A Bit Of Advice To Make More Sales, Parts 1 & 2

This is a bit of advice to help body companies make more sales with their customers and potential customers. I'm sure it will apply to pretty much any sales wherever you are.

I'm actively managing a dealership as part of our company's consulting program, so I'm acting in the same capacity as a commercial truck department manager would. I did this for a lot of years prior to leaving the dealership business. Then, I went to work for a body company for 10 years. When I first started, I made a list of what I disliked about body companies and I made it my strategy to not do any of those things and to make it known to my prospects.

First on the list was this: Never show up without an appointment!

I tell you that this one rule served me so well it was flat amazing. I broke it on purpose twice in 10 years to see what would happen and it was terrible. It is true that I might be passing through an area and on the spur of the moment decide that I would like to stop in, and here is how I would handle that: I would pull over and park, contact the manager and say I was in the area and would it be okay if I stopped by? Frankly, about 50% of the time, they said it was not a good time and I said, thank you and I'll call you again soon. Then, I'm back on the road. No harm, no foul.

Yesterday was a very busy day in a number of ways. The phone was going, I had appointments offsite and much more. Three body reps just decided to stop by unannounced. Three! Not one phone call, not one appointment. That is just so rude it is ridiculous. In addition--and here's the most important part--it is not conducive to getting my business. I am buying. I would have loved to spend some time with them talking about different ideas to improve sales--ours and theirs. Instead, they got nothing and I got nothing.

Then, I go in early this morning to get a couple things faxed and in pops yet another body rep from a company 500 miles away. I was polite, but quick with him. See ya. I like the company and the products, but their image is fading quickly because their own rep lacks basic courtesy himself.

Where is the training for these folks? I hope you sales reps out there reading this are better. Make an appointment. Give common courtesy. Treat them as you would want to be treated yourself. The Golden Rule is Golden. You want my business? Make an appointment and lets focus together. Do not show up without permission. You would be better off to send an email blast and save the fuel and the mileage!


A bonus sales suggestion for body reps (or owners).

Pay attention. Don't take no for an answer. Make suggestions. Over and over if you have to, but make suggestions. I sold so many bodies that way it was like magic. Pay attention to their inventory. Write it all down. Know their inventory. It was my strategy as a body rep and teaching body reps. I used to know my clients inventory better than they did. You can ask them, they will tell you it was true. Why? I knew what to suggest to make another sale. I always knew what my company wanted to move, but I focused on what would move the needle for my client. I could give you tons of stories of things that got sold that way and made the dealer a bunch of money too.

In today's market, it is a piece of cake to get rid of a body rep. Just tell them, the market sucks, nothing is selling, you're not buying and they will be out of there in just a few minutes. Sad, but true. They're believing it because they are hearing it a lot.

Matter of fact, there is almost zero selling at all with any reps that have been by except maybe one. That's not good. I know they know how to sell, but they aren't selling. They've given up. I talked with one rep yesterday and did not hear one suggestion, or offer to buy anything. What's up with that? You gotta be an ant in this time. Find a way!

Start finding ways to help the dealer move the needle. If there is a manager who is skilled, that should be easier than you might think. For example, I am quite open to suggestions even with all the knowledge I have. I am always looking for an opportunity. So, show me some! You never know what might light my fire and solve your problem at the same time and you for sure won't know if you never try. Matter of fact, it is so sad that most body reps don't even bother sending out their inventory lists anymore. Of course, that is not a great selling strategy anyway, but throw enough noodles to the wall and some might stick.

See a dealer with an out of balance inventory? See how you can help them right it and help you at the same time. It may not be the best gross you'll make, but you'll make some gross! As an example, I happen to have 5 inherited Landscape dump bodies all at the same time. Two would be great, but five is ridiculous. I would be totally open to some creative solutions there. Swap out the body, sell a new body, make a deal, create a long-term customer!

Got a customer who has had a body for a very, very long time? Find a way to take that lemon and make lemonade! There is always a way. You might be totally blown away as to how that would help move the needle for your company! So you get a few bodies on the ground for a while. You're a body company! Get creative. Help the dealer move a product, create a fresh sale, create a replacement sale, create a friend and advocate. It isn't going to be that costly. Just get in there and get to work!

Here's one benefit to the body company: you might take the contractor body in exchange for buying a specialized substantially more expensive body! Maybe that would change the way you might look at it. Take off a contractor body, install a crane body with crane. . . let's see. . . that could work! And, you're getting a new product into the dealership that could potentially improve your bottom line in years to come. It's not about what's wrong, it's about what we can do to move forward--TOGETHER. No, it won't be free, but, it will move the needle.

I can give you a list of suggestions. I might do some in tomorrow's post. If any of you would like to contact me, I will be happy to give you specific suggestions for specific clients that may be of great benefit. Email me at tminion@commercialtrucksuccess.com or call me at 707-434-9967.

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