When was the last time you thought about whether you are with the right dealers and contractors. I’m talking about contractors who are large enough that you deal directly with them, even if they don’t buy directly from you. I‘m talking about dealers who you depend on to carry your product.
For many building product manufacturers, success is very dependent upon which dealers and contractors sell or use their products. On the surface you may think you are with the right guy. That thinking is usually based on being with the big guy and the thought that the larger or largest dealers and contractors must be the best guys to be with. You may be with biggest guy but you may also be with the wrong guy.
Are you with the right dealers and contractors?
Most contractors and dealers are small businessmen who started out really small. When they started out they had to do whatever it took to succeed. Most of them had to go all in, living as cheaply as possible. The fortunate ones who made it were doing something right and they kept doing it. There was a fire in their belly and they had dreams of what success would look like that drove them every day.
As time went by, they started to think about finally paying themselves. This is when the trouble can start. This is when you need to ask yourself if you’re with the right person or if it’s time to find that next up and comer, the person who is going to replace the big guy and become the next big guy.
Two signs you are with the wrong customers:
1. They find themselves more successful than even they imagined. They shift from taking risks and trying new products and ideas, to protecting what they have. It’s like they climbed a mountain and looked down. Now they are more afraid of falling than continuing the climb.
2. They take their eye off the ball as they focus on enjoying the fruits of their labors. Vacation homes, expensive watches, boats, fancy cars and maybe even a trophy wife are the warning signs of this customer.
In either case, you can take the easy way out and keep servicing these customers based on today’s volume. This is short term thinking as these customers have set themselves up to be displaced by an up and coming customer.
You should pay attention to the customers who are smaller but , as they will be the big dog in the near future. If you start supporting them when they are smaller, they will be more loyal to you as they grow. Or you can slowly ride back down the mountain with today’s big guy.