By Christopher Lyon, NTEA Director of Fleet Relations
This article was published in the February 2018 edition of NTEA News.
Doing business and maintaining relationships with fleets is a key component to the success of your company. The biggest challenge is identifying the right contact with decision-making authority and understanding of the fleet’s internal needs. When working with small fleets, the identification process is normally simple. Contacting the organization directly with a few key questions should get you routed to the right person.
As fleet sizes increase, it is usually proportional to the area and territory they cover, as well as the complexity of their internal workings. As time is money on your end, cold-calling is not typically a productive method of finding the correct contact.
Most large vocational fleets have a web presence that has become more complete and inclusive — usually featuring a company directory with key contacts. This can be a great starting point. Additionally, some quality fleet contacts can be found using a reliable search engine (entering the organization’s name along with the words fleet manager is often successful).
While online, keep an eye out for awards. The industry has numerous fleet-centric awards that typically list the entity as well as a fleet contact. This may not be the final contact, but it can serve as a foot in the door within an organization.
Another strategy is to monitor the news. Fleet managers may be quoted for their successes and initiatives within their fleets. Further, industry-related news outlets often report on seasoned fleet professionals switching organizations.
LinkedIn is a great resource for the professional community. Like news outlets, it can be a platform to connect with others. And, after doing so, contact information often becomes available.
As digital as the world has become, don’t overlook face-to-face interaction. While cold-calling is largely a thing of the past, local networking events remain valuable. Many organizations have regional meetings — and the individuals you’re seeking may be attending.
Another opportunity is The Work Truck Show®, held March 6–9, 2018, at the Indiana Convention Center (Indianapolis, Indiana). Taking a few minutes on the exhibit floor to learn who you’re speaking with and making personal connections can be extremely valuable for building your customer and prospect contact lists. With a little research and planning, rather than spending hours making cold calls, you can often get ahead.
For more fleet information, contact Chris Lyon or visit ntea.com/fleetresources.