Chris Farrar
| 05/18/2016

6 Ways to Combat the Heavy Truck Sales Trend

No one likes when the market suffers, but there are many ways to fight the trend and put your dealership ahead. Currently, the Heavy Truck industry is noticing a downtrend in sales of Class 8 trucks.1 Inventory to retail sales are up year over year to 2.5 months – meaning there are an additional 8,500 dormant units in inventory!1 In addition, the capacity index rose faster than the freight index for the seventh consecutive month and for the 12 of the last 14 months. The market is softening, but that doesn’t mean you should. Here are a couple of thoughts to beat the trend and keep you performing:

Manage Your Truck Inventory

  • Monitor historical trends – both in the industry and at your own store
    Trends in the industry provide a lot of insight into the health of your business, and what you can expect as far as sales. Monitor trends both in the industry as a whole, and within your individual store to help you plan for highs and lows in sales. Build your business strategies around these trends. Plan accordingly with your marketing, incentives and promotions.
  • Provide sales incentives
    Speaking of sales incentives, giving your Salespeople a little extra reason to push for the sale can motivate them and help you close the gap during low sale periods. Along the same lines, designing promotions directed at your customers can provide the extra incentive they need to make the purchase.
  • Invest in an inventory management system
    Investing in an inventory management system can help you identify weaknesses in your inventory strategy and manipulate them in order to optimize your inventory offerings. Automating processes like posting your inventory photos to third-party websites enables you to spend more time focusing on the sale.

Stay on Your Customer’s Radar

  • Clearly define your customer touchpoint process
    When sales are harder to come by, it’s essential that you are top of mind when someone IS ready to buy. Define your customer touchpoint process that allows you to build relationships with your current customers and reach out to new ones. Build out a strategy integrating marketing, customer relationship management and identify any other customer touchpoints you can take advantage of. Do you have the people and tools in place to leverage your new or existing plan? Set goals that align with your business strategy to ensure that your plan is targeting the right customers at the right time.
  • Evaluate the success
    Once you’ve implemented or updated a plan to best connect with your customers, measure your results and analyze your success against your goals. Are you getting your message in front of the right people? Are your customers starting to convert? Identify the areas that can be improved and tweak your plan to ensure success.
  • Invest in a CRM system
    To reach many of your goals, you can take advantage of CRM systems that automate and monitor customer relationships. These provide insights into what’s working and what’s not and help lighten your load so you can focus more on closing the deal than getting it to the table.

A downturn in sales isn’t a death sentence for your dealership, it’s a chance to prove that you’ve got what it takes to perform well even in the face of adversity. 1 ACT Research

Chris Farrar
Chris Farrar

Chris Farrar is Manager of Integrated Marketing Communications for all of CDK’s Segment Business Units, including Heavy Truck, Heavy Equipment and Recreation. Chris spent the last 10 years in the heavy truck industry in a variety of strategic marketing roles. In his free time, Chris enjoys lifting weights, playing and coaching basketball, and spending time with his #1 priority – his wife and four sons.