Creating connections with B2B customers such as contractors can be more complex and labor-intensive than servicing consumers shopping for a small number of home improvement products. However, building long-term relationships with pro customers can improve the profitability of your operation. Although, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and landscapers typically work on specialized projects for homeowners, many tradespeople also work on complex projects for large firms and general contractors.
Selling to pros is a specialized niche. Providing them with essential resources goes beyond stocking certain products—fast, easy and reliable service is a must since time translates into money. Recognizing this reality can help you segment your pro customers from DIYers. It becomes easier to identify the type of services and benefits pros expect to receive in exchange for patronizing your business.
Introduce Yourself to the Owner
What is the first thing I need to do to get this relationship off the ground? It’s simple—introduce yourself. Send the business owner a personalized e-mail or drop a note in the mail inviting them to visit your business. Even better, give them a call and hold a brief conversation. The phone number and contact information are posted online. Be sure to offer an incentive to prompt a response person to your invitation.
Open a Contractor Service Desk
Designating a particular area or checkout for contractor services demonstrates a commitment to providing professional service quickly and efficiently. The staff assigned to this area should be well-trained and confident when answering questions related to services, new products, and traditional purchases. Use overhead signage to identify the contractor area and make it easy for customers to locate.
Offer Special Pricing
Large Home Improvement businesses or multi-chain operations frequently offer volume discounts on supplies, building materials, and hardware. Promote special offers online and in-store. The products receiving special discounts and offers should change weekly to keep customers engaged and check for deals regularly for more ways to save.
Deliver Orders to the Job Site
Delivering supplies and building materials to the job site saves contractors valuable time and helps them focus on their projects. Communicating the delivery schedule to avoid confusion and ensure that it meets your customer’s expectations is essential. Mention if there are restrictions regarding load size, delivery times, etc.
Commercial Credit Account
One meaningful way to compete with big box stores is to offer a commercial credit account to encourage large orders. Offering more payment options will make it easier to shop and place orders. You may also want to set up an invoicing program that reduces the amount of paperwork and billing customers are required to handle every month.
Free Vendor-sponsored Seminars
Pros are eager to learn about innovative products and new technologies that can grow their business and give them more options. Contact your vendors to request that a representative conduct training seminars and product demonstrations for your pro customers. Leveraging these relationships is a great way to meet new contractors and strengthen your business relationship with current customers.
Promote Rental Equipment
Does your business rent tools and equipment? Contractors often require tools for a short amount of time on specific projects. Include rentals on your list to show the breadth of your services and desire to provide cost-effective solutions.
Share Customer Referrals
Contractors and home improvement Retailers are the perfect mixes. Many of your DIY customers are looking to hire a contractor to complete projects around the home. And contractors have customers who want to shop at a home improvement retailer that offers excellent service and advice on projects they can complete themselves. Sharing referrals helps everyone succeed.
Show your Appreciation
Promote your contractor business on your website and social media. Send e-mails to remind customers about your special offers and upcoming events. But, most importantly, show how much you appreciate their business. Thank pros for their patronage by holding a customer appreciation day.