If you sell residential building materials through contractors or dealers, they are probably very important to your success. If the dealer doesn’t carry and prefer your product, it won’t get sold. If the contractor doesn’t prefer your product, you will lose sales to the competition.
Contractors and dealers are also hard to reach, as they usually buy through a distributor and not directly from you. There is an area where contractors and dealers need your help, and I find that they will return this help with increased loyalty sales of your products.
I have never met with a contractor or dealer who didn’t feel they could buy and sell more of my client’s products by 5% to 20%. They always tell me, “If your client would only (fill in the blank), I would do more business with them.” These suggestions cover a wide range and many times are not that complicated or expensive. They also are never about giving them a lower price.
When I am interviewing contractors and dealers for my clients, one of the most common problems I hear is about their websites. Many contractors and dealers tell me that their websites suck. They know that a good website is very important, but they don’t know how to improve their website.
They either had someone like their brother in law build their website, or they use a web design firm. The brother in law is cheap, and the web firm can be expensive. Neither of these resources knows anything about the contractor or dealer’s business.
As a company’s online presence continues to be more important, an ineffective customer website may be the weak link in your sales and marketing.
There is an opportunity for you to be the manufacturer who improves your sales by improving your dealer or contractor websites. You don’t have to go to the expense of building websites for them; you just have to give them a roadmap.
Here’s How to Improve Your Customer’s Websites
Hire a web design firm to research, design and test a best in class website for a contractor or dealer in your category of products. For example, if you are a deck manufacturer, develop the best deck dealer website you can. If you manufacture roofing, kitchen cabinets, garage doors or products in many other categories, you can also do this.
Have the web design firm research what are the elements of a great website for your customer. What are the elements that will attract more homeowners and drive homeowner action while making your customer be the preferred choice within your product category. As research and strategy
As research and strategy is not the strong suit of most design firms, you may have to partner them with a research and strategy firm. Most web design firms, design a new site that gets better results than the old site, so it is deemed as success. I am talking about actually testing a number of alternatives to see what gets the best results.
Pick a few non-competing customers and have the web design firm design and produce new websites for these customers. Test the results and make revisions to improve the results in order to identify what make the best website for a customer who sells your type of product.
While the appearance of a website is important, there are many other parts of a website that are more important. For example, does the website provide all of the information that the homeowner needs? Is it easy to find and is it presented in the best order? Does it encourage the homeowner to leave their contact information without feeling they will be hounded by a salesperson until they want to be contacted? Does the site have excellent search results?
When this has been completed, develop a template that your customer can use to improve their website. They can use this template with the web developer of their choice who should use this as a roadmap to a better website. The contractor or dealer should also use their own identity, logo, colors, typefaces and images on their site.
You also need to allow for the fact that your customer may also carry your competitors products. There are ways to make your brand the hero.
You can also be develop content that the customer can use on their site.
An imaginative web design firm may even be able to offer to produce your customers websites at an affordable price since you have funded the research and development.
Either, way you probably have more knowledge and access to web experts than your customers. If you use this asset to help your customers improve their websites, you will both grow your sales through them and make them more loyal.
What is the value to you if you could grow your contractor or dealer sales by five or ten percent? For many of you, it means a lot.
There are a number of web design firms who specialize in lumber dealers or types of contractors, like roofing. While they probably do a better better website than the dealer or contractor’s current web designer, they are not as good as you can make them. There are also a lot of dealer and contractor categories that don’t have web design firms focused on their type of business.
If you look at the sites of these web designers, they simply say, “We do websites for contractors. Here are some we have done. And here’s our price. Oh, and I almost forgot, We’re the best!”
While these web design services are available, the majority of contractors and dealers still have poor websites. These web design firms are not as credible with the contractor or dealer as you are as a manufacturer. If you recommend that they get a new website, they are more likely to listen.
You, as a manufacturer, also have the ability to do the research and website concept development to quantify what makes the best website for your customers. As the world moves online and your customers have ineffective websites, I think a five percent increase in sales, is a conservative estimate. Do the math and see if showing your customers how to improve their website, isn’t a good investment.
Contact me if you would like to know how to grow your contractor or dealer sales with this or other ideas.