White Papers

White Papers are organized into four sections:
For All Machinery Dealer Managers
For Dealer Sales Managers and Sales Professionals
For Dealer Aftermarket Service and Parts Managers
For Dealer Principals/Executives



 

For All Machinery Dealer Managers

 

Leadership – Building a Customer-Focused,
Process Driven Passionate Business

By Chris Holmes, President (ret.) Nortrax, a John Deere Company


Leadership – Building a Customer-Focused,Process Driven Passionate Business

Over my career, I've had the privilege of working with and learning from many great entrepreneurs and leaders. As I write this article, we are in the midst of trying to navigate our way through the COVID-19 virus and the impact it will have on family, friends and business. My hope is that many of the principles of leadership that I have learned will not only help guide any business through trying times, but also enable them to regroup, rebuild and succeed. I just can't think of a better time to write an article on leadership.

 

I have learned that leadership comes in many forms and there is really no one size fits all. What appears to be the common denominator between average and highly successful leaders is the ability to engage and motivate individuals and teams. If I learned anything from successful leaders is that most businesses are in the "people business". Peel back what you manufacture, sell or service and there is a customer (or employee) at the other end who usually has a choice whether to do business with you and whether it is at a premium or discounted level.

 

 

I'm an admirer of Richard Branson and all the success he has earned by simply placing immense focus on his own people. His belief that "If you look after your staff, they'll look after your customers" carries a powerful message for all leaders as we look to drive engagement, loyalty and profitability both with our teams and our customer base. It's really about trust – trust in your vision, trust in your actions and ultimately, do you as a leader care about me as an employee.

 

(download full article)

 

How to Move Up to the Next Level in Your Personal Performance

Dragon joust

Why do so many dealer sales and operations managers appear to be stuck at the transaction level?  They may be caught up in a whirlwind of activities, chasing back orders, struggling with rework, running after low-margin sales. They may be constantly reacting to emergencies, never getting ahead of the curve. Every day is a frustrating firefight.

Successful completion of transactions is important to the dealership.  But in the midst of the fray, it is often extremely difficult to see how these problems can be solved more efficiently, at less cost and in a more customer-friendly manner.

(download full article)

 

7 Tools to Build Dealer Market Share

 

Market Share is like mom's apple pie, the bigger your slice the better! McDonald Group - 7 Tools to Build Market Share

Market Share gains occur because we outsmart and outwit our competitors. But, to get a bigger slice, you must have the basics in place. Very surprising recent research shows that 95% of equipment sales are to current customers, buying Parts and Service NOW from their dealership.

This has huge implications for an equipment dealership’s entire sales and marketing strategy.

These amazing insights are derived from tracking 10 years of equipment dealer customer transactions in over 100 dealerships, managing 500,000 customer relationships, courtesy of Winsby, Inc.

Some dealer departments have been living in confined silos for five decades: sales are sales --- service is service --- parts are parts. These isolation silos are irrelevant and very harmful today.  Dealers must manage a holistic model of the dealer sales and marketing effort if they are to succeed. 

(download full article)

 

Successful Branch Operations: How to Make a New Start-up Service Center Profitable

McDonald Group - How to Avoid Death by 10,000 Cuts - How to Protect Dealer Cash Flow

Equipment Dealer Principals tell me,

“Successfully setting up and managing a profitable remote start-up branch service and parts operation is one of the most difficult aspects of the equipment distribution business.”

What is the Overall Strategic Objective for a New Service and Parts Branch Operations? What does a highly successful start-up branch look like? What is the fundamental sales and marketing strategy necessary to quickly become profitable? What kinds of personnel are required to make it work? What type of headquarters support is essential?

Here is what is really working today in your equipment industry....

(download full article)

 

How to Avoid Death by 10,000 Cuts

McDonald Group - How to Avoid Death by 10,000 Cuts - How to Protect Dealer Cash Flow A recent industry survey of Dealer Principals ranked Cash Flow as their #1 issue of concern. Everyone knows that “cash is king.”  But, how do you build the systems infrastructure to defend and optimize your cash flow?

The amount of money flowing through a dealership makes cash control critical. How do you avoid “cash leaks” that can cause “Death by 10,000 Cuts”?

There are three important steps to the process. Better Asset Management and Unfreezing Cash will accelerate cash flow. Optimizing Margins will build more robust and profitable cash flow.

Here are some practical suggestions in each area you might find helpful...

(download full article)

 

21 Gorilla Marketing Ideas for Equipment Dealers

21 Gorilla Marketing Ideas for Equipment Dealers

We’re in an economic battle for survival! The equipment and machinery dealer who gets and keeps the most profitable customers wins.  But, how does he win?  Fortunately, there is an elusive but highly-effective strategy available.

