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Ideas On How To Handle Inventory Issues
Article By John Chapin
1. Keep in mind that almost all other industries are experiencing the same shortage in inventory. Unless someone is living under a rock, they know this. Simply say, “Joe, as you know, cars, computer chips, every single industry is dealing with inventory issues right now.”
2. Over communicate. If someone is waiting for a machine, reach out to them more often than not, to let them know the status. Even if you don’t know, call people and let them know you don’t know. This let’s people know you haven’t forgotten about them. The last thing you want is someone chasing you down for answers. Be proactive with communication.
3. Under promise, over deliver. If the manufacturer says three months, tell the customer four or even five months. If the manufacturer misses the three month window and it takes six, adjust accordingly.
4. If you know people are going to have to wait long periods to get equipment they order, be proactive and make sure they know this so they can order early. Even if you aren’t sure whether a particular customer will need something, this is a good excuse to reach out and have a conversation.
5. Strengthen your ties with the manufacturers’ reps. Ask them what they need to see from you to make your orders a priority. Show them you have orders.
6. Make more calls because many salespeople are making fewer calls since they don’t want to disappoint a customer who might say they need something that the dealer doesn’t have. This is fear-based communication, or a lack of communication due to fear. If someone wants to buy something, you want to know about it so you can get it ordered. The average salesperson cuts back on calls by 37% when there are disruptions in the market. This is a good time to go get competitive business.
7. Come from a position of strength not weakness. You don’t use the fact that you don’t have inventory of some equipment as an excuse to make fewer calls, in fact use it as an excuse to make more. Why? The human default setting is to get negative and make fewer calls. You need to be a contrarian and take advantage of the fact that most people are probably still backing off right now. Stay positive and increase your calls. You never are better off being negative and making fewer calls, in fact you’re always worse off, and you’re almost always better off doing the opposite or what everyone else is doing.
8. Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t do. One of the first rules of sales is lead with “yes” versus “no.” When someone asks if you have something that is on backorder, instead of saying “no”, you say, “Yes, we have some of those scheduled to come in in six months. We’re taking orders for them now. Follow me and I’ll get some information from you so we can get it set up exactly the way you want it equipped.” Let’s face it, you may eventually have to say “no” if they push you on if you have any at the dealership right now. The point is—lead with what you can do versus what you can’t.
A statue was never built in honor of a critic, the world appreciates positive problem solvers, those that go against the grain, and see the opportunities in a crisis.
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