By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter
Manufacturers who focus on contractors and professional tradesmen need to understand who they are and what makes them tick. They need to spend less time selling and more time solving the contractors problems.
I’ve been talking with contractors for many years and here are some takeaways to consider when wanting to connect and support them.
- Most are family-owned businesses
- Most have fewer than 20 employees
- Most started working in the trades and moved into starting a company
- They have long days, usually starting around 6:00 in the morning and ending around 5:00 in the evening
- They have to multitask — project management, purchasing and sales
- Most of their day is spent in the field
- Biggest challenge is finding qualified workers
- Second biggest challenge is training them
What are Contractors Looking for?
- Solutions to their problems
- How to do job better, in less time
- Have access to knowledgeable factory people for technical assistance
- Manufacturers who under promise and over deliver
How to Connect with Contractors
- Have your sales force spend a majority of their time in the field talking with contractors
- Have a special contractor portal, hotline and emails to get their questions answered in a timely fashion
- Mobile apps (if applicable) to help them do their job better, i.e., an estimating tool
- Online product/application training for their workers
- Send them leads
Contractors buy stories before they buy stuff. If you’re trying to establish a long-term relationship, the contractor needs to know, like and trust you first. It’s like any friendship; it develops over time and the relationship is mutually beneficial to both sides. If contractors are your life blood, take good care of nurturing them as a good friend would do.