By Debbie Frakes, Managing director at Winsby Inc.
The ways to reach potential heavy equipment customers are constantly changing. But how do you know whether or not the new methods are worth trying?
For starters, trust companies that specialize in marketing, the ones that are constantly testing new approaches and programs and measure the results. Below are some of the methods that are already working well for heavy equipment dealers.
Send emails regularly to remind your customers you are ready to sell, service or rent whatever equipment they need, whenever they need it. In the email, include information about your equipment, services, parts and showcase something new or unusual. Also, provide a reason to buy now with a promotion that has an expiration date.
Not everyone opens every email, but over six months, more than 80 per cent of the contacts on the email list will likely opened at least one email. Even if they don’t open the email, they will see your company’s name, which is a reminder for the next time they have a need.
A good email has relevant information that is well written, carefully designed and is programmed and tested so it appears correctly in any type of email system or mobile device.
Be sure to follow requirements of the Canadian Anti-Spam Laws (CASL) when sending emails. CASL covers any commercial message that is sent in an electronic format, including emails and texts. CASL allows you to send emails only to recipients who have consented to receive correspondence. A customer who has purchased a product or service from you within the last 24 months is assumed to have provided implied consent to receive emails.
The best approach is to hire an expert to make sure your emails look professional and is familiar with the requirements for sending commercial emails to prevent a potentially costly mistakes.
Identify online visitors
Website tracking programs are now available that provide details on who has visited your website and which pages they viewed. After you receive notification that someone has visited your site, you can call them to ask how you can help.
You should have a form on all pages that visitors can fill out to request information. Automated messages can be sent out at predetermined intervals, with the content based on the pages they visited. These messages can be text emails, personalized from a sales person or manager or emails preprogrammed to send on an established schedule. See who opens them, and follow up with a phone call.
Monitor inbound calls for training
The close rate for heavy equipment parts on inbound calls typically increase from 20 per cent to 80 per cent when the calls are monitored to find out exactly what the parts representatives are saying on the phone to customers. A few changes in phrases coupled with proactive training may make a huge difference in your parts sales.
Customer satisfaction surveys
It’s important to have a program in place that routinely monitors your customer service, so you’re able to identify problems quickly. Timely phone surveys by an outside organization are the best way to determine how your customers felt about their recent experience with your company. More important than gathering customer surveys is how you address any problems. Often an unhappy customer can be converted into a loyal one by offering a solution to the problem.
When someone calls for a quote, ask for basic information like name, company, phone number and email address. All your online forms should include an email as a required field. When they aren’t busy, have your staff call through membership lists for the types of organizations that should be buying from you to identify decision makers and obtain their email addresses. Establish a process to add the new customers and prospects to your email list as quickly as possible.
There are still times that customers don’t have Internet access and would like to see if you have something they need. Make sure you develop informative, easy-to-read brochures and make them available through your website and on the counter at all your locations.
Not only is video the fastest way to put a face to your name, it can also help drive new traffic to your website. From product overviews to operation tips, adding videos to your website engages your customers and attracts new prospects. Videos should look and sound professional, so be sure to take the time to do it right or hire an outside service.
Winsby Inc. is a Chicago based firm that has been helping heavy equipment distributors grow their businesses for more than 10 years. Winsby offers help with all services mentioned in this article.