Building relationships with pro customers can improve the long-term profitability of your home improvement business. Although, plumbers, electricians, carpenters and landscapers typically work on small-scale projects for homeowners, many also generate revenue by subcontracting on complex projects managed by larger general contractors.
Finding your Niche
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.
Now ask yourself, 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 to hold a brief conversation with them. The phone number and contact information are posted online. Be sure to offer an incentive to prompt a response person to your invitation.
Designating a special 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.
Large Home Improvement businesses or multi-chain operations may be in a position to offer volume discounts on supplies, building materials and hardware. All special offers should be promoted online and in-store. The products receiving special discounts and offers should change weekly to keep customers engaged and checking on a regular basis for more ways to save.
Delivery to the Job Site
Delivering supplies and building materials to the job site saves contractors valuable time and helps them remain focused on their projects. It’s important to clearly communicate the delivery schedule to avoid any confusion and ensure that it meets your customer’s expectations. 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.
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. This is a great way to meet new contractors and strengthen your business relationship with current customers.
Does your business rent tools and equipment? Contractors often require tools that will be used 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.
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.
Stay in Touch
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 by holding a customer appreciation day.