Many of your building product customers need help with people. The people problems of contractors, dealers, builders and others are slowing down the sales of your products.
You have an asset that has expertise that could help your customers to grow and sell more of your products. That asset with expertise in people is your human resource department.
Your building material customers have two problems with people. Retention and Attraction.
Contractors are seeing more of their better employees leave to go in business for themselves. For most types of contractors, there is little or no cost of entry. They can just decide one day that they are in business for themselves.
Contractors are also seeing other employees leave for careers that pay more; they’re also seeing employees leave when a career path fails to make itself evident to them.
Builders and dealers are loosing good people to competitors who are offering more.
Human resources people know how to retain people.
Contractors, dealers and builders all have problems attracting qualified people. This limits their ability to grow and sell more of your products.
Human resource people know how to attract people.
In addition to helping your customers sell more of your products, the extra help you provide goes a long way to build loyalty—the type of loyalty that makes price less important.
If you have a human resource department, look at it as an underutilized asset. This department has knowledge and expertise that many of your customers need.
By using the resources available to you to help others succeed, you’ll likely receive the same treatment in return. Such reciprocity is what grows sales.
Here’s how your human resources department can help everyone succeed:
Get HR out of the office, and take them to visit some customers. Let them ask the customers about their employee problems. They don’t have to know a lot about your customers’ businesses; they are experts in human resources.
If your HR department is any good, they will quickly see the problems that exist and will be able to suggest some simple solutions that the customer can implement himself.
To help attract people, it may simply be suggesting better methods at reach people or a better message.
To help retain people, it may simply be showing contractors how to make people feel more valued.
I’m not the HR expert, but I respect their ability to see your customers’ problems and offer some solutions. I have also found that if you talk to three contractors about their problems, you will find that most contractors are having the same issues.
Have your HR person write a white paper about builder or contractor issues that you can distribute to all your customers. Or, have them either write an article for a trade magazine or speak on a panel at a trade show.
When a customer has a problem and you have a solution, you’re crazy not to give them a solution. When you are thinking less about yourself and more about your customer’s business, you are setting yourself up to succeed.