If someone asks how your business is doing, you certainly can answer if business is up or down compared to last year. But do you know which salespeople are producing the most business or have the highest average sale? What about which customers have purchased the most from you?
Easy access to sales metrics and customer purchase history and other relevant data provides dealers with important insight as to where improvements are needed to boost your sales team’s performance and fill in the gaps of customer sales. This information at your fingertips can be very powerful, especially during your slower periods.
Use your dealership management’s reporting tools to get up-to-the minute stats on sales by department to see which department’s need a little help, and drill further down to sales by employee to determine who your top performers are. Harry J. Friedman, an internationally acclaimed retail consultant says “For starters, you need to gather the “bare bones” metrics for each salesperson on a daily basis. With any luck, you already have a POS system that gives you this information, or another system for obtaining this data regularly. See some of the more critical metrics Friedman recommends that you watch as well as the types of insight you can gather from these numbers to help each individual substantially increase their sales performance.
The ASPEN dealership management system features powerful contact management and CRM tools that allow you to segment your customers to market to them by type, warranty expiration, last service date, type of equipment owned, etc. You can also create your own scenarios to classify your customers by their sales history and sales by department. For example, by comparing data to find out which customers have purchased units but not parts or service from you, you can reach out to these customers with a targeted email and or direct mail marketing promotion.
Use ASPEN for a quick email campaign, and apply follow-up tasks for your sales staff for your selected group right from the ASPEN screen, or export the lists from ASPEN to send direct mail.
However you choose to reach out to your customers, all of your communications are logged onto the selected customers’ records, building a rich customer history to continue to draw on.
Learn more about how using a CRM can benefit your business and improve your processes. Charter Software offers a free, downloadable guide book of how to connect all your dealership’s department using a CRM.
IMPROVE YOUR CUSTOMERS’ EXPERIENCE WITH THE ASPEN SALES KIOSK (ASK)
Show your customers that you are responsive to changes in technology! Provide them with an alternative medium to browse your inventory.
The ASK application runs on a Windows 8 touchscreen and aids in-store customers with a “self-serve” means to search for parts and units information.
Customers can search for units by model, name, description, and more, to find detailed information and view images of the unit.
The ASK Parts Search provides customers with parts description, availability, images as well as a dealership floor map indicating the location of the part.
For more information on ASK and how it works with ASPEN, contact the Charter Sales department at 303.932.6875 and choose option 7.
11 ACRONYMS YOU NEED TO KNOW NOW!
Are you tracking your P&S with a DMS? Adhering to your SOPs using your CRM?
Love them or loathe them, acronyms are everywhere, and these are important ones that savvy equipment dealers should be familiar with.
These 11 acronyms were reviewed in a special workshop session presented by ChannelMasters’ Tom Owen at the Farm Equipment Magazine’s 2015 Dealership Minds Summit.
First, review the list to make sure that you have the tools or resource that the acronym stands for, then take note of Owen’s advice on how to use it.
Don’t have a DMS or a DMS with a built-in, integrated CRM? We can help! Take a look at the CRM capabilities of the ASPEN dealership management system (DMS).
Read the full article in Farm Equipment. A log in is required.
28 PIECES OF INFORMATION TO HAVE ON EACH CUSTOMER
“Having the customers’ information at your fingertips, while you are on the call, can be a very powerful sales tool.”
– Randy Stevens, Service Manager, Bobcat of Jacksonville
Have you ever been flattered when someone at a business you deal with remembers your birthday, or is kind enough to ask about a family member who had been ill, or follow up on another bit of personal information? Taking note of the little things goes a long way in establishing and strengthening relationships, whether it be with your customers or other business contacts.
Dealers can use their business management system to track customer information in the customer record, jot down notes, and create reminders about events that they can follow up on in their next conversation. This could be in the form of a reminder to call that includes details of what to follow up on, or possibly an on-screen reminder that comes up at the point of sale, or a note that is visible on the customer record when opened by any staff member. See more about using a CRM with a business management system.
What types of information to track? In his sales blog, John Chapin, an award-winning sales speaker, trainer, and coach outlines a list of “28 Pieces of Information to have on each Customer” that he feels is important to take note of. Chapin suggests using this information to send your customer birthday cards, or email them an article related to items of interest. Taking note of items that are important to your customer will ultimately you make your customers good friends and loyal customers.
ASPEN’S CRM TOOLS HELP YOU LEVERAGE CUSTOMER DATA TO INCREASE SALES AND SERVICE
Having your customer’s information at your fingertips can be very powerful! It empowers your employees to be more responsive to customers’ needs, which greatly improves customer service!
With ASPEN’s powerful contact management and CRM tools, you can segment your customers to market to them by type, warranty expiration, last service date, type of equipment owned, etc., or create your own scenarios to pinpoint customers by their sales history by department. For example, you can find out which customers have purchased units but not parts or service from you, and reach out to them with a targeted promotion.