I have spent the last three decades personally interviewing dealer customers.  I have seen how aftermarket product support can either bring prosperity or disaster.  Clearly, aftermarket product support is the essential driving force behind Customer ACQUISITION as well as Customer RETENTION.  Product support will determine the success or failure of many dealer organizations.

These “21 Gorilla Marketing Ideas” will surely help contribute to your Aftermarket success.

(download full article)

 

Preventing Unexpected Downtime!

Maybe the largest lost source of
Revenue/Profit/Customer Loyalty in Dealerships
By Donald Green

What one additional action by dealerships could significantly reduce Unexpected Downtime for machinery customers, with the potential to increase business at minimal cost?
A Dealer’s success story -- While visiting a good friend and fishing buddy in Corpus Christi, Texas, he gave me an amazing market share statistic. He had over 60% market share with Doosan Lift Trucks against competitors like Toyota, Hyster and Cat. Unheard of, right?

In our conversation, he told me his path to successfully reducing customer downtime. My friend was a Cat dealer’s Branch Manager when they changed ownership. He was offered the Doosan Lift Truck line and decided to start his own business, representing Doosan in the market. Using what he had learned as Branch Manager, he bucked the trend and didn’t hire a salesperson. His first step was selling service to customers himself – and also designated a PM-only technician who would sell second segment repairs to his customers.

With this strategy, he built his business and sold more Doosan Forklifts the first six months of having the Doosan line than the previous dealer did in five years. And, this program worked so well, his customers talked about his service capabilities to people they knew, spreading the news like wildfire. He had to hire more technicians to keep up with the demand. He also found when his customers were in the market for a new lift truck, they came to him, knowing he would keep their fleets running.

(download full article)

 

Succession Planning

Twists and Turns
By Jim Wilson

The subject of succession planning has bubbled up to the top of many people’s list because of the emergence of a large group of baby boomers, and those five to ten years behind them whose thought and planning have turned toward retirement. A relatively robust economy may help the multiples of EBITDA for which some business owners sell their dealerships. And, a stronger economy will drive a perceived sense of urgency to sell. However, economic cycles are just that. And, no matter when you get ready to transition your business on the spectrum, if you haven’t considered some of the things mentioned in this article, your business will be undervalued. Detailed here are the mistakes to avoid and positive steps you should take to preserve and optimize the value of your business.

Over my 42-year career with an OEM primarily interfacing with several hundred equipment dealer principals, their families, and key employees in North and South America, Europe, and the Middle East, the topic of Succession Planning remained implicit in our relationships. The subject remains yet today, difficult and emotional for both OEMs and dealers to think clearly about and discuss openly five years out and beyond regarding the steps that need to be taken to prepare for the inevitable event.

OEMs, dealers, investors/bankers, employees and customers are all concerned with Succession Planning. This article will focus on dealer succession planning, particularly family owned over which the principal has the most direct control and influence. However, some aspects of what’s discussed here still apply to companies that are accountable to non-family investors and/or holding companies.

If you are looking for a numerical range of multiples that machinery or material handling dealers are selling for these days, this article won’t meet your needs. If you want information on what drives the multiples, other than the business cycle, then please read on.

(download full article)

 

Customer Retention by the Numbers

By Debbie Frakes, Winsby Inc.

Machinery dealers know it is far more expensive to find new customers than to keep the ones they have. Yet, relatively few have formal programs to KEEP THE CUSTOMER. The cornerstone to Customer Retention is a good service-level monitoring effort. Once the entire organization is focused on providing excellence in customer support, a program to monitor service and support levels in each department should be put in place. The primary reason to monitor customer service is because most unhappy customers will not complain. They Just Go Away! One recent national survey by a machinery manufacturer indicated that overall, its dealers were aware of only one in seven major customer problems! The secret to Customer Retention is to catch issues and questions far before they become problems.

What’s an Easy Way to Keep Your Customers Buying from You Longer? To understand the challenges equipment dealers face in their businesses, Winsby analyzed over nine years of invoices for more than 150 equipment distributors. Included were over 450,000 customers and in excess of 15 million transactions. We were looking for patterns and for ways to reverse any that resulted in negative growth.

(download full article)

 

Guiding Principles

By Walter J. McDonald

What Does It Take to Successfully Compete in Today’s Machinery Distribution Business? Here Are Four Areas That Are Essential to Your Success.

Data Analytics for Sales and Marketing Strategy
Over the past decade there has been extensive research conducted on machinery business end- user customer relationships. A key finding was the discovery of which aspects of these relationships were most likely to make a big difference. The second outcome was the skill of making these discoveries relevant, understandable and actionable.

