Dressing Up To Go To Work? Absolutely!

There is a theory that you don't dress up a truck because it is just doing a job and it's just a worker and not on display. I agree that it is doing a job and a worker, but it is also on display. Every customer and potential prospect sees it and what it looks like speaks to them.

The most expensive piece of real estate at the dealership is the display space. To many it is a parking lot. To me it is my Macy's window display. When people drive by at 70 miles an hour, I want my lot to speak to them in that way. Who cares about a parking lot? All lined up and pretty just blends in. How they are positioned on the lot is everything in the way it will speak to the people driving by. Blank spaces in between is critical. Odd angles is critical. Color is critical. Knock-out gorgeous is critical.

Here's an idea that worked extremely well for me that may assist you. I wanted to dress up my trucks and create knock-out gorgeous trucks for my display. One of the ways to do this is color and I've talked about that. This time I'll talk of a merchandising partnership that was very powerful and very efficient and very inexpensive to the dealer.

I've loved mag wheels since I was a kid (shows my age. . .), now called aluminum wheels generally. They really do wonders in dressing up any vehicle--including commercial work trucks. It doesn't matter if it is a 3/4 ton or a medium duty truck, aluminum wheels will make it look much better. Although colored trucks really brings out the aluminum wheels, they look great on white trucks. And, here's the good news: It really helps sell them and brings better gross profits as well.

I used Alcoa Aluminum Wheels almost exclusively. I am picky about making sure that the wheels meet or exceed the factory specifications for wheels and Alcoa Wheels do. I sold a huge volume of 19.5" wheels along with smaller wheels for the lighter duty 3/4 and 1 ton trucks. On the 19.5" wheels, we sent them out to be polished which made a huge difference. The smaller wheels came polished from Alcoa. Whenever possible I used the Alcoa center cap kits. This cost a bit more, but the look is well worth it. It looks so cheesy to use standard center caps and have the lug nuts showing. Put them side by side and you will see what I mean. I even put Alcoa's on some of my cutaway van bodies! They looked great.

So, I contacted the local tire guys and sat down and talked about what I wanted to do. I said that I would buy some and show them what I can do in moving wheels, tires and other things from them and that after a short period of testing I wanted to work a much larger deal with them which would entail them giving them to me on consignment but that they would see how that would benefit them based on this test marketing approach. Out of the dealership capital, I bought several sets of wheels and merchandised part of the lot. After a couple of months of this, we agreed to do everything on consignment from then on.

The benefit to the dealership of this arrangement is the dealerships capital is not invested and is available for other uses. The benefit to the tire company was substantially increased business. In addition, I did not shop around for better pricing as we agreed to keep it reasonable and they had 100% of my business in this area. Since they were putting up the capital for the truck merchandising, they have to have a very good return and this arrangement gave it to them. After a little over three years, I had done over one million dollars of business with them. About 60% of my trucks had aluminum wheels! It really helped me sell more trucks, get more attention on the lot, keep the dealers cash flow flowing and created a great partnership with a local supplier. Win-Win-Win. But, it also provided value to my customers. They loved how the trucks looked and it made a difference in how their customers perceived them. Everyone wins all around.

Pssstt- Here's a bonus for you Ford dealers out there: you can get the Alcoa wheels from the factory and it is much less than I was paying 12 years ago. What a deal. Here's a plan: Get your key body companies (those that you are really teaming up with) to order trucks to your spec. So you order whatever percentage with the Alcoa wheels so they are ready to go when you get them! Wow. That is powerful. Sure would have been great to have that when I was doing it--and I surely would have used it to the max. Order up just the options that you want to sell and promote. This will set you apart and set your profits apart as well. Make it happen!

No comments: