tool to take your contractor sales to the next level. That would be Bullseye Location, the premium locator software that generates leads.
Bullseye not only helps you list contractors on your site, it also enables you to seamlessly capture lead info to share with them. You’ll get to supervise customer journeys as you help local contractors promote their services, and can even highlight those local pros who drive the most sales.
Using Bullseye is a great way to grow your brand and help your bottom line. To see how it all works and how it can benefit your sales process, schedule a free assessment of your current locator page today.