While many machinery dealers continue to operate by hunch and gut feeling, more and more machinery dealerships are understanding that quantitative analytics is the grammar of business. These forward thinking dealers who utilize these quantitative insights into their operations are having much greater success in achieving higher levels of profitability, market share gains, improved cashflow and superior customer service and retention.

For example, we now know the typical machinery dealer has only 10% of customer emails and less than 75% of customer phone numbers available for sales, service and marketing programs. And, overall, 40% of customer information is wrong. Territory deal visibility or awareness is often less than 25%. To be successful, dealer customer information must be current, including emails and telephone numbers for all customer/prospect contacts.

 

(download full article)

 

Right Part First Trip:
Improving Field Service Technician Productivity

Walter J. McDonald

One of the most frustrating and costly problems in a machinery dealership is multiple visits to a field service account before the problem is fixed. The technician drives 2.25 hours to the site, finds that he doesn't have the right part(s), so he drives 2.25 hours back to the dealership, hopefully gets the right part(s) and repeats the process.

The customer is furious. They will probably raise loud objections to paying twice (or three times!) for technician travel. His unit productivity is down for an extended period. IF this unit is on a construction job site, the down time is costing the end user big bucks.

For the dealer, the financial recovery of any customer billing for this job is totally washed by the costs incurred for the technician's time and vehicle wear and tear.

So, what is the preventive strategy? This is an important problem that we have dealt with in my dealer management workshops for several years.

Here are the top solutions developed and recommended by the highly experienced, very successful machinery dealer service managers.

  1. Organize field service technicians by geographic territories. This helps them get better acquainted with customers, build familiarity with fleet issues and establish rapport with customer contacts on the job.
  2. Maintain parts inventory control of each field service vehicle as a dealer branch operation. This includes cycle counting and disciplined check-in and check-out of parts.
  3. Conduct a discussion workshop with all technicians, supervisors, and managers. Organize them into teams of 3 or 4. Ask the teams to discuss the problem of having to make multiple field trips to fix the same machine failure. The discussion question is " What five things can we do to help achieve first trip job completion? " Give the teams at least 20 minutes to discuss the question. Then, ask each team to report. Make sure each team has a pad of paper and pen. Collect responses then sponsor a pizza supper. Make a bid deal about contributions from the service team, especially in your company newsletter and website news bulletins.
  4. Many smaller dealers do not have a backup for the service dispatcher at lunch. So, when a customer calls in for a repair order, often faulty, inadequate or misleading information is provided to the technician who is challenged to "get there as soon as you can." So, he dashes blindly to the account, not knowing exactly what to expect and most likely without the right parts or even the appropriate tools. The solution, according to my advanced service management students is the following Dispatch Authorization Form .

Read More...

 

About Dealer Development:
The OEM Regional Manager's Guide

By Luke Sheppard

The sharp end of the stick. The lightning rod. The business end of the OEM. However you choose to describe the role of the OEM Regional Manager, their importance in the mutual success of the dealer and OEM is indisputable.

The role of OEM regional manager is not an easy one, and success is anything but guaranteed. It's a tough existence being the sharp end of the OEM's stick in the field and the recipient of the dealer's (and customer's) dismay. At the same time, you're expected to provide a tremendous amount of product and service support from your OEM to those same people.

In my experience, many fail for various reasons, including a lack of understanding of the dealers' business and market, inadequate investment into the relationship they have with their dealers, and a lack of focus on outcomes that benefit both parties (us vs. them mentality still prevails).

Success in this game, like many others, comes down to the fundamentals of effective collaboration.

Enter, Walt McDonald. For more than four decades, Walt has been helping equipment and capital goods dealers collaborate with their OEM's to drive above average results by using practical strategies, tactics, and tools. Walt has indeed seen it all in this industry, and he speaks the truth. His conviction about and steps to cultivate a mutually beneficial partnership with your dealer are wise words to be heeded by any OEM representative in this industry.

I came to know Walt by reputation before having had the privilege to engage with him on a more personal level. When I made the jump from factory to dealer leadership, I knew that my learning curve would be steep. So I asked around about how I could accelerate my onboarding into the retail side of the equipment business. The response was nearly unanimous: Walt McDonald and his Master's Program in Dealer Management . The easy-to-follow and implement step-by-step guide in Walt's program helped me become a much more effective general manager in far less time than I expected. I'm convinced this DEALER DEVELOPMENT: OEM Regional Manager's Guide will do the same for you.

Read More...

 

How Do We?

