Special orders can be a bit of a hassle. But it can be worth a few minutes of your time to turn a special order into a stronger relationship with your customer.
Special order pricing lookup isn't the issue it once was. Your point-of-sale system should do special order price lookups in seconds. So, you can quote a price, close the deal and collect a deposit on the spot. Some suppliers allow subscribers to text a part number and get back pricing and availability in a matter of seconds so a dealer knows immediately if he's placing an order or backorder.
A bigger issue can sometimes be figuring out exactly what a customer wants if he or she can't give enough specifics. One dealer told me he once asked if anyone else in the shop had the tool so he could find a part number or at least a manufacturer's name. It worked!
And drop shipping is no longer a dirty word. It was once unthinkable to drop ship a special order or out-of-inventory item directly to your customer. Now I think it's just good business. Today, many suppliers ship packages without their address or prices on the packing slips.
Many suppliers can ship the same day. So, in most cases, your customer doesn't have to wait a week or two for you to get back to him with his new tool. This makes for happier customers. And happier customers tend to make for happier dealers.
Have a sales strategy or helpful hint you'd like to share? Send your "30-second sales seminar" to firstname.lastname@example.org, and see your suggestion featured here!