5 Things That Will Get Your Dealer to Commit to your Brand
It’s something all brands aspire to from their dealers.
A loyal dealer is one who has enough belief in your product to carry your brand and your brand alone.
It’s a dealer you want on your side.
But not many brands are in a position to demand such a commitment. This is partly because they didn’t make a strong or positive enough initial impression.
Before you can ask for such loyalty, you must first get a dealer to commit to representing your brand.
Here are 5 things you can do to make a great impression with your dealers. It’s these things that will get them sign up and embrace your brand with excitement.
1. Make them feel welcome.
How you handle the onboarding process for new dealers could make or break your future together. This is the brand/dealer honeymoon, and it needs to be memorable. There are a few things you can do while the relationship is still young that will make the onboarding process easy:
- Welcome them personally. Don’t just send an email. Have the brand marketing department call the dealer personally and extend a welcome. This helps solidify the relationship.
- Send them a welcome kit. Go all out with a welcome kit full of branded tools to get started. Ideally, this will arrive via overnight deliver the day after your welcome call. This can include banners, brochures, shelf tags, window decals and warranty cards, to name a few.
2. Help them.
Sending your dealer a point-of-purchase display or an “authorized dealer” decal to put on their window isn’t going to cut it. (Although marketing materials are important, too.) You need to get your dealer to become an advocate of your brand, and they need training and support from you. This is especially critical in the early stages of your relationship.
- Provide self-paced training. Give your dealer access to self-paced learning they can go through on their own time. This can include online training modules that can be accessed on mobile devices and desktops.
- Get detailed. Go beyond high-level overviews of your company and product. Help your dealer be informed by providing detailed information about your product. This includes available marketing programs, warranty information and how to spec and order product, to name a few.
3. Ask their opinion.
Your dealer is more than a sales channel. Dealers are a priceless source of information. They’re customer-facing industry experts who know what their customers—and yours—want and need.
You can learn a lot from a dealer, but you have to ask first. Getting your dealer’s input is win-win for everyone. Your dealer appreciates the fact that their voice is heard, and you get valuable information directly from the source in the process. Not only that, but it helps your dealer feel like they’re part of the brand—an integral part of committing.
The key to making this work is using what you learn. If your dealer tells you that his customers would rather have product samples than a glossy brochure, be prepared to put that suggestion to work. Otherwise, why ask?
4. Be different.
This goes back to Marketing 101. If your product or message doesn’t set you apart from everyone else out there in a compelling way, why should a dealer recommend you? You need to stand out from the crowd.If you’re having trouble differentiating, it’s time for a little market research. Try this:
- Make a list of each of your competitors’ messages and list out each of their claims.
- Then, make the same list with your own brand message and claims.
- Ask someone outside of your marketing department to match the brands with their messages.
The point of this exercise it to determine whether or not you’re different from the rest. If all of your marketing messages list the same benefits and features as your competitors,’ it’s difficult to get a dealer to commit to you.
5. Say thank you
“Please” and “thank you” are still the magic words. But it’s amazing how many brands seem to have forgotten that. Everyone wants to feel appreciated, and dealers are no different. If you’re the only brand who takes the time to thank the dealer for their time and attention, who do you think the dealer is going to want to work with for the long haul?
You can get your dealers to overcome their fear of commitment, but you have to be willing to invest the time and attention from the start. Do these five steps to gain your dealer’s loyalty, and you’ll all live happily ever after.