After targeting your desired customers, with just a few mouse clicks, market to them via e-mail or create internal follow-up tasks right from the ASPEN screen, or use the generated lists outside of ASPEN to send direct mail. Antother way to serve your customers better using ASPEN is to filter your completed work orders or sort equipment pickups by zone, and create a call list or an e-mail to notify these customers of scheduled deliveries or pickups.
However you reach out to your customers using ASPEN, all your communications are logged onto the selected customers’ records to build a history of all contact with them.
Learn more about how using a CRM can benefit your business and improve your processes. Charter Software offers a free, downloadable guide book of how to connect all your dealership’s departments using a CRM.
CHARTER SOFTWARE ANNOUNCES ASPEN SALES KIOSK (ASK) AT ARA RENTAL SHOW
February 10, 2014
Charter Software, one of two software vendors approved for Doosan-Bobcat dealers, officially launched their new dealership sales enhancement tool, ASK (ASPEN Sales Kiosk), at their debut at ARA Rental Show in Orlando Florida today. ASK is a a sales tool that provides dealership customers a way to browse inventory.
Charter Software, an innovative provider of dealership business technology, officially launched their new dealership sales enhancement tool, ASK, at the ARA Rental Show in Orlando, Florida today.
This is Charter’s first year attending the Rental Show. The growing popularity of their ASPEN business system has positioned Charter as a leading software vendor in the equipment industry.
ASK (ASPEN Sales Kiosk) is a sales tool application that runs on a Windows 8 touchscreen in conjunction with the dealership’s ASPEN business management system. ASK aids in-store customers with a “self-serve” means to search for parts and units information. “Basically, dealers are extending some of the capabilities of their ASPEN business system onto the showroom floor, allowing their customers to search for units and parts inventory on their own while they are waiting for service, or just looking to get a better idea of what to ask for help with,” says Charter Software president Anne Salemo.
With ASK, dealers can project an outward appearance that they are in line with technology trends simply by providing their in-store customers with an alternative medium to browse their inventory.
IS YOUR SALES TEAM ON ITS OWN ISLAND?
If all your departments are not connected with each other, your business cannot run smoothly!
A main function of a CRM is the ability to integrate and connect all of your departments. It is this connection that strengthens your dealership as a whole, and reflected in better customer service and increased sales.
Discover how effectively using each of the following CRM components with a CEEDA-endorsed business system can help your internal operations run more smoothly, increase your customer satisfaction and retention, and boost profits:
- Marketing Automation
- Customer Support/Contact Management
- Sales Force Automation
Charter Software is an endorsed business management system provider of the Canada East Equipment Dealers Association
KEEP YOUR SALES TREES BEARING FRUIT
An equipment sale can be like a fruit tree that bears future fruit (parts and service) for several years until the customer purchases their next piece of equipment. Your service sales also support the parts department, so making sure you maximize service sales is important to the long-term health of your business. Ensuring that your parts department employees know the equipment well enough to sell and suggest the proper parts will make it easier for your customers to maintain their equipment easier.
In this article, rather than revisiting how to increase margins on equipment and parts, Jeff Sheets, founder and owner of OPE Consulting Services, encourages dealers to push the envelope on how they relate to their customers to make them want to come back again and again. Sheets says, “You not only need to care about customers today when selling them your product, but you also want to be there for your customers for their future needs, too. That is a foundation to build a great business on.”
Follow Sheet’s “SELL” acronym to ensure you are doing everything possible to capture sales in every department, not just equipment sales. For more information on how to increase sales with better customer service, visit the CRM section of our website.
RESEARCH REVEALS CRM MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER
According to business intelligence experts, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) plays a significant role in any business, as it is the underlying force that defines wise business decisions.
More business decisions are being made based on data such as customer demographics and their purchase history than ever before. What better place to have your CRM than integrated with your business system?
A CRM that is integrated into the dealership management system provides dealers unique insight into sales trends visible from right from within the system, based on the data that you enter in everyday.
Dealers can leverage their own customer data to identify opportunities where they can increase revenue in parts, service, whole goods. A CRM should also allow you to send mass-email, prepare and track quotes and sales pipeline.
“Having all your communications logged on customer records builds a rich history of all your contact with them. Access to this kind of information along with purchase and service history, the type of equipment they own, warranty expiration and even personal information—such as their children’s names—allows staff to be more responsive to customers’ needs and greatly improve their customer service.”
Anne Salemo, president, Charter Software Inc.
IDEAS FOR TARGETING CUSTOMERS TO PROMOTE YOUR PRODUCTS TO:
Customers who have purchased equipment from you but have not purchased parts or had service
Customers who have rented equipment but not purchased anything
Customers who have purchased parts but not equipment
Interested in more ideas of how to use a CRM for your dealership? Charter Software offers a free, downloadable guide book of how to connect all your dealership’s department using a CRM.
