What are contractors looking for from their distributors? The list of answers Distribution Center received to that question was lengthy and diverse. After sifting through the results, 10 items seemed to cover the overall themes respondents were communicating. Contractors surveyed said they were looking for distributors that offered quality customer service, timely delivery, honesty and integrity, product knowledge and availability, competitive pricing, technical education and support, and warranty support. They are also seeking distributors who are proactive in the market, willing to be a team member, and have shared business goals with the contractor.
Contractor Seeking Distributor
Understanding what HVACR contractors are looking for can help distributors plan their business strategies as well as measure their current business programs for effectiveness. Here are a few quotes from those who responded to the informal survey when it asked, “What is the best thing your distributor does to help with your business?”
“We think of our distributors as our partners. The best and most important thing they can do for us is be a player on our team, helping us select the best products for the application at the best price they can offer.”
“I need them to refer the company to the proper type of potential customer, end user.”
“My territory manager is involved with weekly sales meetings, allowing us to understand our partnership at a deeper level.”
“I want a distributor who has open communication and an understanding of our business needs. They need to be responsive and provide service and support constantly.”
“My distributor picks up the phone, responds in a timely fashion, and talks with a smile that transfers over the wire. Several local inside people brighten my day.”
No matter how hard they try, HVACR distributors can’t be all things to all contractors. The question is, what happens when a contractor responds that his distributor does very little to help with business and that he is quite unhappy with them? Is there something that can be done to fix this relationship or is it time for the contractor or the distributor to move on?
There aren’t always answers to the questions that business relationships bring up. This doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be asked or that they shouldn’t be examined. Take a minute to evaluate how your distribution business ranks on the 10 items that contractors are looking for in a distributor.
Contractor Wish List
Contractors are looking for many things in a distributor. Here is a list of 10 things that contractors said they wanted in the distributors they choose to do business with. How does your distribution business rank in these 10 categories? What can you do to improve your contractor appeal?