By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter
When trying to gain new contractors, “the ready, fire, aim” mentality doesn’t work. Neither does “a wing and prayer” method.
Developing new customers is entirely different from trying to sell more stuff to your existing ones. Marketing needs to work closely with sales in not only developing a message, but a plan on delivering it. You also need to take into consideration that a lot of new contractors won’t identify themselves until they’ve done some homework on your company.
Most manufacturers’ websites are focused on their products, not how they affect the solutions for the contractor. These guys are looking for ways to do their job better and more efficiently so they can make more money and not have the hassles of “call backs.” So the first thing to do is to put more solutions-based stories on your site.
I read a post by Mark Mitchell, How to Win More Building Materials Customers that has some good points that all manufacturers could use.
Here are some highlights:
- Test the program – just because you think it’s what they want, make sure before doing a full launch.
- Be flexible – if program needs some tweaks, don’t be afraid to change midstream.
- Focus – on a product line that has a great track record of solving problems.
- Train your sales force – give them the end game and the tools necessary to be successful.
- Have your sales team do some upfront research for you – from identifying potential new contractors to what their pain points are. Are they willing to change and what they think of your company as a whole.
Growing sales by winning customers is very different from just selling customers. It necessitates a stronger approach than a make-more-calls strategy. Your customers, and customers-to-be, are people needing to solve problems. Understanding their business, what their pain points are and how you can solve their problems will help you win their business.
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