Really, the key to any successful relationship in life is trust. In business, trust is what guides the decision-making process and is ultimately what builds the foundation of a positive working relationship. From a manufacturer’s perspective, building trust with your dealer network should be an important initiative for your brand, as it’s the key to a solid sales partnership that benefits both parties.
According to David Nour, a business relationships expert, leading with trust invites open-minded acceptance. The concept of open-minded acceptance is especially important when building trust with your dealer network because, at some point, new or existing dealers may become resistant to adopting your technology, business processes, and marketing philosophies. Even so, if your relationship was built on a foundation of trust from day one, your dealers will be more open-minded to change and may even become advocates for the processes or technology you put into place.
Also, it’s been proven time and time again that the successful integration of dealers into a manufacturer’s processes and culture can go a long way. Case studies have shown that dealers, once immersed in a manufacturer’s culture, can serve as a primary source of market intelligence and consumer research.
As we’ve illustrated, there are many benefits to leading with trust when it comes to improving manufacturer-dealer relations. Aside from it being the right thing to do, a relationship built on a foundation of trust may be the difference between dealers selling your product versus the competition. So, make a commitment today to look at your dealer relations strategy and consider these key takeaways as you evaluate your plan:
- Building a foundation of trust and cultural integration is important, but it may not be enough to sustain a working relationship with your brand. Evaluate the performance of your dealers consistently and determine if it still makes sense to have them represent your brand.
- Always make an effort to support dealer marketing efforts, as they are your direct line of communication to the end customer. Provide dealers with a formal marketing plan and brand guidelines document, so they understand what’s expected of them in the marketplace.
- Establish a communications platform, so dealers can share ideas, concerns and customer successes with you. Consider using your desired platform as a sounding board before final decisions are made public.
These are just a few ideas to consider when evaluating your dealer relationships. If you would like to learn how we can help support your dealer marketing strategy, contact us today.