The cost of acquiring a new customer can be up to five times greater than keeping an existing one.
That holds true when it comes to the trades. They have long memories, and if you let them down with either poor product performance, technical assistance or customer service, they will be hesitant to keep using you.
They can be your best friend or your worst enemy.
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. Email is probably the best and most cost-effective way to this. Make them feel important, even a quick email 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.