By Walter J. McDonald

Machinery dealers today focus on improving profitability, cash flow, market share, and customer service and retention. Because machinery distribution is such a complex business, this can be a daunting challenge. A machinery dealership is really five or six very different businesses, often loosely connected by an information system. So, what is the best way to look at the enterprise and structure effective management of these various components?

Revenue Center Management
The first real breakthrough over the past forty years was the emergence of Revenue Center Management. By separating out unique operations and identifying the drivers of success in each business area, potential control of the overall dealership business has been greatly enhanced.

Now dealer management is able to identify the critical success factors in Parts, Service, Rentals, Used Machinery, New Machinery and Customer Retention. But what is the best way to do this? How do we better understand and apply the best practices and performance metrics of the most successful dealerships in our industry? How do we assess our own operations and identify performance areas that are causing the most problems and putting our profitability and customer relationships at risk?

The first thing we can do is examine the programs and practices of High Profit World Class Dealers. What is their management approach? What do they monitor and control? Where do they invest their scarce and costly resources? How do they ensure that every area of the dealership is fiscally sound while meeting customer expectations?

This is my wheelhouse. By assisting dealer management teams in over 2,000 dealer management seminars and workshops worldwide, I have been able to collect, document and analyze what really works and is most effective in improving machinery dealer profitability, cash flow, market share and customer service and retention.

Read More...

 

Returns on Digital Investments

By Dr. Nick McGaughey, C.P.A.

Digital Transformation

Digital transformation has become a popular business term and activity. These changes require a willingness to unlearn the old ways and learn the new ways of doing business in a 'being digital' world. Dealerships usually adopt digital to do the things they already do, only better, faster, easier, and cheaper. Thereby, digitization increases revenues, profits, and organizational health. This article explores Returns on Digital Investments (RoDI) linked to digital transformation.

Business strategy is connected to markets, products and services, and capabilities. Digital investments by a dealership are made to build and power capabilities! Business strategy and its digital strategy should drive and direct digital investments, while investments should enable and enhance strategy. Digital investments are spending on information, process, product, and communication technologies.

The specific technologies that add business value are contingent on the dealer situation and circumstances. The three foundational (transformative) technologies for a machinery dealer are enterprise resource planning (ERP), cloud computing, and customer relationship management (CRM). Eleven customer and internal support (extend) technologies are:

  • Internet of things
  • Data security
  • Business analytics
  • Supplier relationship management
  • Website commerce
  • Collaboration tools
  • Digital marketing/social media
  • Mobility
  • Robotic process automation
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Advanced wireless

Read More...

 

Achieving Machinery Dealer Management Excellence

by Walter J. McDonald, paperback, 402 pages, 2021

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Dedication
Foreword by John Vandy
List of Figures and Tables
Guiding Principles for this Program
Why You Should Read this Book by Steve Ross
Preface
Acknowledgments
Special Recognition
Introduction
The Master's Program in Dealer Management (8 volume set)

Part One: The Master's Program--Dealer Management Processes

1. The Big Picture

Part Two: The Master's Program--Operations Performance Metrics

2. Managing the Dealership Overall
3. Managing Parts Operations
    Parts Operations-Benchmarking
    Parts Operations-Best Practices
    Parts Marketing and Sales
    Parts Action Plan Ideas
    Parts Mini Lecture
4. Managing Service Operations
    Service Operations-Benchmarking
    Service Operations-Best Practices
    Service Marketing and Sales
    Service Action Plan Ideas
    Service Mini Lecture
5. Managing Rentals
    Rental Operations-Benchmarking
    Rental Operations-Best Practices
    Rental Marketing and Sales
    Rental Action Plan Ideas
    Rental Mini Lecture
6. Used Machinery Operations
    Used Machinery Operations-Benchmarking
    Used Machinery Operations-Best Practices
    Used Machinery Action Plan Ideas
    Used Machinery Mini Lecture

Read More...

 

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

By Walter J. McDonald

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO SUCCESSFULLY COMPETE IN TODAY'S MACHINERY RETAIL BUSINESS? HERE ARE FOUR AREAS THAT ARE ESSENTIAL TO YOUR SUCCESS.

Data Analytics for Sales and Marketing Strategy
The typical machinery dealer has only 10% of customer emails and less than 75% of customer phone numbers available for sales, service and marketing programs. And, overall, 40% of customer information is wrong. Territory deal visibility is often less than 25%. To be successful, dealer customer information must be current, including emails and telephone numbers for all customer/prospect contacts.

