Coach Ken: It was the Worst of Times, It was the Best of Times

This was the famous quote from Charles Dickens’ historic novel Tale of Two Cities. The setting was Paris, France during the French Revolution. The French aristocracy was in turmoil and many of the royals were being executed as the common people rioted in the streets.

The commercial and fleet industry is in turmoil, but of a different kind. Skyrocketing inflation, demand outstripping supply, microchip shortages, and American business in the twilight zone as far as the “next steps.” You can look at the current situation in the commercial automotive industry as a tragedy or an opportunity. What I am going to write next might shock most people, but you will realize as you read this article that there has never been a better opportunity to grow your business than right now. Dealers who are following my strategy are finding endless opportunities to acquire new clients and assist their current customer base.

Many of the world’s greatest triumphs and discoveries came at the worst times for a simple reason – necessity! So, let’s get started.  I’m going to give a statement that reflects what most suppliers and manufacturers are doing, followed by the strategy we have already put in place at dozens of commercial dealers that has already proven successful.

#1 Problem: Most dealers due to a shortage of inventory have avoided calling on customers and prospects face-to-face, or even staying in communication!

#1 Action to Take: Set up appointments with your best customers and give them an honest assessment of what’s happening on the manufacturer and dealership level.

#1 Solution: Convince customers and prospects to “get in line early.” Even if they don’t need a vehicle right now, they still need to get in line or they will end up at the back of the line!

#2 Problem: The “Law of Demand and Supply” has kicked in big time!  When the product (work vehicles) is in limited supply, you can demand a higher price.  I have seen upfront grosses double and even triple.

#2 Action to Take: “Do the right thing!” Take care of your best customers with fair pricing and you will dramatically increase your loyalty.  Do let them know what has happened with increased pricing and let them know that you are trying to hold the line. Some increase is expected, but not double or triple normal upfront gross.

#2 Solution: You have created a customer for life!

#3 Problem: Many dealers have stopped attending industry meetings such as Home Builders Associations, Associated General Contractors, Chamber of Commerce, BNI (Business Network International), and even truck club meetings because they have limited inventory.

#3 Action to Take:  If the meetings are being conducted remotely on line (, don’t only log in, but offer solutions, and when the meeting is over pick up the phone and call the individuals who were on the Zoom call and make a face-to-face appointment. We are getting endless appointments.  If you don’t know what to say when you call, email me at [email protected] and I will send you the word track to use that has been ultra successful. If the meetings are being held face-to-face, set goals to meet two attendees (preferably business owners who drive work vehicles) and set an appointment!

#3 Solution:  Chances are they have not talked to a vehicle provider in months and you will stand out!

#4 Problem: Most dealers are not leveraging technology as a great marketing tool. The Internet has become a powerful tool that is not being leveraged.

#4 Action to Take: Start an electronic newsletter using services such as www.constantcontact, or You can produce a quality electronic newsletter filled with sales and marketing tips for your target audience.

#4 Solution: Email us at

[email protected] or [email protected] and we will either show you how to get started or we will actually do all the work for you at an extremely low cost. We have dozens of dealers that are using our service as I write. Also, don’t forget about Work Truck Solutions! Their Internet based system has proven to be a great way to broaden your marketing to the entire United States! Go to and hit the “Dealer Solutions” tab to get more information.

Believe me when I say there has never been a better time to grow your business than right now. Going back to the beginning of this article, it truly is the best time to start building relationships with new prospects and staying in touch with your existing customer base while your competition is waiting for things to get better!