Editorial By John Blodgett
I would like to introduce a new term to the industry: beforemarket. I am sure this term will be used as an industry standard for at least the next 30—45 seconds. Beforemarket refers to all the actions a company that is in the business of selling parts and/or services should do to be successful in the aftermarket.
This includes truly understanding the customers in your market: what is their business, how many vehicles do they have, what is the age profile of their vehicles (trucks and trailers), what is their typical vehicle buying and selling practice, do they typically buy new or used vehicles, what are their in-house service capabilities (tools and people), what make of trucks and engines do they own, who are the key decision makers?
Anything and everything that helps you better understand your customer (and in turn helps them) makes you a better supplier specifically to their needs. In addition, ask yourself if they know about your business, capabilities, hours and people?
This should be an on-going activity, because people, policies and practices change. You’re just wasting your initial efforts if you don’t keep up with the changes.
Beforemarket also refers to making sure your people have the tools and knowledge to correctly sell your products and services. If you have more than one brand of products, do they understand the differences and goals of the brands? Does your team know the products, capabilities and services for the parts of the business they are not involved in?
It is not easy, but good consistent beforemarket efforts are likely to provide better aftermarket results.