Starting Right in Commercial

A brand new sales consultant called me last week who was excited about his new position as an outside commercial sales professional but was given very little guidance from his dealership. With no direction he began searching the web and found our site. Unfortunately, he was on a 90 day draw and two weeks had already passed. His question to me said it all, “What can I do to get fast results?” Normally I would tell the caller, “This is not a 90-day business.” As usual the dealership was ingrained in a “retail” mentality where a huge marketing budget was driving in retail prospects versus no marketing on the commercial side of the business. Here was my response to this new but energetic young person (He was in his twenties). If you ever wanted a formula to get commercial sales going quickly this would be what I would recommend.

Step one: Get internal lists that would include orphaned customers (A retail or commercial person had left the dealership and sold to businesses), service but not sold (Commercial vehicles being serviced in your dealership but were bought somewhere else), and vendors of the dealership. All of these leads are people/companies that already have a relationship with the dealership.

Step two: Join at least two trade associations. In military terms we want a “target rich environment.” These meetings offer a chance to meet lots of business owners and get appointments more quickly. The key is you have to be fully engaged which means going to every meeting, getting on a committee and sponsoring events. Dealerships will spend thousands on retail marketing but don’t want to pay the membership fee to give a new sales person an opportunity to succeed. I know experienced commercial sales consultants that attribute over 60% of their unit sales coming from trade associations.

Step three: Join a business networking group like or The new sales person will meet business owners who are obligated to give the new sales person an opportunity to work together. Networking groups have one goal, to network and refer to each other.

Step four: Find local auto leasing companies and set up an appointment. Many of these companies sell commercial customers and are always looking for good outlets for work vehicles. It takes several meetings to build the relationship and it is critical that you become easy to work with during the buying process.

Step five: Locate “supply companies.” These are plumbing supply, electrical supply, lumber supply, etc. Schedule “customer appreciation events” on a Monday morning and have a drawing for a prize to collect contact information. Most of the vehicles that come in will be driven by technicians or drivers. The good news is they are not gatekeepers and will tell you whatever you ask, most importantly, who makes the vehicle buying decisions.

Step six: If you do all of the above you will make a sale in your first month. When you do get the names and contact information for your new customer’s vendors. If you want to know how to do this, just email me at and I will send you our system. I have asked over 180 business owners for their vendor list and have never been turned down. On average you will get anywhere from 10 to 20 companies. That gives you 10 to 20 new prospects every time you sell a truck or van!

I could give you six more ideas but if you follow these six steps you will sell vehicles within the first month and by 90 days you will most likely be up to 4 to 5 per month, hopefully enough to get your draw extended. There are several factors that will negate the above steps

  • Dealership management that does not understand the commercial sales process. It takes a lot longer to get started versus retail but with the right support you will have a new line of business.
  • Inventory is critical. You cannot survive in commercial off dealer trades. I recommend having three times the inventory you plan on selling in one month but no less than 20 vehicles in stock with 30 percent upfitted. An alternative is Go to their website or call me for details.
  • Keep your new commercial sales person motivated! This is a hard job and he or she will need your support.

One warning! If you just walk out the door and cold call you will fail. It’s okay to cold call but between appointment calls. In 20 cold calls you will be lucky to see one business owner. If you only got three appointments in a day you would be three times more effective and efficient. I make cold calls all the time but only between appointment calls. Follow the six steps above and provided you have the dealership managements support and patience as well as basic inventory you will have a good chance of succeeding. Live to win!

About Ken Taylor:

Ken Taylor’s training, consulting, and coaching have been used on individual, regional, and national business levels to achieve ultimate success! Known as an industry leader and as “America’s Corporate & Personal Coach,” Ken has consulted for companies like General Electric, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Wells Fargo, Ford, Commercial Truck Trader, and Equipment Trader.

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