Trying Times

Thomas Paine, the American revolutionary patriot wrote, “There are the times that try men’s souls.” The new nation was experiencing the drive toward independence against overwhelming odds. It seems we are in one of those difficult periods in both our nation and our world. The Covid 19 Pandemic has killed millions, and every state and country has taken different approaches.  I am not a doctor or viral guru, but I do know a few things about sales and marketing and even more about “relationships.”

Now is not the time to “shut down” or “wait it out.”  Now is the time to be hopeful and innovative. Many of our clients are experiencing record months due to having a plan and attitude of caring, hope, and action. Doe Zantamata, an author, artist and “happiness guru, wrote:

“It is only in our darkest hours that we may discover the true strength of the brilliant light within ourselves that can never, ever, be dimmed.”

Now is the time to be creative, passionate, and focused. I decided to make this article about taking advantage of difficult times to grow and profit.  Here are a few pointers that our many friends, clients, and partners are doing to create order out of chaos, and success out of failure.

  1. Stay in touch! I am recommending that you get in contact with five current and past clients every day. I had a call from one of our dealers who was following this strategy and they picked up a 12 unit order!  This is a simple call just to check in and make sure your customer is okay!
  2. Start a newsletter: I recommend no less than monthly sends to clients and prospects. WARNING! Don’t make it about sales, instead add value such as tips on improving fuel mileage, maintenance tips, sales and marketing ideas and even motivational stories.  One of our clients and friends whom we do his newsletter for him, Steve Gardner, had a prospect call to order three trucks. He made it clear that the reason he was ordering what the “Motivational Moment” newsletter we write for Steve that goes to his clients and prospects. The prospect shared the newsletter with his entire staff and felt obligated to give Steve a chance.
  3. Participate in “Zoom” video conference calls.  Most of the associations and organizations are conducting meetings online.  I highly recommend that after the meeting you email participants/members and set up a one-on-one appointment via Zoom to start new relationships.
  4. Right now, is a great time to conduct a “fleet analysis.” This is the opportunity to review your client or prospects fleet of vehicles and ask questions regarding age, mileage, and condition of their vehicles.  I have a “Fleet Analysis” form that you can use for this very productive opportunity. Email me at [email protected] and I will send it to you.
  5. Rewrite your business plan: Or write it for the first time! A great plan should include not just goals but detailed activities with a timetable for completion for each activity. (Yes, we have the form! It’s yours for the asking!)
  6. Review your marketing plan as well: This is often the biggest weakness of commercial and fleet dealers.  What works on the retail side of the automotive business is very different than what works in our world. Social media, Internet marketing, leveraging meetings and outside events are just a few aspects of a great marketing plan.
  7. Now is a great time to further your knowledge: Sales, marketing, organization, and technical knowledge are all keys to your success. There is an old saying, “knowledge is power.”  I disagree, “knowledge turned to action is true power.” When you learn a new skill or increase your technical knowledge, put the new knowledge to use as soon as possible.  It will be ingrained in your mind.
  8. Thank you cards: This is one of the most powerful tools in sales! Handwritten thank you cards are a lost art! Keep them with you in your organizational folder and have sheets of postage stamps as well.  The best time to fill out a thank you card is as soon as you can, otherwise you will get back to the dealership and have a dozen things to do.  One of the most powerful talents in the world is a sense of urgency.  When your prospect or customer gets the card one or two days later, it creates the “Wow Factor.”
  9. Sign up for I use this electronic card service.  It only costs $20 per year for unlimited sends of beautiful, animated and musical cards for all occasions.  Another “Wow Factor.”
  10. Start a “Personal Profile” on all your prospects and customers. Building relationships includes the “Personal Touch.” We have a profile you can use that includes numerous categories such as birthdates, anniversaries, favorite teams, restaurants, etc. Don’t recreate the wheel, just email me at [email protected] and we will send you the form.

There is a lot more, but these are great starters.  I live by a saying, “The road to the extra mile is never crowded.” Get on that road as soon as you can, you will not be sorry.  It is a wonderful journey filled with success and new relationships!