By Christopher Lyon, NTEA Director of Fleet Relations
This article was published in the December 2018 edition of NTEA News.
Understanding what’s important to your customers and knowing how they use their trucks and equipment can position you to better serve them. It’s just as vital to know individuals as well as organizations as a whole. The more you can listen and learn, the greater value and efficiency you can offer during your sales calls.
Making the best use of time
As with any business, time is a commodity. Fleet managers often do not have a lot to spare, so keeping sales calls on point is critical. Structure them in a way that customers and prospects derive value for their time. Show interest in their fleet, keep up with new developments on regulatory issues that may affect them and be available to offer solutions to their ever-growing needs.
Another value-added service is making sure customers are using the right equipment. You may discover fleets utilize their equipment in a completely different way than you originally thought, which could mean reduced efficiency. Once you understand customers’ actual needs, you are in a position to address them. With the data, you can make recommendations to improve fleet productivity.
Maintaining customer expectations
Going beyond sales visits, it’s important to keep channels of effective communication open. Be proactive in how you meet and manage their expectations. This is why it’s important to know your fleet customers. Taking the extra time to understand how they use equipment enables you to go beyond sales; it gives you the opportunity to strengthen a working relationship and become a solutions provider.
Alternatives can be beneficial
Customer-provided spec’s may not address the root of their problem. Fleets may not be aware of new products or technologies, or may rely on internal spec’s that are rarely updated. This gives you the chance to offer alternatives because of your position and knowledge base of new products.
When suggesting alternatives, it’s important to demonstrate the benefits. Fleet managers don’t have time to compare the alternative to their original specification. Ensuring they have this information up-front can make all the difference. For example, alternatives often have a higher acquisition cost. Providing data on total cost of ownership and life-cycle cost analysis could go a long way toward helping make the sale.
For more fleet information, visit ntea.com/fleetresources.