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Posted: September 13, 2013

Cultivating Relationships For Success In The Fleet Market

How retailers can get more commercial fleet customers

By Jim Blayne, National Fleet Sales Manager, A.R.E.

I’m very bullish on my projections for commercial truck caps over the next year. Though fleets are still cost conscious, they’re looking to upgrade, and they’re not afraid to  spend money on products that will improve their overall performance. There are two areas to look at. There are commercial sales at the national level. And there are commercial sales at the local level. At A.R.E. we do a lot of national fleet work. We’ve seen strong growth in telecommunications ; cable companies, cable installers, mobile phone companies. They’re expanding operations, so we’re seeing stronger orders.

Another area with big growth is in the oil and gas service industry. These companies do well testing and servicing using pickup trucks to go off-road. So there’s demand for a commercial-type cover for these service vehicles. Our new Site Commander, which has over-sized doors and shelving systems, was designed to work with telecommunications and service industries.

On the retail side, make it easy for people to do business with you. That’s why it’s important to have a very informative website. But it’s got to be visible for commercial  users, showing a specific menu of products you have to offer and the extra services you
offer as well.

But you can only do so much on a computer. Nothing beats going out and developing  relationships with local industries and commercial entities. People do business with people they trust. And salespeople who understand the value of cultivating these relationships and who get to know their customers’ business are the ones who will do well in this market. Everybody wants to hit a home run. But it’s a ground game. First get a base hit. Go after local companies that have three or four trucks. Establish
yourself as the go-to person who understands the needs of the car dealer. Build that  loyalty and renewal business. They won’t just buy a truck cap. They’ll buy everything you have that can help them out.

Edited by Ellen McKoy

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