There’s no question that while some areas of building construction and maintenance have seen recent expansion, other sectors continue to be stagnant. The Great Recession is largely over, but recovery has come somewhat slower for our industry than others and the economy, even as it grows, will have normal cycles with ebbs and flows. The smartest dealerships can actually continue to grow market shares during down times. You can, too!!
One of the hardest situations for commercial sales is when the market begins to contract. Our first reaction is to hope that it’s only going to last a short time. Unfortunately, hope is not a good strategy. Hope will not sell units. Hope will not grow market share.
The second reaction many dealerships have during a downturn is to cut marketing and advertising. I’m in the business of advertising, but I think I can ask from a purely pragmatic point of view: if you eliminate the methods that bring in prospective buyers, how will you connect with them? You simply won’t. Cutting your way to growth doesn’t work.
In fact, during market slowdowns, smart dealerships can emerge with huge gains in shares. Here are several observations I’ve made about dealerships that succeed during slower periods:
- They make more outside sales calls.
- They work the heck out of their Rolodex and/or CRM to drive incremental business from current customers.
- They increase their marketing just as their competitors are reducing theirs. It’s as if the smart dealers’ ad dollars are working twice as hard.
- They treat each lead as if it were gold – responding immediately to missed calls or emails. A four-hour wait in response time generally results in a missed sale because the prospect has moved on.
- They lean on their manufacturer’s rep for support and ask them to come with them on sales calls.
When times are really good, everybody generally thrives no matter what. However, when times get a little dicey, the dealers who act strategically are the ones who can come out of the downturn with increased market share and customer count. Be that dealer. Own your market.
About Ken Taylor: