Let’s face it, in the plumbing and HVAC industries, contractors are the ones that have greatest influence over consumer choices and, as such, are the greatest resource for consumer feedback.
Contractors, in essence, act as information brokers between the manufacturer and the end-consumer. Consumers may trust contractors’ advice and opinions because they are both local and have a continuing relationship with them.
For this reason, manufacturers should “reward” contractors for being a marketing conduit. Because contractors are deluged with making product choices and researching industries, the best way for a manufacturer to stand out is to offer them information at light speed and perks for pushing their brand.
New incentive mobile technology is making life a lot easier for the manufacturer, distributor, and most importantly, the contractor.
As a plumbing or HVAC contractor, you don’t sit in front of a PC. Your office is out in the field. You may be on jobsites for hours talking to consumers and overseeing installation. You are reliant on your smart phone.
Now you can use it to get rebates, SPIFFs, and install incentives almost instantly. Now push notifications, texts, e-mails, Web information, and mobile apps with updated product information and selling features are all easily within your reach. You can use this technology to make quick decisions about suppliers, and which products are best to sell to the end-user.
Contractors often have to change and grow in their jobs. You must keep up with dozens of manufacturers’ product updates and adapt to changing consumer buying habits. As trends change, different markets become more or less profitable. Being able to switch gears and educate yourself quickly on new materials and industries is a highly valuable asset.
Gravitating toward manufacturers that can make your job easier, more productive, and more profitable via smart phone technology and incentives could mean the difference between success and failure.
Many manufacturing industries have already discovered ways of making themselves more attractive with speedy, interactive digital communication. For example, the paint industry boasts mobile apps that quickly match paint shades, while the lumber industry provides conversion apps that make measuring calculations faster and easier. So what do the best manufacturers have to offer that others don’t?
Reward the contractor
Reward the contractor for Being Salesman, Installer, and Customer Servicer! Online incentive programs for channel sales are an excellent way for manufacturers to not only keep you updated with vital product and brand information, but offer you perks for pushing their products. Online reward companies such as Incentive Solutions or Loyaltyworks, both in Atlanta, offer online reward program platforms made specifically for channel sale and contractor rewards.
Contractors are invited into reward programs wherein they earn points or gift cards for each of your units sold. You can redeem these points for rewards from the world’s largest online rewards mall which features electronics, home goods, event tickets, travel opportunities, and more. Imagine Amazon, Ticketmaster, and Travelocity all on one site.
Loyaltyworks’ Luke Kreitner maintains, “Past contractor inventive programs were ineffective because they were top much a hassle to submit a sales claim and took too long. Mobile technology allows contractors to receive instant push notifications about product promotions, submit warranties, and most importantly, send reward claims or fulfill those rewards instantly.”
A rewards program is even more appealing to contractors when they can access the program through a mobile app. This way, contractors can input their sales claims, upload warranty registration, check their point balances, and track their progress immediately at the install site.
With the Incentive Solution’s Performance Tracking module, contractor partners can also enter into multiple sales promotions. Program rules often dictate how open or restricted these promotions are, whether they are focused on particular regions or open to all contractors. Other channel partners, such as distributors and dealers, can also participate in Performance Tracking promotions.
Manufacturers are greatly motivated to reward you for your hard work, as they compile valuable end-user data from warranty/sales claim forms.
Contractors who are part of online sales channel rewards programs have greater access to the information and updates that could help them sell over their competition. Online reward programs instantly notify contractors (and anyone else involved in the sales channel reward program) about special promotions, warranties, and financing.
When contractors are informed and engaged with educational modules like Learn and Earn (which reward them for product and brand knowledge), they are more equipped and confident in selling. When paired with helpful industry information, these features create perfect entry-points for contractors interested in partnering with a particular manufacturer or distributor.
Whose product contractors choose to install is dependent upon how easy, profitable, and reliable the selling experience will be. New mobile technology and instant reward programs can make the difference. Not only are you often on the move physically, but markets and industries change all the time.
You need fast access to information and logical, obvious reasons to choose one brand’s products over another’s. By offering contractors participation in online reward programs, manufactures keep you informed and you receive unique rewards for your partnership with much greater ease and immediacy.
Steve Damerow is CEO of Incentive Solutions (www.incentivesolutions.com). He is a recognized expert and published author, and hosts the national radio show “Business Matters”. Incentive Solutions currently manages more than 100 incentive loyalty programs within the HVAC/plumbing/construction industries. Steve Damerow can be reached at: [email protected]; 678-514-0203.