New technology vs. the old basics

Q - What new trends in marketing technology can help me boost my sales?   A - Technology has become so accessible today that even the most techno-phobic person can put it to use for sales & marketing.   If you aren’t a computer person...

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Q - What new trends in marketing technology can help me boost my sales? 

A - Technology has become so accessible today that even the most techno-phobic person can put it to use for sales & marketing. 

If you aren’t a computer person, don’t let the word “technology” intimidate you. You sell technology every day. Even the simplest tool you sell is a technology. (Most tools are more advanced that you give them credit for being.)

Also, you don’t need to invest in expensive hardware or complicated software to put this technology to work. Everything you need is likely right in your pocket -- and your customer’s pocket. It’s as close as your cell phone.

For the first time ever, smartphones like Apple’s iPhone and Google Android-powered phones are outselling computers. Smartphones put some powerful, easy-to-use technology right in your hands. Smart dealers will be using this simple technology more and more to keep connected with customers in new and innovative ways – well beyond simple phone calls.

A few dealers I’ve talked with have been using text messaging more frequently. It’s a technology available on most of even the oldest phones out there. It can help you with sales, promotions and, even, collections.

Get orders by text

One dealer I’ve talked to encourages his customers to text him right from their bay the minute they think of a tool they want. This way the customer never forgets to ask for a tool, and the dealer has time to order anything not in inventory. Texting is second nature for younger techs and it helps the dealer keep stocked with the right tools.

Push promotions by text

If you’re a little more tech-savvy, you can use an online service like to broadcast brief promotional text messages to all your customers at one time. A tech may not check his email every day, but he likely has his phone in the bay with him all day long. Something simple like “8-Piece 3/8-inch Drive Metric Crow’s Foot Wrench Set – SALE $39.99. Text or call to reserve yours,” can help you announce a promotion before you ever walk in the door. But be sure you get your customer’s permission to text him, keep it brief and keep it to about once a week or less. (Text messaging costs extra on some plans, and the last thing you want is to tick off your customer.) 

Collections by text

You might consider using text messaging as a collection tool, too. Cornwell dealer Damien DaCosta of Murfreesburo, Tenn. often sends individual text messages to a customer asking for an OK to run the credit card number he has on file for that week’s payment. It’s not for every week or every customer, but it can save both you and the tech time and keeps the cash flowing.

All these are interesting ideas that can bump-up sales and cashflow. But text messaging is not likely to double your sales or rock your bottomline. Looking for a more substantial sales boost? Read on…

Q - I used to blame my sluggish sales on the economy. Now all the other dealers I know are starting to do a little better and my business is still flat. What am I doing wrong? 

A - I wish I knew you well enough to tell you what you’re doing wrong. But my guess is as sales slacked off during the peak of the Great Recession that you started to slack off, too. You stopped pushing yourself, just picked low hanging fruit, and forgot the importance of the basics.  

Getting the basics right is difficult. It’s tedious. It’s time-consuming. It’s hard work. But it’s the cornerstone of success in any business. Being disciplined is what sets the top sellers apart from the second tier.

Let’s look at one of the simplest and yet most effective thing you can do: Stay on schedule. It sounds silly, but if you’re not on time, you’re wasting your time. Being on schedule best serves you, your customers and the shop owner.

Why you want to be on schedule

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