Dealerships depend on trucking fleets to keep their business going. Whether it’s selling them new (or used) rigs to populate their fleet, or servicing a fleet’s trucks for their drivers, without fleets coming back to dealerships they simply can not survive.
The first part of that equation is fairly straightforward. Fleets need trucks. As long as your prices are competitive and your staff is courteous and helpful, you have a good shot at landing a sale. Especially if you have a pre-existing relationship with the fleet. But big-ticket items and purchases alone won’t keep a dealership afloat.
This is where the second key aspect of the dealership comes into play. The parts and service department. Unfortunately for dealerships, it’s not unheard of for the truckers coming in for servicing to be in a bad mood. Whether it’s for routine servicing or for something more unexpected and substantial, any amount of time spent getting a truck serviced translates to lost money not only for the driver, but for the fleet as well.
You depend on fleets coming back to you over and over to keep your business thriving; and fleets depend on your dealership to supply them with quality rigs and top-notch service and repairs. That’s why customer service and quality relationships is so important to dealerships just like yours.
Your dealership and brand give you credibility and fleets (and their drivers) peace of mind.
Since I began working at Randall-Reilly I’ve had the unique privilege to visit, tour, and talk with employees of different dealerships of varying sizes in different locations. Each does things a little differently and has tried to dig out its own little niche’ in the market to compete. One common theme that stands out to me though is the pride and confidence in dealership brands. Every dealership I have toured has been packed with people certain that they can provide a better experience and service than their competitors.
So, what do sales and the parts and service departments need to do to help establish that credibility and keep fleets coming back?
The Sales Team
On the sales front it’s important that fleets know your employees are knowledgeable and forthright with information about the trucks you have to offer. Buying a new or used truck is not a cheap proposition and can be a big decision, especially for those smaller fleets trying to compete with the big boys. Gaining a fleet’s trust and confidence to continually buy from you is a major victory.
Parts and Service
Then there’s parts and service. Whether you are part of a state-wide or national chain of dealerships or a much smaller operation, the one thing you have in common is that you want fleets and their drivers to believe in the quality of your work and trust that when you fix something, it’s done right. And if for some reason there are more problems with it down the line you’ll stand behind your work and make it right.
Over time you can build a strong relationship of loyalty and respect by being honest and doing all you can to meet fleet needs.
Use data to build your client base.
A great sales team coupled with an effective parts and service department can help ensure you hang on to existing clients, but how can you grow your client base? There is a massive amount of data available to you that can help you narrow down and target fleets based on a variety of criteria.
Find and target your perfect prospect
No one knows your business better than you. Using the data available allows you to find and target the fleets that would work best for you. The database allows you to refine and narrow searches for prospects based on things like:
- Fleet Size – Search and target fleets of a specific size.
- Equipment Age – Information compiled from UCC-1 filings can tell you a prospective fleet’s age.
- Location – Target fleets in your operating area with geo-targeting.
Want to focus your efforts on smaller fleets to build and cultivate a relationship with the growing fleet? Target your efforts based on fleet size.
This knowledge can help you know not only when a fleet will be in the market for new trucks, but it also allows you to anticipate when their current trucks will be due for servicing and/or new parts.
Don’t waste time blindly pursuing fleets that are too far out of your area. Input your operating radius and see exactly who runs trucks in your area.
If you know what you are after you can build up the perfect client base for your dealership based on your strengths and abilities using data.