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Ways to reach customers are constantly changing. How do you know whether the new ones are worth trying? Trust the companies that specialize in marketing, the ones that are constantly testing new approaches and programs and measure the results. Below are the methods that are working well for equipment dealers.
Send emails regularly to remind your customers that you are ready to sell, service or rent whatever equipment they need, whenever they need it. Include information about your equipment, services, parts and any current offers. Showcase something new or unusual. Give a reason to buy now with a promotion that has an expiration date.
Not everyone opens each email, but over six months over 80 percent of the email list will probably have 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 and designed and is programmed and tested so it appears correctly in any type of email system or mobile device. Most companies struggle to distribute emails that look professional and are released consistently. The best approach is to hire an expert to keep you on schedule.
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.
Parts close rates on inbound calls typically increase from 20 percent to 80 percent 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 training proactively can make a huge difference in your parts sales.
Reports are available that show the last date each customer purchased. These reports need to be run monthly, by sale representative, and distributed, so they can follow up with anyone who hasn’t purchased that month. Make sure your customers aren’t going to another source for their parts, service, rentals or equipment. If they are, find out why. Be proactive about increasing sales for existing customers. It’s the easiest way to grow!
It’s important to have a program in place that routinely monitors your customer service, so you can 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 you. 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.
Debbie Frakes is managing director at Winsby Inc., a Chicago based firm that has been helping equipment distributors grow their businesses for over 10 years.