COACH KEN: The Future is Today!

There is no denying we live in a “technology” driven world. Even our relationships with long time customers are being influenced by the computer age. How we stay in touch, how we deliver important information, even how we prospect cannot escape the grasp of the “digital age.”  I have a very strong belief that the most powerful technology tools are the ones that allow us to communicate with a ‘touch of the past’ woven into their core. I am going to review some of the technology tools I not only recommend but actually use on a daily basis. These tools have impacted my business in a positive way, and I know they will help you gain the “winning edge” in not only staying in touch with your customers and prospects, but do it in an “old fashion” way.  They are listed below in no order. Ready to supercharge your sales?

1. Customer Relationship Management Software: Most dealers use one of the major retail Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software tools.  Why? Not because it is a fit, but because they are already using it with the retail side of the business. I have two recommendations if you want to find a second alternative.  First let me make a statement.  I do not get paid for endorsing these products. In fact I have refused and kickbacks or money directly or indirectly to my company or myself personally.  I want to make these recommendations because they work. Here they are:

a. ACT- ACT by Swift Page has been around for 34 years and is designed for “Business to Business” activity.  I have personally used it for over 25 years starting with the old DVD disk version.  Now it is only available by using a “reseller” and subscribing for a monthly fee per subscriber or salesperson. I have been working with a company called ACTIV-HOSTING out of the Pacific Far West. Joe Lambert is the owner and you can reach him at 1-415-717-7669 or email joe@active-hosting.com. The website is http://www.active-hosting.com. Joe has been kind enough to work with me to customize ACT for the commercial truck world.  This is my number one recommendation.

b. Insightly- This is a very adaptable CRM that is priced at $49 per month per user. You can reach one of their advisors as 1-888-999-4039 and visit their website at www.insightly.com. It is cloud hosted (as are all current CRMs. The days of downloading a DVD are gone!).  Both ACT and Insightly come with a smartphone version for easy access anytime or even your home computer since both are cloud based. What I like about Insightly is it is very adaptable on a per user basis.

c. Salesforce- This is the number one selling CRM used in the world. It is adaptable to any business. Major companies like T-Mobile use Salesforce. Their customers total around 150,000 in the USA and overseas. They can be reached by calling 1-800-360-1154 or going to their website and filling out a form at www.salesforce.com.

d. Monday- This is very adaptable to fit any size business and the pricing is very affordable. There is a free version that has limited functionality and pricing varies from $24 per month for a minimum of three people to $48 per month minimum. Many major companies use Monday like Abbott Labs, Uber, Hulu, and Adobe. There is a free version for up to two people but again, many of the major features are not available. Go to www.monday.com and fill out their contact form for more information.

There are other CRM choices but these are our top recommendations. If you have been able to integrate commercial and fleet into your retail CRM that is obviously a path to take, if not give any of these a try for free.

2. Online marketing: Depending on how complicated you want to get there are quite a few choices. They fall into several categories from what we term “greeting card” software to a complete marketing program. Some of these can work together at a very low cost.

a. www.jacquielawson.com- The website is what we call an electronic greeting card service. Several of these exist but this site is by far the best and lowest cost. An annual membership is $20 per person for an unlimited database and unlimited email addresses.  I prefer the two year membership for only $30.  This is my personal favorite! They have numerous categories of electronic greeting cards from birthday and anniversary to Thank you and all major holidays.  These are animated cards with music and you can add a personal message to every card.  I use this software almost daily! A great follow up after selling a vehicle!

b. www.sendoutcards.com- They have by far the biggest variety of cards and offer more options such as sending gift baskets and even designing cards with your company logo.  IMPORTANT!  These are not electronic cards.  These are physical cards that are sent by the company through the US Mail. The cost varies by the number of cards that you send and postage is extra. They have an unlimited variety of cards and it takes all the work out of the card sending process. They require that you fill out a handwriting form so they can actually duplicate your handwriting!  Their base program is $37 per month for 30 cards (plus postage).  Monthly subscriptions can be as high at $247 per month for their highest plan.  I have never used more than the basic program.

c. Punchbowl- for a very low cost ($3.99 a month) you can customize your cards and add video. Unlimited options and very affordable. Their most expensive plan is $4.99 per month.

There are many other programs but these are my top three recommendations with www.jacquielawson being by far the best value and option. Let’s face it, we live in an electronic world and people are at their computers more hours a day than we can count. Take these services for a test drive.  They all offer demonstrations!  It is time to take your business to the next level.

Be sure to contact Ken Taylor for any of your Commercial Truck Training!