Strategy: 1. Conduct Consistent Email Promotions

  • For dealers offering specials on email campaigns, an up-to-date email address to reach all their customers is critical. If their database has only 50% email customer contact information, the remaining 50% of their customers will not be aware of the special (lost sales). Email customers purchase two to three times more annually than the balance of customers lacking email addresses in the Dealer's database. This demonstrates the value of keeping customer information and email addresses current.
  • Customer satisfaction scores have a >90% correlation with customer retention. And, the customer retention rate increases 20-30% for any one customer with a consistent dealer email program.

Strategy: 2. Capture "Active Interest" Leads

  • More than 90-95% of purchasers (customers and prospects) will investigate a potential dealer's website and product information before contacting a supplier. This is the exact time to capture their interest and significantly increase dealer awareness of deals.
  • Dealer on-line "persona" (Google 5? rating, website and product information) will determine if someone is going to contact you.
  • 75% of "active interest" website visitors who say they intend to purchase will purchase new or used equipment in the next 12 months. Website pop up "Can I help you? increases "form fills" by 6 to 10 times for active interest potential buyers.
  • Transaction close rate on completed form fills is ~ 50%.

Read More...

 

Strategic Thinking for Dealers

By Walter McDonald


So, what is this thing called "strategy"?
            strategy [<Greek strat?gos, generalship>]

STRATEGY answers the question where and how does "the general" (dealer ownership) position their scarce and costly resources? Your overall Strategy includes the fundamental set of decisions that must be made and made properly for the dealership to survive and prosper.

A Proper Strategy enables the Dealer to achieve business objectives with greatest efficiency at the least amount of cost.

Strategy includes a complete picture of exactly how you would make the best use of your resources to achieve your goals. How should you position your "big guns"? An effective Strategy must also include well-orchestrated Tactics and competently executed Operations.

In order to structure a successful Dealer Development Strategy, six critical questions must be answered.

Strategy Development

  1. What products in which markets/customer segments?
  2. What management leadership roles and structure?
  3. What sales and marketing investments?
  4. What product support investment?
  5. What information technology investment?
  6. What succession plan/growth/exit strategy?
  • The most critical information required for Strategic Thinking is knowledge about customers.
  • A really successful business is not determined by you (or your manufacturer). The really successful businesses are created by customers.
  • Strategy is defined as the way in which a Dealer endeavors to differentiate himself positively from competitors, utilizing his relative strengths to better satisfy customer needs.
  • A good strategist learns the mind of the customer as well as the technical details of the product or service application.
  • What does the prospect really want to achieve? How can you help him save time or increase productivity or improve safety or reduce cost with your dealership's products and services?
  • The more you know about your prospective customers' needs, the easier it is to build an appropriate business strategy.

Read More...

 

Building Machinery Dealer Market Share:

20 Essential Components of Success

By Walter McDonald

In my 7-volume Master's Program book set, and in these Newsletters, we have been discussing useful and highly effective tools to build machinery market share. In this article, we summarize and prioritize essential market share building tools to help you achieve a dynamite 2021.

Gaining equipment market share requires a lot more than just having persuasive field sales reps. It takes the entire dealer organization working as a team, delivering value, helping customers reduce costs, increase productivity and increase their revenue.

A very successful client once told me, "Our success is the sum total of all of our employees' activities, every hour of every day!" Hence, the need for a very comprehensive look at what it really takes for a machinery dealer to build market share.

Give yourself 5 points for each of these 20 areas in which you are currently doing well. A good score is over 90. If you are under 90, there is opportunity to strengthen your drive to increase machinery sales and market share. Your first target could be to increase your machinery unit sales to a market share score greater than your primary OEM's.

Extensive "how to" insights are provided for each of these market building tools in my textbooks, The Master's Program in Dealer Management. Reference pages are noted after each tool listed below. Keys for the complete book titles are shown at the end of the article.

Keep in mind that 2020 was likely an unusual year, and purchase patterns may not be representative. But addressing changing patterns and building relationships can be timely opportunities.

Strengthen AFTERMARKET Sales, Marketing Programs, Practices

1. Housekeeping
When a customer walks into your service department, what does he/she see? Is the workshop clean, orderly, giving the image of technicians doing quality work? Is the floor spray washed and sealed? Do the technicians appear focused and well organized? Is a photo of the shop something you would proudly post on your dealer website? Or, does your customer see old rags, dirty floors, chunks of scrap iron, work bays used for storage, bits of garbage, dirty uniforms, a sloppy, careless image of less than top tier quality work?

Read More...

 

The Executive Program in Machinery Dealer Development

By Walter McDonald, Founder, The Institute for Dealer Development

The 14 module Distance Learning and private, personalized development program designed for machinery distribution executives and managers. A Certificate in Machinery Dealer Development will be awarded upon successful completion of all course and study requirements. Mr. McDonald will work personally with each participant on assignments, discussion sessions and study projects in each module.

