By Jim Williams
This edition of the Contractor’s Corner comes to you from a mile high. Spenser Villwock, CEO of Independent Electrical Contractors – Rocky Mountain (IECRM), talks about two critical aspects that lead to successful relationships between contractors and distributors.
“One of the key things that we see that help cement together a strong foundation of a relationship between a contractor and distributors is really built on trust, as is so much in life,” states Villwock. “One of the key things around that is having open and frank communication.”
Spenser shared a simple scenario that could happen between any contractor and distributor: “If a distributor commits to filling an order to a contractor by next Monday and then finds out the product is on backorder, or there is some sort of misstep, it’s best not to sugar coat it, but to be straight forward and let the contractor know as soon as possible so they can make changes on the job site and accommodate for the flow of their work, or labor deployment for that day. Contractors are used to moving by the seat of their pants at the last minute, but they need to be aware of any situations as soon as they can.
“We’ve seen the converse of that where a distributor will not contact a contractor and it ends up injuring the relationship in a lot of ways. If a contractor has to initiate a phone call on the day the order is supposed to be on their job site and the conversation starts there, it doesn’t usually end up in the right direction. It bruises any trust that has been built,” Villwock adds.
Spenser suggests saving the relationship, and the trust, is simple, “The distributor just needs to reach out as soon as possible to let the contractor know what has happened and when to expect the new order. That allows the contractor to be able to change their game and re-establishes that trust and make sure clear communication is there.”
Another successful business practice that Villwock and IECRM have seen that works is when the distributor invests in the relationship beyond just business and takes the time to understand the operations of the channel and how they do their specific business. “This includes much more than knowing what they do as a company,” adds Villwock. “It means knowing their professional and personal interests. Whether they are a gun enthusiasts and taking them out to a shooting range, or whether they are part of a particular trade association and trying to get involved that way. It’s those investments beyond business that we’ve seen where the maintenance of that relationship and bond grow stronger. There’s a lot to be said for that additional time and resources spent into understanding who their customers are and not just what their needs are.”
For over 30 years, the Independent Electrical Contractors Rocky Mountain (IECRM) has been the leading electrical and renewable energy contractor association in Colorado and across the nation. Operating in 53 different areas across the United States and representing 215 member companies responsible for $2B annually, and educating over 725 electrical apprentices and licensed electricians annually, IECRM is dedicated to educating, promoting, and advancing the electrical industry.
Spenser Villwock, CEO of IECRM, is keenly focused on keeping contractors at the cutting edge of the energy industry through innovative skills training and workforce development. He works with both contractors and distributors.Villwock holds a Master’s Degree in non-profit management (MNM), LEED-AP (Existing Buildings) accreditation, and an undergraduate degree in English Literature. With professional experience in leveraging market demand, political advocacy, environmental issues, philanthropy, leadership development, capacity building, and running two start-up companies, Spenser is an authority on developing community programming and policy to maximize impact.
Find out more about Spenser Villwock and IECRM at https://www.iecrm.org/.Tagged with tED