Through the Eyes Of the Bold, Part 27

More on commercial truck promotions and partnering.

We've now done strong promotions on service bodies and flatbeds. Now, I want to move on to van bodies. But, before we do that, I want to mention that looking at this as a big picture, there are really three basic body types we concentrate on: service, flatbed and van body. There are many variations of those bodies. For example, a contractor body is just a variation of a flatbed. A plumber body is a variation of a service body and some are a variation of a van body, a steel dump is a variation on a flatbed and so on. So the service, flatbed and van body are my promotional base line.

My experience with van bodies is that they sell a little better in the fall through winter time frame than the spring and summer. As a result of this, I am going to take advantage of that time to spike the sales even more.

As before, we will take a promo level of about 20 units as a package which is serious motivation for the body company to assist me in having a very successful promotion. At the same time, we are building a very strong relationship with them and they are excited about our bold thinking and it all works very well--it's a partnership--win-win-win. The customers benefit from this promotion as well.

So, we take 25% as our price leaders units. With van bodies, the single rear cutaway and the dually cutaway are both popular, so I will mix up the 25% according to how I perceive this mix on the road. From my experience, I will take 2 single rear 10' and 3 dually 14', which is the most popular dually model. These will be plain units with no options.

Next, I want step up pieces to be 50% of the mix. In this case, I would add some options like side door curbside access, interior shelving package, FRP panels instead of aluminum, E-track with bars, 96" with furniture attic, liftgates (at least one like Tommy Aluminum Railgate, and standard Tommy style gate), translucent roof, and so on. We want value added options that the customer isn't going to find everywhere they go. To make our promo work as the others, we want to negotiate some free options or pricing is such a way that we can price a van body with a couple of options very near the stripped unit, creating extreme value in the customers mind. Make sure and have upgrades on single rear and dually in approximately the same mix as the price leaders. I would also add a few 12' dually on cutaway which I have found to be a very good selling piece that almost nobody stocks. Make sure it is on the 138" chassis, not the 158", otherwise it defeats the purpose.

The remaining 25% will be exciting alternatives that the customer may have never seen. Mix in some tilt cab models and go for longer bodies on those. The 16' and 20' can be very good here. Here's a good place to include the Supreme Vanscaper that we highlighted a short time ago or something along that line. Order some tuck-away style liftgates on heavier GVWR chassis. If you are using a company that does van bodies and makes a plumber style body out of that, here is a good place to put one or two of those as upgrades. Take a look at all the options that the van body company has to offer and see what you think are really interesting to show off that you never see on dealers lots. Get creative and create excitement.

Here's a good rule of thumb that you might shoot for in the way of assistance from the supplier with an order of this size. Shoot for 10% of the dollar value of the total order. You want this not in dollars of discount, but in dollars of accessories which has a margin for them. Ten percent of the total order in cash may not be reasonable for them, nor would you order more than 25% in stripped units which have less markup than units with options. It has to be fair to both parties. You don't want to take the body company to the cleaners, you want to partner with them by having them get a sizable order where they help you to move that quickly in hopes you will come back again and again with similar thinking. Play fair and be reasonable and you will succeed nicely. If you are hard on the body company, they may do the deal, but you are at the same time destroying an otherwise good relationship. If it isn't win-win, it should be no deal.

When you are aggressively marketing like this, it creates excitement all around. It creates excitement with prospects, the body company partners, and for your own team as well. Get excited about all the possibilities of partnering with your suppliers to create strong, effective, and profitable promotions. Plan your promotions well in advance so you can include all the details that make it effective. I recommend that you plan them about a year in advance. Advance planning is very important to make sure that the pool company has the units you need when you need them with the options that you want on them. We'll talk more about this later.

You are the genius behind your dealership's extremely successful commercial truck department. You know how to put together exciting promotions and you are constantly promoting something and continually growing. You see your whole operation through the eyes of the bold with courage and confidence. Rock on!

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