How to Optimize Truck Dealerships in a Down Market

The changing landscape of the economy can be scary. No industry is immune to it. Being able to maintain and even grow sales in down times can be the difference between success or failure. 
The country is currently recovering from a sizable financial crisis. While things have certainly gotten better, some are still feeling the sting of the collapse. Knowing how quickly things can change has made everyone more cautious with their money and continues to influence daily purchasing decisions. 
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Optimization Requires a New Strategy

Truck FleetJust last year it was estimated 8,610 heavy-duty truck orders were going to be cancelled. That would have been the highest truck order cancellation rate since September of 1995. Thankfully those predictions turned out to be wrong, but how would dealerships fare if a slump in sales on that scale actually hit them? What has worked for dealerships in the past may not necessarily work in today’s market.
So, what’s the answer? If truck sales do drop significantly, how can dealerships make up for lost income? The answer is to protect and grow the other area of their business: parts and service.
By focusing more on the sale of parts and following up with the drivers/fleets for servicing it can take the pressure off to sell trucks at the rates seen in the past while still maintaining revenue. In the end, no matter what the sales numbers are, high or low, trucks already out on the road will need to be maintained and stay in safe operating condition.
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Parts and Service Sales, Driven by Data

In order to shift more focus to the sale of parts and service, you have to first know who to target. Utilizing information and refining searches with RigDig data can help identify and locate very specific clientele.
There is an old expression: “Time is money.” Today that rings true more than ever. Minimizing wasted time, effort, and funding is something that every business across the spectrum looks to accomplish. One way dealerships looking to grow the parts and servicing aspect of their business can easily accomplish this is to target and pursue those that have a high probability of purchasing from you.
For example, if a dealership specializes in a handful of brands, they can immediately eliminate any drivers/fleets that operate vehicles requiring parts incompatible with the dealership’s offerings.

But the Targeting Can Become Much More Specific Than That

The age of the truck is a good place to start. A number of parts need replacing and/or servicing at regular intervals. Knowing the age of trucks out on the road can help gauge if a particular truck (or company’s fleet) is due for servicing. Making contact to offer services just as they are needed is a tremendous way to convert prospects to customers.
Fleets with Active 5 Year Old Trucks

Source: RigDig Business Intelligence

Another method would be to track citations or violations. If a certain fleet seems to have a high number of violations with their trucks in a certain area, worn tires for example, you now know exactly what to offer that fleet. In the United States, 56% of all inspection violations are related to vehicle maintenance.
Man Working on Truck
Specific truck of haul type is another area that can be used to target for maintenance. Certain rigs, such as refrigerated trucks, need specialized care. If your dealership doesn’t offer that care, those prospects can be excluded from targeting. However, if it is something you offer . . . you now know exactly what kind of care their truck needs; and coupling that with truck age you know the time frame the servicing is needed.
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Final Thoughts on Successful Dealership Optimization

Diversifying the services that you offer and accentuating what you’re able to provide to potential customers can drive profit margins and help to offset the downturn of the truck purchasing market.
Data from RigDig can be configured and used to target very specific groups of drivers and fleets. Honing in on these high value targets and providing them exactly what they need, exactly when they need it, will optimize a dealership’s potential for profit and future growth.
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