Cup o’ Joe: Super Dealer
I have never been part of what I would call a “Super Dealer,” although I am blessed to work with and for a very remarkable commercial truck dealer over the last 8 of my 28 years in this business. By Super Dealer, I’m talking about the ones that always got the kudos for moving seriously huge numbers of Ford units. Reality is, I don’t think I would find that very inspiring: selling the “same” hundred/thousand units to fifty different drop ship codes doesn’t sound very exciting. Further, the margins on these are more like escrow business in real estate. Just paper pushing. Not my thing.
What I do like is working with and helping others. I have had more than one occasion where someone I knew in the fleet/commercial segment of another dealership had something in the works, but left the business, and passed it to me. It’s not unusual for us to be working on something that looks like it will gel, mostly to keep the funnel full, but it’s not on paper yet and thus not on the dealer’s radar. Staying in touch with other TruckPros, and being helpful when you can, can deliver unlikely resource that has paid huge dividends more than once in my career.
My old G.M. at my first dealership moved around, and over time landed at a different OEM dealership as their fleet/commercial manager. He didn’t stay long, but made me aware that, literally “tomorrow,” a transit company was deadlined for a five-year contract to supply ride-share Econolines (or competitors). I had not received notice of the bid, as I was a little far away from the transit authority, but I had bid on their business while at a nearby dealership years earlier. After spending all night (literally) preparing the bid, I submitted it. I turned out to be the bid-winner and sold about 30 Econolines PER YEAR for five years!
Another time, a friend of mine, working at another Ford dealership left in frustration, but while leaving, a body builder who he collaborated with needed a bid for 20 F550s. They called him, he called me, and was happy with the generous spiff he received for giving me the opportunity to supply these.
Having good relationship with your nearby distributors is another golden opportunity. I’ve had the advantage of getting referrals from a number of bodybuilders/distributors who were approached directly by an end-user who started out deciding on the body they wanted, then needed to find a Ford dealer. I’m not the only one any of these bodybuilders referred business to, but the fact remains that when we treat each other as human beings, and respect the reputation we build as being transparent, reliable, and trustworthy, these unlikely resources pop up from time to time more often.
Have a cup, send me your experience/horror story. I’ll keep your name out of it, change names to protect you (FordPro protection program), share your tip with others…and send you $50 in Starbucks cards!