Management today must look at their business and where it’s going based on its “current” business model.
With service intervals changing in the industry because of increased vehicle technology, holding on to the old standard methods of doing business can become a major mistake.
To have the right balance of business today is critical for bottom line performance. This means ensuring you have a business that‘s diversified between retail consumer and small fleet commercial clients. Both are different; both have to be managed properly on behalf of the client. Diversification can provide stability to the volume of business required so the peaks and valleys aren’t so big. Being too busy misses net income. Being too slow destroys net income.
A new plan
How are you executing a plan to attract the right amount of commercial business to your store? Have you got a solid plan that differentiates you in the marketplace so when you’re talking with a fleet owner/manager you can point out what you do in a unique way that saves that fleet money? It’s not just about price, so that isn’t a key differentiator. It’s about how you can manage their fleet properly for safety and reliability based on how they use their fleet vehicles and their expectations from each vehicle. This means you must do your homework on that fleet by asking the right questions in order to prepare a professional proposal for them.
It also means face-to-face discussions, so now your time must be properly planned to seek out new business. Consider setting aside a minimum of one day a week to set up appointments to go after new business. You’re not in the shop that day; you’re out promoting your business and setting up appointments. You’re going over a proposal that day with a new potential fleet client. You’re making valuable use of your time because you’re working “on” the business, not “in” the business.
Another aspect that must be studied and set up properly before meeting with any new potential client is your payment policy. Don’t let them dictate how they’re going to pay you. You’ll end up with an account that pays every 45-60 days. That’s not good business. That doesn’t work for you, so coming up with a solid plan to be discussed in a professional business manner is critical to completing the presentation package.
Of course you accept credit cards or cheques, but you must establish a proper payment policy. Is it going to be weekly, or twice a month each month so the account is paid in full? Remember, you’re not someone else’s bank; you require cash flow in order to professionally service the fleet with your professional technicians who are under continuous training to ensure the knowledge base is at the top of the industry and no client is let down. On top of that, the software and equipment requirements today consume a lot of cash; your client must understand that cash flow is critical to ensuring their fleet is managed to the level of their expectations.