SALES COUNT PER EMPLOYEE–THE HOLY GRAIL OF HEAD COUNT
Are you at risk for poor customer service, or do you have the best service in town, yet no numbers to show for it?
Ron Slee shares his thoughts on how to achieve balance between customer service and profitability. By running the numbers and analyzing your sales by employee, you can determine whether level your level of customer service is at risk while you are maximizing profit. Similarly, if your sales-per-employee value is low, Slee says you may be providing the best customer service in town, but at the risk of losing profits!
In this article, Ron discusses how to achieve the ideal ratio. While Ron equates to value of this data as “The Holy Grail,” you need not launch a crusade, these figures can be acquired by running sales profit by salesperson reports in your business system!
TECH SAVVY WAYS TO GEAR UP SALES FOR SLOWER SEASON
As your busy season begins to slow down, just because customers are no longer eagerly lining up for needed new equipment and service doesn’t mean you need to put up with months of lackluster sales. With some thought and creativity, it is possible to still bring in some new business. Take a look at some ideas that may help you work towards building year-round sales, including some clever spins on holiday promotions.
SPUR HOLIDAY SALES
Over the past few years, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other sales “holidays” have grown to epic proportions. Why not enter the fray and get involved yourself? Shoppers of all types are accustomed to finding great deals at this time of the year, and are ready to pull out their charge cards to make a big purchase.
Look at your numbers and find out what type of sales you can offer. Be sure to advertise in advance, on your website, and notify your customers by mail and email. Once you have brought your customers into the store or to your website, you may make other sales too.
Capitalize on the holiday wishlist idea! Start early and have customers fill in their wishlist items when they are in, and make notes on their customer records to follow up with them when those items go on sale.
GET IN THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT
Try getting customers to come by with a holiday open house with refreshments, prize drawings, and special markdowns.
GET ACTIVE ONLINE
Increase your online sales by investing some time working on your e-commerce site if you have one, work on getting listings and photos of all your older parts, new and used units uploaded to high-traffic units and parts listing sites. Get active on social media by including links to the listings for those units you really want to clear off your lot. Be sure to embellish your posts with personal, added commentary. Certain dealership management systems, such as ASPEN, have their own locator programs that allow dealers to share parts information with other dealers using the system.
PUSH ACCESSORIES AT POINT OF SALE
Be sure to use point-of-sale reminders in your business system to suggest additional parts or accessories when ringing up customer sales. These can either relate to the individual customer or the item they are purchasing.
Review your customer records for notes on wearing parts, belts, etc. that might need replacement, and use their model information to let them know about promotions on attachments and other accessories they may need for their particular unit. Use direct mail, email and phone calls to encourage them to pick up any accessories you know that they have been eyeing. This helps you to start preparing for the season ahead—and your customers as well!
OTHER WAYS TO BOOST SALES WITHIN YOUR CLIENT BASE
You can increase sales right within your own customer base by keeping track of sales history and outstanding quotes. If you’ve been using your CRM correctly, your salesteam should already have reminders and calls scheduled to prospects they still haven’t closed sales with. Likewise, review all your service history to see who is due for service and keep an eye out for warranty expirations.
While you may not see the same type of numbers in your off-season, with these tips, you should be able to retain a solid, steady pattern of sales through those dreary days. Don’t forget to take some time to rest, recover and make preparations for the busy season.
UTILIZING DASHBOARD REPORTS FOR SUCCESS
Smart, profitable equipment dealers measure their businesses on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis. These metrics guide decision-making that impact financial well-being. Get familiar with how to use a dealership management system dashboard to get an at-a-glance look at where your business stands at any given time and plot your course to success!
Fred Hageman, principal of Rental Acquisitions, a professional mergers and acquisitions and valuation firm, shares his view on how utilizing your system dashboard can aid dealers in planning for success.
Hageman encourages the dealers he works with to develop concise and consistent dashboard reports to help them analyze and manage their businesses more effectively and profitably.
These business status reports are generated using a dealership management software system. In the ASPEN dealership system, many detailed reports can be accessed via the graphics on the system dashboard. When something stands out in the graph that requires further investigation, the department manager only needs to click on the graph to “drill-down” to the detailed report or transaction in the system.
Hageman recommends dealers view these reports on a daily basis:
- Cash balance.
- Accounts receivable balance.
- Accounts receivable days sales outstanding (DSO).
- Accounts receivable balance over 60 days, including 90 and 120 days+ categories.
- Accounts payable balance.
- Customer deposits balance.
- Yesterday’s daily revenue.
- Month-to-date revenue through close of the prior business day.
- Advance/recurring rentals including a balance of this month, next month and total.