2021 Curriculum

1. Step One: Establishing Personal Learning Objectives

2. Building the Dealer Development Evaluator for each Dealer Location.
Assessing 10 dealer performance strengths against 10 market attractiveness attributes. An essential first step in understanding the big picture.

3. Importance of Quants
The role of quantitative assessments in building dealer profitability, market share and customer retention. Review critical revenue center management tools and operations performance metrics that enable you to best control the business.

4. Customer Service and Retention
How to build value delivery in every customer interaction. Examine best practices and premiere dealer metrics. Identify performance standards and tools essential to manage customer expectations and maintain high levels of customer retention. Investigate how to best monitor dealer performance, listen to the voice of the customer and how to develop the employee customer retention team.

5. Product Support as a Competitive Weapon
The big differentiator today in machinery distribution is product support. How to determine a competitor's aftermarket vulnerability. How to leverage this advantage. Discuss how to significantly increase the value delivery in your aftermarket product support business.

6. Parts Operations
Examine best practices and premiere dealer metrics. Examine why Off-Shelf Parts Fill Rate to Service is the single most important performance measurement in a machinery dealership. Discuss how obsolescence impacts parts fill rate and inventory turns. Review best approaches to improve Parts Fill Rate, Parts Warehouse Management, Parts Inventory Management, Parts Business Management and Parts Employee Development

7. Service Operations
Examine dealer best practices and premiere dealer metrics. Project current real cash loss of low current technician productivity. Identify drivers of individual technician productivity, and shop recovery rate. Discuss benefits of tracking technician efficiency and how to structure standard times in every shop environment. Review best approaches to Service Operation and Work Order Management, Service Supervisory Management, Service Labor Productivity Management, Service Business Management and Service Employee Development.

 

(Download Full Article)

 

 

6 Great Times to Get Sales Referrals

By Walter McDonald

One of my most popular sales training sessions is on how to ask for and get sales referrals. Sometimes there is a little confusion between a "referral" and a "testimonial."

A testimonial is a statement from a satisfied customer about the excellent performance of your equipment, your dealership or your people. Testimonials can be extremely useful, especially if they are application specific for equipment users in a particular area, such as underground directional drilling. Testimonials can add a huge amount of credibility to your sales presentation, offering proof that your equipment will do what you say it will.

A referral, on the other hand, is a potential sales lead given to you by a satisfied customer. Properly handled, a sales lead can be the most useful introduction to a new account.

In my workshop on asking for sales referrals, participants bring a list of 10 customers with their telephone contact information to their session. We discuss when and how to ask for referrals. Then, the sales reps break out for 90 minutes and make the calls. The average success rate is eight good sales leads developed by each participating sales rep.

 

Here's how it works out in the territory

 

There are six really great times to ask for referrals from your customer:
1. He signs the order.
2. His deposit check clears the bank.
3. His machine is delivered.
4. You make the 30 day follow up call.
5. You make contact with one of the referrals he provided you earlier.
6. The one year anniversary of his purchase.

(Download Full Article)

 

The Executive Program in Machinery Dealer Development

By Walter McDonald, Founder, The Institute for Dealer Development

The 14 module Distance Learning and private, personalized development program designed for machinery distribution executives and managers. A Certificate in Machinery Dealer Development will be awarded upon successful completion of all course and study requirements. Mr. McDonald will work personally with each participant on assignments, discussion sessions and study projects in each module.

2021 Curriculum

1. Step One: Establishing Personal Learning Objectives

2. Building the Dealer Development Evaluator for each Dealer Location.
Assessing 10 dealer performance strengths against 10 market attractiveness attributes. An essential first step in understanding the big picture.

3. Importance of Quants
The role of quantitative assessments in building dealer profitability, market share and customer retention. Review critical revenue center management tools and operations performance metrics that enable you to best control the business.

4. Customer Service and Retention
How to build value delivery in every customer interaction. Examine best practices and premiere dealer metrics. Identify performance standards and tools essential to manage customer expectations and maintain high levels of customer retention. Investigate how to best monitor dealer performance, listen to the voice of the customer and how to develop the employee customer retention team.

5. Product Support as a Competitive Weapon
The big differentiator today in machinery distribution is product support. How to determine a competitor's aftermarket vulnerability. How to leverage this advantage. Discuss how to significantly increase the value delivery in your aftermarket product support business.

