Starting The Process
Have you been debating whether or not to expand your client base to include municipal and government entities? While this may seem like the perfect way to expand your profits, pursuing this type of customer is not for every outdoor power equipment dealership. Many dealers do not have the staff, equipment, and time to successfully roll out a plan to follow up on this type of business. Like most business projects, it pays to start slow and ramp up if you start to see success. If your business can handle the new influx of work, then here are some tips to successfully engage potential municipal and government clients.
The first step is to figure out the cost of the initiative, which includes people, equipment, gas, and lost time for the person in the store if your person is already an employee working inside. Try to gauge a potential return – how would success look for your dealership? X sales per month? Y dollars in revenue? Z new customers?
Get to Know Your Prospective Customer
Of course, it helps to know people and have a foot in the door. Some people have this; some don’t. Being known around the community is a big help. If you or your dealership have limited brand awareness, getting in the door will be much harder, but it can be done. Be persistent and communicate consistently about how your products and services can help.
Once you have the meeting booked, perform some due diligence. Ask people around you if they are familiar with the business and employees that work there. Do a search online to learn more; be sure to check out LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to see if they have a profile and what interests them. A little research can go a long way.
Maximize the Meeting
Get them talking. Ask a lot of questions about their business and current struggles. Then, present how your outdoor power equipment product and service offering will solve their problems and make their life easier.
When approaching a large buyer, the first person to go out into the field from your dealership should be someone who knows the product. They should be an expert, preferably one of your better salespeople on the sales floor. Having strong knowledge of the product line is crucial to building confidence in your dealership's ability to provide quality, reliable service.
Also, bring the product with you; don’t wait for a potential buyer to set up a demo. If you get a meeting, save yourself time by bringing the demo to the prospect all in one swoop. It's important to reduce the sales cycle and increase the prospect's interest in the product line while you have their attention.
Increase Your Chances of Success
It is all about building relationships! Having a dedicated salesman outside the dealership for the length of time needed (at least once a week) is a must. Also, OPE dealers can ask their existing customers for referrals. This is an effective way to get your foot in the door with a new prospect. Additionally, you can look into programs that are meant to support your initiatives and give you a leg up with the brands you carry, such as bids, fleets, promotions, national accounts and state contracts, just to name a few.
Understandably taking on the new market of municipal and government entities can seem out of your dealership's reach. Luckily, each of KPM's Territory Managers is an expert in helping OPE dealerships grow. We can help you go down this path if you think it's right for you.