I’m cheating a bit here, and I’m proud to say it!
For several months I’ve focused on communications best practices and marketing techniques that positively impact your relationships with your contractors and, by extension, your bottom line. I try not to get too bogged down in the weeds because messaging is about keeping it simple. So, let’s get back to the basics.
Rick Damato, editorial director for Roofing Supply Pro and a friend for 25 years, recently wrote an article about technology in our industry —the growing use of AI and ChatGPT, online ordering, inventory tracking, etc. — all things to make our lives easier and our businesses run more smoothly.
While all the items I listed and that Rick spoke about have had — or are having — profound net positives for our industry —at the end of the day, Rick stresses that a potent tool that may often get overlooked is simply picking up the phone to place a call and just say, “thank you.”
We all are guilty of overlooking this. It’s easier to email than to call; it’s easier to text than call; it’s easier to order Taylor Swift tickets through Ticketmaster than to call … ok, maybe that went too far.
My point is that interaction can often be more impactful than we assign credit to. A CEO walks through the warehouse or manufacturing plant, shakes hands with every employee, and learns their names and a little about their families. That simple gesture is powerful and impactful.
Now let me combine the two concepts and tell you how blending technology and the personal touch can help you earn points with your contractors.
During my years with CertainTeed, I was excited to see the great work a contractor did when putting on a CertainTeed or Ludowici roof. I wanted to showcase that project to the media, other contractors, and our customers.
When I’m in New York and look up at that gold Ludowici Roof on the New York Life building, I tell anyone I’m with all about it. Driving along the Schuylkill Expressway in Philadelphia and passing the Malta Boat house along the famed Boathouse Row, I’m reminded of another beautiful Grand Manor installation.
Fast-forward to the present day. As a roofing supply professional, social media is a powerful tool to offer and infuse your personal touch toward your contractors. Good contractors are proud of their work and often post their latest jobs on their company’s social media pages. That works.
But you can take it a step further, so here are a few things to consider to amplify your customers' work; use it to promote your connection to that contractor and; earn ‘loyalty’ points.
If you don’t have someone working on your social media, get someone in the role. It’s simple to do, inexpensive and can effectively promote your business and customers.
Choose the right platforms — most likely LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. If you’re advanced, maybe TikTok.
Know your audience on this one, friends. A time-waster is getting into platforms where your contractors or their homeowners aren’t participating. ‘X,’ nay Twitter, is a perfect example. Everyone wants to be on Twitter; however, it might not be a great platform for this strategy.
Follow each one of your contractors and encourage them to follow you back.
Have your outside salespeople go to job sites, take pictures and then post them on your social channels with a shout-out to the contractor, the products they are using, and make the connection back to your business.
Example: “Another great GAF Timberline HDZ install by XYZ Contractors in East Joliet. Great job, guys and glad we could partner with you on this!”
Since you follow your contractors’ profiles, share their posts on your company page.
Example: “Another great install by XYZ Contractors using GAF Timberline HDZ. We worked closely with these guys on a very challenging 12/12 install by offering rooftop delivery and additional safety support. Great work to Joe Smith and the team for a beautiful execution!”
It’s also not a “one-and-done.” You will find that these contractors will notice, like what you’re doing and share your posts. And they’ll start doing it more often because they realize you are helping them promote their business. They’ll even begin to send you photos and reach out to you with their cool projects.
I’ve done this many times. It’s like any other type of courting or nurturing of a relationship. When you give praise and accolades, they want to keep pleasing you. This is ‘gold’ for your contractors and, as a trusted distribution partner, your business. Contractors will greatly appreciate you helping them advance their marketing efforts, and you’ll help cement your relationship.
It’s almost as good as walking down a production line shaking hands. The personal touch — a handshake, a call to say “thank you,” a social post promoting their work —all free ‘investments’ in your business and theirs; that, friends, can pay immense dividends!