6. Parts Operations
Examine best practices and premiere dealer metrics. Examine why Off-Shelf Parts Fill Rate to Service is the single most important performance measurement in a machinery dealership. Discuss how obsolescence impacts parts fill rate and inventory turns. Review best approaches to improve Parts Fill Rate, Parts Warehouse Management, Parts Inventory Management, Parts Business Management and Parts Employee Development

7. Service Operations
Examine dealer best practices and premiere dealer metrics. Project current real cash loss of low current technician productivity. Identify drivers of individual technician productivity, and shop recovery rate. Discuss benefits of tracking technician efficiency and how to structure standard times in every shop environment. Review best approaches to Service Operation and Work Order Management, Service Supervisory Management, Service Labor Productivity Management, Service Business Management and Service Employee Development.

 

(Download Full Article)

 

 

The 6 Basics You Need for Successful Marketing


From initial planning to analyzing the results
Marketing seems simple: you're just spreading the word about your company, right? That doesn't take much skill, right? Wrong and wrong.

Marketing requires more than just putting together an email or writing an ad. Marketing is a nuanced, multifaceted process that can overwhelm even the most successful business operators.

Here are 6 basics that every business needs for successful marketing, plus how Winsby can help you succeed with each!

1. Why You Need a Marketing Plan
You don't run your business without a plan, and you shouldn't run your marketing without a strategy. That means laying out your approaches, outlets, and allies who can help you spread your message. And, no, you won't be alone: The Content Marketing Institute shows that the industry's leading marketers are more likely to have a clearly documented strategy than their less successful peers.

If you need help formulating that plan, Winsby's expert team can do it for you! Together we can take your marketing to the next level, resulting in more prospects. All your sales team needs to do is close them!

2. Why You Need Email Marketing
Emails remind your customers to purchase from you and remind your prospects that you are there, just waiting for their current provider to make a mistake. They need to talk about everything you offer; sometimes a customer won't know that you sell something they are buying from someone else … and they'd prefer to buy it from you! Tell everyone what you have available.

 

(Download Full Article)

 

Need help with anything? Contact Winsby!

 

The Problem Solving Process

By Walter J. McDonald


If you are facing a promotion or additional responsibilities as a Machinery Dealer Department or Branch Manager or even a Division Executive, congratulations! You are anxious to get started and do the best job you can.

However, in many circumstances the challenges in this new position can be formidable. And, at first glance, the magnitude of problems in all directions can appear nearly impossible to overcome.

Here's a field proven approach that can help guide you, assist you in establishing priorities, achieve success, and enable you to build and maintain a strong, positive relationship with your manager. The key to success in this new and challenging adventure is to make certain you and your boss are always on the same wavelength. That is, you and he/she are in total agreement on your priorities and action plans. This approach will foster and ensure their support for your efforts. Unless you build this bond, really bad things can happen.

One of the main reasons that your new responsibilities can be so exciting is because a dealership is a very complex combination of five separate businesses, loosely connected by internal relationships. The fundamental strategy for managing this type of highly complex system was developed several decades ago by organizing the dealership into Revenue Centers with separate monthly financial statements. Fortunately, today, there are well established performance benchmarks for the profit drivers in each machinery dealer revenue center. And, these can be invaluable tools in your problem diagnostics and problem solving efforts.

 

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Manufacturing Better Service Operations

By Richard Golden, Director of Operations, Material Handling Distributor


Introduction
Back in 1990 manufacturing was dramatically transformed with the development of what is commonly referred to as Lean or Continuous Improvement. The result of a manufacturer adopting this system was that they could produce widgets faster, safer and at a lower cost while improving quality. As the success of manufacturers continued, the ideas also caught on with service providers. The successful adopters achieved a competitive advantage by giving their customers what they wanted, at a fair price, while making greater profit. The thinking behind all of these lean or continuous improvement systems is similar, and manufacturers and service providers choose to implement one over the other based on which one fits their culture best. The main ideas behind these practices are:

  1. Adherence to a long-term philosophy of generating value for customers, society and the economy
  2. Providing customers the value they are looking for through efficient processes
  3. An unrelenting quest to eliminate waste and continuously improve processes
  4. An intense focus on continuously learning and the development of employees and business partners

The same thought processes can also be successfully applied to equipment service operations. Instead of manufacturing widgets, an equipment dealer is manufacturing equipment uptime.

 

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11 Dynamite Tools to Help Improve Dealer Market Knowledge

by Walter J. McDonald

 

Machinery dealers are taking data analytics more and more seriously. Enterprise software vendors are offering amazing color graphics, pie charts, graphs, bar charts. But behind all this is the question, "What do you really need to know?" What information will provide you the most helpful and useful insights into pursuing your very best opportunities? Do you want to improve profitability? Increase aftermarket sales penetration? Expand your business into new areas?

