By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter
The cost of acquiring a new customer can be up to five times greater than keeping an existing one.
Unless you have a unique product that no one else has, you have to compete with someone for the business, and part of that process is building good customer relationships.
Contractors, for the most part, are loyal folks as long as your product delivers on its promises and you don’t treat them like dirt. Bottom line is, if you treat them right, they’ll be customers for life.
Not only will they continue to be a customer, but they will become an advocate for your brand. These guys talk to each other and believe me, if your product doesn’t deliver on its promises, word will spread fast.
Here are three ways to keep relationships with professional tradesmen strong:
1. Stay in touch. E-mail is probably the best and most cost-effective way to this. Make them feel important, even a quick e-mail to say thanks for the business or a follow-up note from customer service after they have helped out with a problem will pay off long term.
- A call from their local sales rep to say hi with no particular sales pitch may lead to opportunities if they (your sales guys) just listen.
- Make them feel like they’re special by giving them a first look at new products as they are being developed.
- They also could be the ideal source for field testing prior to launch. Also think about doing a webinar for customers only on a new product or application.
2. Solicit feedback. You have the perfect audience of people who know and use your product. I haven’t met a contractor yet that doesn’t have an opinion he wants to share. There are several low-cost survey and poll services that you should check out:
What better venue to ask for feedback on a new product or product enhancements. Make them feel like they’re part of the team.
3. Provide valuable resources. These contractors are up to their eyeballs, so if you’re going to give them something, make sure there’s some meat on the bone. Good vehicles to use would be to have pertinent information on your website like case studies and white papers.
If you feel really bold, set up industry forums on your site and let the contractors come and talk to each other. You’ll find that there will be strong advocates that arise out of such forums that will be your best advertising to the group.
I’ve always been a big believer in relationship selling. After all, we usually buy stuff from people we know, like and trust. Agree? So why not take that to another step in the selling process by using the same principles to your marketing efforts?
This is especially true now that content and content marketing is such a big part of everyone’s overall strategy.
We all have heard the saying that Content is King and Community is its Kingdom, but what brings them together? It’s building solid relationships with Contractors and Tradesmen using relationship marketing.
We need to know and understand what our target wants and needs. They want solutions, not necessarily a sales pitch. You need to make yourself available in conversations with contractors.
We should collaborate with others that share the same passion. For an example, say your target is professional plumbers. You want to focus on products that will help them do their install better. You’re not interested (nor capable) in helping them market their plumbing business locally.