Clients come to us all the time. Many have a handle on what they want in their vehicle. Many do not. They have an idea, but they do not want to build the wrong configuration.
Our job is to decipher the information and help build a functional vehicle that will efficiently make them money.
Where do we start? <Insert joke about “the beginning” here.>
I try to do a needs analysis with the client. This is easy when we have done business together before. However, when we are just meeting, this is often met with various levels of resistance. So, the key is to investigate not interrogate. We will get to that more in a minute.
The reason for the questions, are to make sure you have thought or know all of the options available. Our clients are well educated in the art of configuring vehicles. Some clients way over-think it, and some just haven’t had enough experience in what is available. This usually results in them spending too much. So, we take more time to figure out what the vehicle will be used for. That way we can make sure that the vehicles are as versatile as possible. The drivers using the vehicle can make one trip instead of multiple trips, or take one vehicle instead of two or three vehicles. That way they save on fuel, maintenance, and as much overhead as possible. So, why the extra expenses? To save you more money overall.
Clients often get interrogated. Why? Why? Why? The sales person sounds more like an inquisitive 5-year-old instead of a guide. That is all we are in sales. Guides. We gather information and relay suggestions so people can make educated decisions. If you are selling, then you are trying too hard. Just guide the clients through the options and they will naturally want to do business with you and always come back for more. So, investigating and asking questions that will help a client understand WHY we are asking the basic questions will help everyone succeed. More often than not we have to educate them on what their friend did, or thought the friend did is not exactly what we need to do to be the most efficient and effective.
If you have an electrician and he has been working in a low roof van for years. We point out the lost time when your electrician has knee problems because he has to crawl in and out of his overflowed van. If we buy a little bigger van that has a high roof, now the employee can walk in and out of the van. Have more area to store parts and therefore find the parts quicker, or have them at all at once instead of needing to make multiple trips. Plus, with us based in the Northwest, it rains. They now have a working mobile canopy area to assemble parts and pieces for the job site.
I stopped trying to sell vehicles years ago. Ironically, people buy more vehicles every year from my team and me than the year prior. They call us, and we do not harass them with “you wanna buy something? No? How about now?”
We as a dealer we rely on a lot of outside information. We gather that information from the manufacturers like RAM. I use their RAMBodyBuilder.com pages constantly. As well as, the upfit manufacturers like Knapheide and their detailed specification pages. Plus, the expertise of our local upfitters, like Allied Body Works. The NTEA (National Trucking and Equipment Association) is a vital resource for all of us. So, together with all of this combined knowledge of previous successes and failures, we can help save you time and money.
We could all use more time and money.
Working on the work truck side of a dealer for 15 plus years as allowed me the experience of witnessing plenty of the successes and failures. Being on the cautious side of life, thankfully the failures I have endured are minor learning experiences. I have had to tell more than a few people that we will not build their project for legal reasons. Liability to a dealership is a real thing. We never want to put a vehicle out there on the road that we know will eventually injure someone. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people that ask me to turn a blind eye to these, and I gladly tell them no.
Honesty and integrity are something that can be easily earned, and easily lost. However, once you lose it is gone. Clients may give us a second chance, but the likelihood is slim to none. So, every opportunity is appreciated and taken very seriously.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. If you have more specific questions feel free to contact me. I will do my best to help direct you on the right path.