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Posted: October 19, 2013

Change With The Market To Get Commercial Business

Hartmut Schroeder, President of SnugTop, tells how a grass-roots approach can yield it's dealers more commercial business.

By Hartmut Schroeder, President SnugTop

What’s interesting this year, is the surge in truck sales isn’t necessarily translating into retail sales. So people are wondering why consumers aren’t buying accessories. But we see that sales are being driven mostly by the commercial side. I also think consumer confidence is still not to the point where consumers want to dish out money for accessories. So what can a retailer do? Large fleets don’t buy locally, so local retailers won’t get a shot at that. But they do get a shot at any local businesses, plus government agencies.

I believe in cold calling on these businesses, because they’re unlikely to go to a retailer. Local businesses are accustomed to working with a truck upfitter that is doing commercial and not retail, because they feel they will be better served. But retailers can change that mindset by going after commercial businesses.

To help some of our dealers who don’t have the time or designated person to visit fleet managers at local car dealerships, our salespeople have started calling on dealerships, either on their own or with a local retailer, on behalf of our dealers in that area. We’re trying to open doors to new opportunities with a grass-roots approach. We have to recognize that the use of the pickup truck has changed. It’s not the lifestyle vehicle that it was for many years. It’s become more of a purpose-driven vehicle. I’m not saying the consumer is no longer there, but there are fewer buyers now. How do we fill that void? We have to recognize the business is changing and change with the market.

Edited by Ellen McKoy.

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