Thursday, May 23, 2013

15 Ways a Modular Factory Sales Rep Can Lose a Builder

Builders are the most important part of a modular home factory’s business. With increasing competition the limited number of modular home builders, it can take a great deal of hard work to expand your builder base and continue to retain existing jobs. 

Unfortunately, it only takes a single, simple, mistake on your part to lose even your most loyal builder.

Losing builders is detrimental to any factory, since they’re necessary for profit. Knowing how to prevent losing builders starts with understanding what can lead to upsetting or turning them away. Below is a list of 15 mistakes that could cost you your builders and ultimately, your business.

1. Be slow to respond
Delays are the number one assassin to many relationships between sales reps and their builders. There is nothing more off-putting to builders than making them wait too long for service. This can make even the most loyal builders start contemplating leaving and new ones not think twice about looking elsewhere for more prompt service.

Make sure you communicate with your builders and keep them in the know about every step of your process, so they don’t feel like you’re slacking off if they are waiting on a floorplan or quote.

2. Lack courtesy
With so much competition and other factories to choose from, builders want to feel valued by the businesses they decide to give their money to. Treating each and every one of your builders and their customers with courtesy leaves a lasting impression of appreciation. If you don’t go the extra mile to treat them with care and respect, you risk losing them.

3. Ignore client feedback
Builder satisfaction is one of the vital goals of any enterprise.

The best way to know exactly what builders want is to invite their suggestions on how they would like to be served better and what improvements they would like to see. Quite often, they will not offer their feedback unless asked for it. So it is up to the factory sales rep to ensure that any issues or concerns that they have are sourced directly from them and addressed promptly. Failure to do this can result in the driving them away over time.

4. Treat builders differently
Your builders should be treated equally, whether they are new or have been around for a long time.

The moment they realize that they’ve been treated differently they are bound to walk away. So when thinking about offering things like discounts, incentives or reward programs, it is important to make such benefits are available to all builders equally.

5. Charge additional fees
There is nothing as bad as having to pay extra charges that were not part of your estimated house quote.

Most businesses that charge extra costs without informing their builders create the impression of being dishonest.

Try to provide your builders with the most accurate estimate upfront. If you’re not 100% about future costs, be honest and let them know an estimated potential future cost. Failing to do this could cause them to think you’re being dishonest or tricking them into paying for more than they need. If the builder has already quoted their customer before you tell them about the sprinkler system you forgot to include, it may be the last house you will ever get.

Eventually builders could even walk away, because no one likes to do business with people who they think are deceiving them.

6. Don’t communicate
Effective communication determines how your builders will rate the level of service that they are provided with. Poor communication can cause them to come back to make inquiries that should have been answered during their first visit or call. Repeat visits or inquiries pertaining to an initial purchase can be detrimental to the way a builder views your customer service. This is not only time consuming for you and the builder, but it exudes a lack of professionalism and knowledge of your builder’s needs, and they will most certainly be put off by this.

7. Reprimanding a builder
Demanding builders can be very hard to deal with and they can be quite a nuisance.

In the modular housing industry, you are almost 100% guaranteed to experience a problematic client that’s angry or rude towards you. Being rude back does not do any good, especially if done in front of the builder’s customer or other builders. This could send the wrong message to new builders who could easily be misled into thinking that this is the norm of how builders are handled whenever they have grievances about their home or factory.

This could dent the image of your business and cause new builders to run away. You also want to give all builders the benefit of the doubt and maintain a professional demeanor at all times.

8. Pushing a prospective new builder too hard
While it is advisable to be assertive when pitching your factory’s benefits to a prospective builder, pushing too hard can make a “new to modular” builder feel uncomfortable.

People don’t like being pushed into buying something, especially if it is a service or product that they do not have an interest in. It is therefore advisable to know what a builder might need before making any suggestions about a service or product.
If you don’t know when to back off, you are sure to lose a prospective builder who also might spread the word that you or your sales technique is too aggressive.

9. Work in a mess
First impressions are everything in business. If your office or factory is dirty, run down or disorganized, this is the impression you will give your builders.

Keeping a the factory in good repair and organized is among the most important things that will help your builder when they bring a customer to your factory for a tour.

Unkempt business premises present a negative image of being disorganized and unreliable.

This will surely send your builder’s customer out the door without looking back.

10. Overprice products or services
Pricing of goods and services is a very sensitive matter to any business, as this can either draw in or drive away builders. It is vital to make sure that builders get fair prices while staying in line with your competition.

Builders will always go for services or products that offer value for their money and when they feel that the prices are unfair, they will no doubt seek an alternative place to go.

11. Exaggerate services or products
It is never a good idea to exaggerate about what services and products your factory can provide; builders do not react well to disappointments.

When builders feel that the services or products they bought did not measure up to what was promised, they feel taken advantage of and that you and the factory are just after their money.

This will kill the chances of developing a long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationship and is sure to hurt your reputation.

12. Underestimate your competition
Among the many mistakes that cost most factories a good number of builders, is underestimating the ability of competitors to woo potential and current clients.

It is important to always keep an eye on the competition in order to be one step ahead of other factories. Otherwise, your competition will capitalize on where you are lacking.

13. Don’t check in with your builders
Staying in touch with builders that have developed a long term relationship with you and your factory is an important aspect that should always be addressed. Taking the initiative to check up on what a builder needs shows a sense of responsibility and it could save you from losing forgetful ones. Making sure your builders are happy with the services you provided in the past is an essential customer service strategy.

14. Being unavailable
Builders work with businesses they can count on. They want to be able to call, email or visit you and your modular factory and get answers to their questions and their needs provided.

If you are always too engaged to attend to a builder calls or emails fast enough, you’ll be losing out on satisfying them. Making sure you have the technology to maintain a strong service base is crucial for avoiding the loss of your builders.

15. Not talking to your sales manager
You try to handle everything yourself even when you know you can’t. Your builder needs your best support and that may occasionally require you to throw yourself on your sword and asking the sales manager for help.

A prompt response from the sales manager directly to your builder shows that you know how important the builder is your success. Going to your sales manager is not a sign of weakness, it’s actually a strength.


Builder Bob said...

I've been in the modular business for many years and I've experienced just about all 15. I found that I have to stay with the rep that does the least of these. Even now I'm tempted to change factories again but as they say "the devil you know"

George Morgan said...

I have been a factory rep over 25 years and have a plan of action that has served me very well.. I try to SPOIL each and every builder to the point that each feels they are getting even better service than my other builders...Everyone is treated equally because I am very thankful to them for their business.