HVACR Distributors Support Contractor Success with Training
Developing meaningful connections with contractors through training depends on providing relevant content to serve their needs.
Workplace learning and development are critical factors in business success. According to LinkedIn’s 2021 Workplace Learning Report, 76% of Generation Z workers and 61% of Millennials say ongoing learning is the key to career success. That demand for investment will transform the entire business landscape in the coming years.
For home service industry distributors, effective training supports their business growth and the customers too. Current and informative training gives contractor customers a pathway to grow their businesses profitably. When you help them grow, they’ll reward your company with loyalty and an overall purchasing commitment. Contractor growth is key for distributor growth, and training resources are a powerful way to support your contractor customers’ success.
Distributors aren’t necessarily the first option many contractors think of when they’re considering a training program. However, insight into the needs of both contractors and manufacturers puts them in a unique position to help their customers.
Create Meaningful Content
A successful training program gives contractors a variety of benefits beyond the learning objectives, including growth strategies and a sense of true partnership. It takes an authentic investment in supporting contractor partners to optimize their training opportunities and maximize the return to your business.
Developing meaningful connections with contractors through training depends on how well you provide relevant content to serve their needs.
Start with technical content you are an authority on. Provide customers with up-to-date, accessible, and accurate information about the products you offer, including product specifications and installation instructions. Leverage manufacturer relationships to help contractors. In addition to formal training, be available to answer questions and develop strategies to communicate timely information about updates, new products, state and federal regulations, and recalls.
Find avenues for connecting contractors in your area with resources to advance their knowledge of sales, business structures, financials, service, lead generation, and leadership.
Then elevate your customer relationships with training to support their overall business acumen. Find avenues for connecting contractors in your area with resources to advance their knowledge of sales, business structures, financials, service, lead generation, and leadership. Additionally, identify position-specific training resources for field technicians, dispatch, customer support, sales, management, and leadership.
Meet Customers Where They Are
Don’t assume if you build a program of training offerings, your customers will automatically or immediately buy-in. Be prepared to communicate and meet contractors where they are.
Service professionals are busy and mobile. Deliver training in a variety of formats and let them choose the platform that works best for them.
In-person education is still the industry preference and offers specific advantages over other formats. This type of training allows for follow-up questions, hands-on instruction, and group interaction. Unfortunately, it’s not as convenient as many newer methods that are increasingly popular and help workers direct their own training. Virtual training, virtual reality, and self-paced offerings are inexpensive, accessible, and effective options for ongoing learning.
Whatever format you choose to make available, it’s important to build something contractors can feel a part of. Training journeys group complementary trainings over time, creating a discernible pathway for increasing knowledge and expanding business growth. Whether it’s a six-week program to establish more efficient dispatch or ongoing multiyear paths to guide owners to a deeper understanding of business principles, a training journey is an effective framework to drive long-term growth partnerships with customers.
A training journey is an effective framework to drive long-term growth partnerships with customers.
Finally, don’t forget to train your own distribution team for these outreach efforts. Prepare them to be advocates for learning. Don’t just tell them about customer education offerings. Build your training program with team members on the front lines who know the needs of contractors and their teams. Listen to their suggestions and concerns as you establish and implement training strategies, and help them understand how informed, empowered customers drive your success.
Distributors may have to work harder in the beginning to build and market their learning and development strategies. However, supporting contractors through training can differentiate you from competitors and establish a business edge in your market.
About Scott Tinder
Scott Tinder is a Trainer and Instructional Designer at Business Development Resources (BDR), the premier business training and coaching provider to the home service industry. Scott has over 30 years of experience in the HVAC industry at the dealer, distributor, and manufacturer levels. He has a passion for helping companies and individuals he works with implement and achieve higher levels of success in their business. Learn more about BDR at www.bdrco.com.