In HVACR distribution, end consumers rely on contractors to guide their purchasing decisions. After all, very few consumers are fluent in the pros and cons of the different types of air conditioners. They fall back on the expertise (and preferences) of contractors. If an HVACR contractor doesn’t present an option, chances are most end users won’t be aware that particular option exists.
For HVACR manufacturers and distributors, it’s imperative to keep a brand top of mind with contractors and to make sure they are informed about the product offering. However, there are several difficulties in this regard.
Contractors spend a large amount of their time in the field. Additionally, they are typically concerned with reducing overhead while ensuring customer satisfaction. This means that contractors are usually motivated to stick to solutions they know from brands they trust. Generally, once they find a product that fits their formula, they’re reluctant to switch things up.
In order for distributors and/or manufacturers to effectively educate contractors on the value of their product, they must:
- Present a compelling value proposition upfront;
- Pre-package product and brand education into easily consumed pieces;
- Make it easy to access and interact with educational material; and
- Offer positive reinforcement.
Fortunately, a contractor incentive program can help check all these boxes and build rewarding, more profitable relationships with their contractors.
PRESENT A COMPELLING VALUE PROPOSITION UPFRONT
It is tough to motivate contractors to get excited about education after a long day in the field, even if that knowledge can make their lives easier and increase their profits in the long run. Instead, the best tactic is a compelling value proposition to capture contractors’ attention.
One of the benefits of a contractor incentive program is that reward programs are fun, lighthearted, and engaging. They don’t feel like work. With email open rates and click through rates that are up to 268 percent and 780 percent higher than industry benchmarks, respectively, a contractor incentive program offers many opportunities to slip in information about your products and your brand that just might make the difference when contractors decide who to recommend for their next project.
PREPACKAGE INFO INTO EASILY CONSUMED PIECES
Your focus should be on making educational material light, brief, and easily consumed, at least initially. The idea is to teach contractors more about your brand without overloading them with information. They will be far more interested in learning more about what rewards they can earn through your program.
With that in mind, once contractors are in the habit of earning points and redeeming them for rewards, you can inspire them to learn more about your products by structuring special promotions and bonuses for quoting specific products. By then, you will have built up enough emotional capital and brand recognition for them to be excited to dig deeper.
Following this strategy, a Fortune 500 HVACR manufacturer that we work with was able to inspire their contractors to learn more about the long-term benefits of their ductless a/c units, which resulted in a 307 percent ROI.
MAKE IT EASY TO ACCESS AND INTERACT WITH YOUR EDUCATIONAL MATERIAL
Since contractors spend so much of their time in the field, it’s important to make sure that your educational material is easily accessible across a variety of channels. Letting your contractors interact with educational material online and on their phones and reaching out to them via email, SMS, push notifications, and direct mailers will improve your chances. Integrating your incentive program on your company’s website can also make it more accessible.
Interactivity is also important. While some contractors may be able to learn and retain information from longform educational content, this will be too high of an investment for many contractors. Breaking things down into interactive quizzes and trivia will make learning about your brand more fun and compelling for a large segment of participants.
OFFER POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT
Finally, in order for an incentive program to be an effective and sustainable part of your education strategy, you will want to offer meaningful rewards to contractors for investing in your company. Providing a selection of great rewards will create positive brand interactions and keep contractors coming back for more.
After all, contractors are more likely to recommend a product from a manufacturer who offers them the opportunity to earn points towards a 4K flat screen TV than from a competitor who offers them nothing.
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