Through the Eyes Of the Bold, Part 11

Today we will move on to the Service Body mix.
  • Contractor Body 10-15%
  • Combo Body 5-10%
  • Flatbed 20-30%
  • Service Bodies 30-45%
  • Plumber Bodies 5-10%
  • Van Bodies 15-25%
  • Dumps 5-10%
  • Other Bodies 5-10%

The Service Body is the highest percentage of our mix for a number of reasons, but the main reason is that there are so many businesses that can use this kind of truck in all kinds of weather. Flatbeds tend to be good weather vehicles for the most part and so sales tend to dip in the Winter months and spike in Spring and Summer, whereas Service Bodies sell all year long in similar quantities. Any business who needs to carry tools, parts, equipment and even bulky items in the bed area can make great use of a Service Body.

Because there are so many different kinds of businesses who use the Service Body, there are hundreds of variations. We want to concentrate on just a few of these, but have as varied a mix as we can in order to show prospects better and better solutions to their problems.

As before, we will use the small dealer who is stocking 25 upfits as our example. The percentage in the model above varies from 30% to 45%. The variance is market to market. Some areas have demand for more Service Bodies and some a bit less, but still, the Service Body is the highest percentage, no matter how you look at it. The easy way to back this up is just to pay attention to what is on the road over a period of time. In this example, we will use 36%, or 9 units.

Without a doubt, the most popular Service Body is the single rear wheel 8'. With Ford dealers, it is more the 9' model because the Ford dealer has a wide variety of 60" CA single rear wheel chassis models. Next is the 9' dually, then the 11' dually and an extremely small percentage are longer than 11' and they usually go on tilt cabs.

My strategy is again, to cover the market as best I can with the numbers I have, and to stock different things than my "competitors." If I need some of the plain things in larger quantities, I need only make a few calls and I will have my lot full, so why stock the same things as they do? Leadership is being a non-conformist.

Before we get to the mix, let's look at a few things. First, if I think that I have a market for 4x4's, I want to take advantage of that. Never mind the obvious mountainous places, 4x4 is a given there, but I want to look at what percentage of pickups my dealership sells that are 4x4. Then, I will take a similar approach to commercial. Stop thinking about price and focus on solutions. I will also probably find that there are very few who are stocking any number of 4x4 models in commercial in my market area. I will use that as a selling advantage.

The next thing I want to look at is how the bailment pool companies are ordering their trucks. Since I will get the vast majority of my trucks from them, I want what I want, not necessarily what they stock. The way to solve this is through your partnership mentality about the companies you work with. Get them to order some chassis just for you the way you want them. If you (and I do) want some up-level trim with wheels and power windows and maybe even the c-word, have them get them for you. Maybe you want Locking Differential, or Limited Slip axles on all your trucks. That will set you apart and won't cost a fortune. There are a number of little and larger things you can do to personalize your inventory and set you apart from the crowd. At the same time, you have something to sell and provide value for your customers. You will not have to take the units immediately; however, you will have to take them before they start paying flooring. I will talk about this aspect in much greater detail next week.

Now, I will break down my mix by single rear and dual rear wheels initially. Out of 9 units, I will decide on 5 single and 4 dually. Of the dually models, I want 1-9' on a Super Cab gas, with rack, hitch and cargo bed enclosure and masterlock system, then 1-9' on a crew cab diesel with rack, hitch and through transverse compartment with slide out drawer on two levels and masterlock system. Then, 1-11' on a 450 gas with raised front compartments with extra shelving, masterlock system, rack and hitch, and last I want a 14' on a tilt cab with 56" compartments, cargo bed enclosure, masterlock system, rack and hitch (if no tilt cabs, I want an 11' 56" with same options).

On the single rear, I want two 8' units on F250 or similar to use as price leaders. These are plain units with no options, no rack. These will be advertised to draw traffic. Next, I want 2 Super Cabs, 1 gas, 1 diesel, 9' units and last is a regular cab gas 9'. On the last three, I want masterlock system, rack, hitch, and I will put drawers in one compartment on one of them, a cargo bed enclosure on another.

Now, you can see that 9 units doesn't cover much territory when it comes to the variations of the Service Body, but this is a good mix and something that they don't have down the street or even within a hundred miles probably (unless they are reading this and getting excited). Some of this mix might be 4x4's as I mentioned earlier. Of course, this mix could be done many different ways and feel free to use your own creativity, just keep in mind the larger picture of wanting to have a mix of things to have the most solutions available to show your prospects. It is always more fun to sell something unique than the same old stuff. It gives you a jolt of enthusiasm. So, go with that.

You'll also notice that I put masterlock system on almost everything except the price leaders. The reason is simple: It's the easiest option in the world to sell once you understand it and it has such high value to the end user once they own it. You have to have it to show it. I surely prefer the ones who use the same key as the truck and don't use padlocks. Harbor Truck has the best one that I know of, Royal Truck has a good one, Knapheide, and Scelzi use the old padlock design. Guess which ones I'm stocking with masterlock. . . Well, you get to choose for yourself, but it is the easiest option to sell. I liken it to selling tilt steering wheel in today's world. Like that's real hard!

You can stir things up even more with some color. Cargo bed enclosures are great assets and are easy to sell. They cost twice as much to retrofit than to get to begin with, so stock some. If a customer comes in and wants one without, you will have no problem whatsoever getting one locally.

One last thing. The eyes of the bold sees options, options, options because they mean solutions, solutions, solutions and they also mean profit. Being bold means finding things that you think are of value to the market and bringing them in and selling them. It is so much fun to sell something new like that. It gives you a reason to set up a display, or to take the unit out to prospects. It gives you a jolt of enthusiasm. Look for new ways--create some yourself and have the body company make them for you even if they have never done it before. Live on the edge. The fruit is on the limb. Get excited about seeing your operation through the eyes of the bold.

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