Fred Orlando has been in truck sales since 1990, selling Mitsubishi FUSO for the past 11 years.
It’s a fulfilling career, making good money for his family, while connecting customers with the right trucks they need to prosper in their businesses.
“One of the best feelings in the world is closing the deal and know that you are helping someone at the same time,” he says. “A friend told me if you are selling trucks and you like what you are doing you will never be out of work. He was right.”
For Orlando, sales is the foundation for a successful, long-term relationship with the buyer.
“Everything starts with the sale and salespeople need to realize that,” he says. “It establishes the customer confidence that leads to everything.”
In touch with customers
Orlando is sales manager at Jim Reed’s Truck Sales in Cortlandt Manor, New York. The dealership makes it easy for customers and prospective buyers to get information.
“We advertise like crazy,” he says. “We maintain three websites with inventory, so customers can find it.”
Technology is providing more ways than ever to connect with customers. The savvy salesperson quickly determines the preferred way to communicate with customers.
“A lot of our customers are landscapers, so email is not the best way to get ahold of them. Texting is best,” Orlando says. “If I am working with a manager or someone in an office, a call or email works. Some people prefer to answer their emails at home at night.”
Going the extra mile often makes the difference in retailing a truck. At Jim Reed’s, when a customer drops off a truck for service, the staff makes sure he gets a ride. The dealership will send a tow truck, if needed, for a customer who wants to make a trade.
“We have a reputation for helping the customer in any way we can,” he says. “That’s a big reason why my customers are 60-70% repeat customers and the ones who aren’t are almost always referrals.”
Education drives sales
It’s also important to educate customers on what is going on in the industry. Several times a year, the dealership hosts a sales seminar or brings in a representative from the Department of Transportation for a cocktail party and a tutorial. Once a month, the dealership hosts a casual lunch for their customers.
Promoting the brand is part of the culture. Orlando and his colleagues routinely hand out promotional items that show Mitsubishi FUSO’s three-diamond logo.
“Water bottles, hats, flashlights, pens equipped with screwdrivers, all kinds of giveaways,” Orlando says. “We always have calendars on the counter.”
He sends greeting cards to business contacts at Christmas and New Year’s. “I also send a thank you note that goes out two weeks after we deliver a truck.”
Harnessing social media
Jim Reed’s also maintains its presence on social media to keep customers in the loop. The dealership has outsourced its social media to a professional, who frequently updates various channels.
With a deep history of success in sales, he says his most important skill is the art of listening.
“We have a Facebook page and recently launched Instagram,” Orlando says. “If there’s anything I want to get on social media, I let our guy know. And if he hasn’t heard from me in a while, he calls me and asks if there’s anything we need to get out there.”
“Don’t get too personal. Don’t talk too much,” he says. “Salespeople generally love to talk and you need to know when to shut up. I don’t know anybody who can’t get better at listening.”
He also has upped his game through FUSO’s web-based training.
“Few people are enthusiastic when they know they have to go through training,” he says. “Then, after you do it, you realize you needed to do that training.”