Marketing 101 - Working Through the Plan, Part 2

A small investment in some good giveaway advertising pieces will bring nice dividends. One of the most effective I've used is the sticky note pads with your dealership name at the top and phone numbers at the bottom. Make those items small so that people will want to use these by having a lot of blank space. People love them and its such a great way to keep your name in front of them. Some other good ideas are ink pens, coffee mugs, letter openers. If it is something that people will use on a daily basis, those will be the best ones to use. You can get started with a good supply for about $1,000. Spending more if you have it will lower the cost of each item.

You would use these items as leave behind items when you are out prospecting or when you are at off site events, delivering a truck to a customer, or any kind of contact with a client or prospect.

Next on the list is prospecting. To some this is a scary thing to think about doing, but if you will accept the idea that there is no substitute to seeing your potential clients business for yourself and see what they do and how they do it, you will begin to enjoy prospecting much more than hanging around the lot. It will be fun and very interesting.

The key that I have found about prospecting is that it needs to be done on a regular basis over a period of time until you are so busy that there is no more time for it. By then, you will have built up such a business through referrals and repeat sales. Of course, that is the goal. It will be most difficult to get to that goal without prospecting.

Prospecting must become a habit. This means that you need to schedule it and make sure it gets done first. After it is done, you can spend the rest of the day following up leads, working on projects, planning strategies, etc. I recommend that you set a goal of a certain number of prospects to visit on a daily basis. I also recommend that it be every working day in the early part of your business building. Each day that it is put off, moves you away from the goal. Two in a row and avoiding prospecting becomes the habit. It is a bit like exercising. Some days you are motivated and look forward to it and other days you have to force yourself to get moving. Those that have made exercising a habit know that the results of the commitment are worth the efforts to maintain the commitment.

More about prospecting in a future article.

Networking. There are many ways to network with people. You can join a service club like Lions or Rotary. You can join a lead sharing group like Le Tip International or the many local groups that get together weekly to refer prospects to each other. You are networking by getting your friends and relatives to refer people to you or introduce people to you. Another popular way is by joining and participating in the Chamber of Commerce in your town or city--or maybe in surrounding cities as well.

Your service department. I think that teaming up with your service department can be one of the best ways to build your new commercial truck business. When you are prospecting, a great way to get to know and build a relationship with a prospect is to invite them to your service department. Get your service department very involved in the process and explain what you are trying to achieve. You will drive so much business to the service department that they should be thrilled to be a part of it. Make sure that you stay involved so that you know that the services are being provided in a timely manner and that the quality of work is encouraging the prospect to stay.

The goal is to be of service, to build a long-term relationship through the service department, so that sales of vehicles to the client becomes a natural event. It's all about being of service. What services can you provide your prospects so that they become long-term customers? Having been a journeyman auto mechanic a long time ago, I know that having the title auto mechanic does not denote skill. Hopefully in your service department you have some very skilled mechanics along with the ones who are not as skilled. Get to know them and they can help you grow this business fast. People are always looking for a mechanic who really knows how to diagnose problems instead of just throwing parts at the problem.

Also make sure that your service department is notifying you of any jobs that would indicate it makes good sense to replace a vehicle. Another thing I recommend is to cruise you service department parking area at least twice a day looking at the trucks in the shop and making notes of any prospects you may not yet be aware of.

Your service department can be such a benefit to you and you can be an equal or perhaps even greater benefit to them. That is a wonderful partnership!

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