 

 

Listed below are 11 of the most useful and insightful assessment tools machinery dealers are utilizing today to improve profitable operations across the board. These 11 tools include applications in Corporate Strategy, Machinery Sales and Rentals and Aftermarket Parts and Service .

 

 

A few cutting-edge dealers have appointed a Marketing Insights Manager to help identify and exploit this information. They are tasked with assisting owners/ executives, machinery sales and aftermarket management teams identify and pursue their most attractive opportunities.

 

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Status Calls

by Debbie Frakes, Managing Director, Winsby Inc.

 

Status calls occur when a customer calls asking for an update about a promised or expected delivery of parts, service or equipment. For most customers of equipment dealers, the expected turnaround time for a parts delivery, completion of a service request, or delivery of in stock equipment is 24 to 48 hours. If the delivery date will be longer than this timeframe, it's important to advise the customer of the expected date for delivery. Proactively contact customers to keep them informed of progress as often as possible to avoid status calls.

 

 

Any status call is extremely costly*

 

  • They take 3 to 5 times longer to address than the time required to update customers proactively.
  • They occur most often at peak times, blocking time better spent on new orders and service opportunities.
  • They also generate negative feelings from the customer. The result is that one-third of these customers are lost over the next 12 months. An average customer for most dealers generates over $5,000 to $10,000 in annual revenue, so the cost of losing one is high.
  • The average equipment dealer loses 51% of their customers over a rolling 12 month period. The number one reason for a lost customer is mismanaged expectations—not keeping the customer informed.

 

*Note: Data is derived from over a 10-year period by Winsby, Inc., tracking dealer customer transactions (parts, service, rentals, machinery sales) from the experiences of over 100 machinery dealers managing more than 500,000 customer relationships.

 

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How to Develop and Mentor Product Support Leaders

By Chris Holmes, President (ret.) Nortrax, a John Deere Company

 

Show me a company with a group of strong leaders, and you'll see a group of satisfied customers, business owners and employees. Identifying, attracting, developing and retaining leaders is a common challenge faced by most businesses. As challenging as it may seem, there are solutions once you commit to make them a priority. Tools such as McDonald Group training and their Dealer Excellence book series, dealer supplier courses and the sharing of best practices are very good places to engage in leadership development.

 

 

Identifying future leaders - promoting from within

 

Future product support leaders are often a diamond in the rough and may be right under your nose. By being in front of the techs or parts teams on a regular basis it gives insight into who potentially has leadership traits that just need to be honed. Key initiatives such as performance-based compensation plans that actively engage the product support teams in the development, subsequent rollout and ongoing execution really gives insight into potential leaders. "Being there" (interacting regularly with all employees at all levels of the organization) as a manager or senior leader enables you to spot a future leader quickly through direct interaction.

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Secret to Shop Floor Productivity

You're Throwing 25% of Hard-Earned Shop Output Away Today
by Failing "to Explain" to Your Technicians

By Cuyler Callahan, Heavy Equipment Shop Technician

 

Do you want to know a secret to increased production on the shop floor…?

 

 

And not just increased production, but an energetic shop full of happy technicians. Technicians who complete jobs on or under time, and shoot profits up and up…

 

 

I thought so.

 

 

As a technician myself, I'll give you the wrench-in-hand, boots-on-concrete experience.

 

 

But before I spout off my in-the-trenches advice (and as a soldier technician I have spent time in trenches) let me give you some stats to mull over…

 

 

According to the McKinsey Global Institute, productivity can increase by 20 to 25% in a workplace where employees experience good communication and feel connected.

 

 

Source: www.mckinsey.com

 

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80 Secrets of Highly Successful Dealers

By Walter McDonald


This article is presented on the occasion of my 80th birthday and after nearly 50 years of helping equipment dealers achieve higher levels of performance. These are 80 of the more than 600 documented "success secrets" I have seen practiced by highly successful machinery dealers around the world. These "best practices" guide dealers to higher profitability, market share, cash flow and customer retention. Many will apply to your business. Use what you can and prosper! Buy and utilize my books for full "how to" details. I'll even include a free Self-Study Course and private coaching to help you with your self-development effort. So, Happy Birthday!

 

Sequence:

Strategy, Customer Retention, Parts, Service, Rentals, Used Machinery and New Machinery

Strategy

  1. Carefully evaluate which products match what markets. Most dealers have far more business opportunities available than they can adequately support or effectively manage. This is the most strategic assessment you can make and the resulting decisions will have life or death impact on your future prosperity. Which opportunities should you pursue with vigor? Which should you abandon because they just drain your