Through the Eyes Of the Bold, Part 29

We'll take a break from partnering and promotions for a moment to mention trade shows and how they can benefit you.

It is important to make time and plan the expense for a little travel around the country each year to attend some trucking shows where you can find new suppliers, see new products in real life, see truck manufacturers and aftermarket suppliers. I'll give you a few example of some shows that may be beneficial to you and you can pick and choose the ones you think would be most valuable.

A good source for finding shows that are relevant to your needs is TruckingInfo.com. Probably one of the best shows to make sure and attend is the NTEA (National Truck Equipment Association) Work Truck Show coming up March 4-6, 2009 in Chicago. If you only attended one, this would be it. The SEMA show every year in November is a huge event, but focused mainly on aftermarket suppliers. You may still get substantial benefit if you desire to attend this. Plus for those selling bigger trucks, the TruckShow.com website will help you with two shows yearly, the Great West Truck Show in Las Vegas and the Great American Trucking show in Dallas. You can look to the manufacturers for what shows they attend. Here is a list from Ford.

My advice: make plans to attend the NTEA Work Truck Show in Chicago in March. Make plans now so you can find a place to stay! I assure you that the ideas and products you see will earn you far more money than it costs to go.

Back to partnering and promotions. Our last post referred to working with your pool partners to order inventory the way you want it and how that can benefit you in a huge way by controlling your flooring expenses very effectively.

Here's another partnering idea that will help your Parts and Service departments to participate and that will create stronger relationships in house. Get one or more of your suppliers to help you begin stocking some accessories and upgrades that can be installed by your Service department or sold through the Parts department and installed by the end user. For example, you have some plain flatbeds in stock, but you have some underbed boxes and upper bed boxes in stock and on display in a location like a parts display area or a separate display area where customers can see them and make choices. They can buy the flatbed and have the box mounted this afternoon, tomorrow, or by appointment.

This benefits the supplier, the Service and Parts department, you and the end user. It benefits the supplier by selling the items to your store, the Parts department by taking the order and the Service department from the installation. It benefits you by having this tool available to demonstrate your commitment to the market and how you can quickly add value to the customers purchase. It benefits the end user in that they get to make the choice visually and customize their truck they way they want. Everyone wins. All you need is a little space for a display, a little space for some inventory and a little training for Service and Parts. I think the benefits are huge and benefits the entire store. Just think what would happen when you expand that to a whole upgrade showroom of accessories!

You can seek assistance with a supplier to help you get into this market. Maybe they will give you special terms that will make it easy to get in. Maybe they will give you some special deals; e.g., buy four get one free, etc. You can market these as part of your overall marketing. Even if Parts and Service gets the deal, it still benefits you. If they aren't benefiting, you won't have their enthusiasm for very long.

Let's say that you like Scelzi's flatbed products the best and so, when it comes to flatbeds, a very high percentage of your flatbed stock is Scelzi. So, work a deal with Scelzi to supply you with their underbed boxes already painted and ready to mount. Get a selection of them into your display area and a reasonable amount for backup stock. Now, you're ready to market them with your flatbed sales. In addition, previous flatbed owners will be able to see the display when they come in for service and then service and parts can benefit some more. Maybe there are other accessories that Scelzi has that would be good for you to stock. How about vise brackets, extra shelves, door shocks, lights and so on. You probably will want a few of their stakeside gates in stock so you can quickly sell and mount those.

So service and parts makes a few bucks, the suppliers makes a few, you make a few and the end user saves time and gets what they want. It's all good. This is bold, but we could take this up several levels and really go for it. Well, I'll let you choose your own boldness. The possibilities are many.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Good write-up, but you didn't mention the largest heavy duty trucking show, the Mid-America Trucking Show.