Coach Ken: The Perfect Storm
When climate conditions are at a certain point in tropical waters the weather is perfect for tropical cyclones, also called hurricanes, that are of such a destructive force that the storm destroys thousands of homes and structures, as well as human life. In the business world we have just experienced our own “hurricane” of destruction. Covid 19 led to a dramatic slowdown in the commercial market, coupled with an extreme shortage of inventory based on not only the pandemic, but also microchip shortages and a shortage of parts. We are only now in the process of recovering. It is amazing how one missing part in a chain of events influences every step in the chain.
We are at the end of that chain of events called a pandemic. Even when things seem to be getting back to normal, there is a psychological after effect that can impact sales and even relationships. Many salespeople stopped making contacts and are in many cases “starting over.” Where are you or your dealership in this “restart” on the fleet and commercial side? If you never stopped performing the activities that create success, congratulations. But, if you are suffering from the “post pandemic sales blues,” here are a few things you can do!
- Have a meeting with your entire commercial and fleet department. Have each person bring a list of current customers with key decision makers identified.
- Assign each team member (and you!) to call five customers each day, five days a week. This is a simple conversation:
a. Talk with your key contact and say the following: “I was thinking about you today and wanted to touch base to see how you guys are doing.”
b. “What are some of the issues you are currently facing in your industry?”
c. “What can we do to support you?”
d. “Would love to set up a brief meeting to talk about some things we are doing to help in today’s marketplace. Is there a good day and time for you?”
- Set up a system for maintaining regular contact, such as an electronic newsletter or bulletin, that keeps you “top of mind” during their work week. We actually do this for hundreds of dealerships nationwide with great results. They don’t know we exist and you get all the credit!
- Make sure you continue to attend trade shows and association meetings. This is a great way to not only stay in touch with current clients but also pick up new prospects. I have found that it is also a great way to get new appointments. It is hard for someone to turn you down when you are face-to-face with them. I use a very simple strategy, here it is:
a. Have the executive director introduce you to a specific attendee. He or she is more than happy to do this and, in most cases, will actually give you an endorsement!
b. Have questions prepared that are focused on them, not you! These are simple questions like:
i. “How long have you been in business?”
ii. “So, how did you get started?”
iii. What are some of the obstacles you are facing in today’s economic environment?”
iv. The most important question, “I’d love to visit your operation sometime – would that be ok?” (They always say, “Come by anytime.”) Yes, that’s called an appointment!
v. Always have brochures or handouts with you in addition to your business card.
There are always opportunities to grow your business, even in difficult times. It just takes positive thinking, a little preparation, and having an attitude of “How can I help!” I’m confident that you will see quick results from taking the steps mentioned in this article. Why? We’ve been following this formula for over twenty years with great success. Make 2023 your best year ever!
Commercial Truck Training