January '18

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122 • RV PRO • January 2018 rv-pro.com B U S I N E S S trusting selling relationship. And it will be one that has higher grosses. You should not only have mastered word tracks that get the conversation started, you also should have mastered the classic "two-minute drill." In the swirl of show selling, you must have a quick way to qualify the person in front of you. Once someone is identified as a "hot" lead, you might even slow the process down a bit. What I mean by that is this: In the show environment, the tendency is to hustle through and talk to as many as possible. It's a target-rich environment and the pressure is to speak to as many as you can. Against that backdrop I would encourage to remember that song from the 1970s: "Love the One You're With." So, work to get an appointment or some sort of commitment. I know, it seems a bit counterintuitive to slow the process down at a time like this. It may keep you from blowing off a valuable customer who comes to think you don't care about their needs. First-timers Are a Special Case It's worth thinking for a bit about the first-timer. The shows bring them out. It is for them a safe environment to begin to shop. They can see a lot of units in a short time. It's valuable to them. But don't forget that first-timers have an entirely different set of questions they don't even know to ask yet. The first-timer doesn't usually know to ask about the nuances of construction, design, and small model differences. They need answers to more basic ques- tions, such as: How much will insurance cost? Where can I store it? They may not know about second home tax advantages. Take the question about how much the RV costs. Someone who hasn't bought an RV before may have the car financing model in mind. They may not understand that, like the purchase of a home, the terms can be much longer than a car purchase, making it exceedingly more affordable in the household budget. You want to spend some time thinking through how to identify and to quickly relate to those at the show who are at the point of buying their first RV. They want to hear about the smoke of the fire and the sizzle of bacon at the campground. For them, it's not so much about the materials used in construction. It's more about the how it feels around the campfire. Don't Exclusively Focus on Price While you're talking about payments on a new RV, take a moment to recall a couple thoughts we know to be true all the time. Remember that I'm all about finding the axioms? That is, those golden nuggets of truth that work all the time in your dealership. The ones you can count on. Here's one: If you only compete on price, you only have price as the way to compete. It's a way of binging home a point that price is never everything unless you accept that price is all you have. If your mindset – and the mindset of your sales staff – is that the only way you can com- pete at the show in on the price, you will only compete on price. Further, if you do that, the prices will drop. I know. I know. The show selling environment is special. It is very com- petitive. Of course, that's true. It's just an appeal to help you see there are some customers who aren't entirely price-driven shoppers. Some will spend a bit more to do business with someone we trust, respect or simply someone we like. If the sale was only on price, we wouldn't really need sales people, would we? The season's "ramp up" time frame is a great time to shake out the bugs and cobwebs. It's a time to do the final tweaks on the training and personal develop- ment you've done over the down time. Shows give you a compressed and pres- sure-filled trial period. How you react and tweak during that time sets the tome for the season. A Time for Final Tweaks Show season also is a time for some other final tweaks in staffing, facility, finances and stocking. You'll need to have prepared for staffing. It may be for the show to move units in and out. It may be for liners for your closers at the show. It will always be a hunt for techs and salespeople. It's time to wrap-up the winter projects in the building and do a final cleanup. Get rid of that junk pile out back. Push the techs to clean and orga- nize their bays and work areas. Get the salespeople to do the same sort of thing. Make sure everyone understands that cleanliness is next to the cash register. It's also good for them to remember that their workspace is part of the business. It's not a personal space to hoard per- sonal junk. Now is the time to make money. You should have cut the expense structure over the last few months. By now, you should have thought about bringing things back on line. That includes digging out the inven- tory. Spruce it up. Clean it up. Get the aged inventory caught up to speed so it can be sold. There's a rhythm to the seasons. There's excitement at the beginning of a new selling season. I love the RV busi- ness, don't you? Having a brand-new selling season brings that cartoon of Snoopy in total ecstasy to my mind. " "

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