The installer and fabricator relationship is one of the most vital partnerships in the whole chain. If an installer is to do a good job for the homeowner, they need the tools and support from their fabricators to make that task as easy and profitable as possible. So these are five main things that an installer looks for from their fabricator. And by the way, I work for an installer! ;-)
Regular product innovation
As an installer, it’s imperative that we stay ahead of our local competition to make sure we sign up as much business as we can. But we can’t do that with products that are years old and haven’t had an update for the past five years. Installers needs to have regular product updates, and brand new products on rapid basis.
It doesn’t take that long for your competition to catch up with the new things that you’re doing, so you need your fabricator to help give installers more reasons for homeowners to sign up with them, and you do that with new and constantly improved products.
That means constantly upgraded energy ratings, better hardware, better lead times, more colour options. The list could go on but I’m sure you all get my point.
Many of the industry’s installers are small and medium sized businesses. Therefore the amount of money that is able to be spent on marketing of any type is comparatively small to what a fabricator can afford. So it’s a huge help for installers when their fabricators can step in and help them with their marketing.
They should be on hand to help out in almost any way. That means free literature, web support, leaflets, adverts and everything else. At the end of the day, you as an installer are selling the fabricator’s product. Any help they can give you must surely help them in turn?
This is one of my biggest points. If a fabricator wants to help you do well as an installer and sell plenty of their products, then they need to get some of their products in your showroom, for free!
I understand that it costs the fabricator to produce the showroom samples, whatever they may be. But the outlay for the fabricator is far more manageable than it is for the installer, who again is probably a SME. So if a fabricator really wants to help an installer boost sales and push more of their products, a showroom that has been heavily supported by their fabricator is an absolute must.
Visits by the rep
This might sound a bit bland, but regular visits by the area sales rep to the installer really does make a difference. They are the face of the company for the installer and quite often the best point of contact if the installer wants to ask something or report anything.
Regular visits should be around every 8-10 weeks or so. Not so many that it starts to become inconvenient, but just long enough so that there is enough new news for the rep to tell the installer, and enough time for issues to collect for the installer to then pass on to the rep.
It also gives the rep a chance to pass on any spare literature that the installer might need at short notice.
Reliable, quality customer service
Last but not least, quality customer service is the defining feature. Last year much was made of the strain on the industry when things got busy, and customer service dropped at the same time. I cannot stress enough how important it is for an installer to be able to rely on the fabricator for customer service.
Installers are at the sharp end, selling to the demanding homeowner who expects the very best at all times. And when something doesn’t go well, it’s the installers that are the first to hear from it. They then go to their fabricator if the issue is fabricator related. They need to be on hand to be able to assist the installer with whatever problem they might have. The longer a problem continues to go unresolved, the greater the chance the homeowner becomes unhappy with their overall buying experience, which is of course helpful to no one.
These are just five of a long list of what an installer needs from their fabricator. To add yours, please leave them via the comments section below.