The novel coronavirus has upended society in a number of ways, including economically. Measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 have chilled business and social interactions alike. But amidst the uncertainty and reduced foot traffic, there is one bright spot for equipment dealers, and that’s demand for used heavy machinery. The key is to conduct your business in a way that is safe for your customers, your employees, and yourself.
Before getting into government safety tips for your physical workplace, let’s first take a look at keeping your business going during this unusual period.
Go Where Your Customers Are: Online
When one door closes, as the old adage goes, another opens. Opportunity may be knocking less often on the front door of your dealership, but it’s certainly doing a lot of calling and messaging online.
As customers have self-isolated and sheltered in place, they’ve turned to the internet to do the buying and selling they would normally conduct in person. If you haven’t already started to take advantage of online sales channels, now is the perfect time to begin. Truck Locator, Farm & Plant, Machinery Trader, and other Sandhills Global trade sites give your inventory unparalleled exposure to qualified buyers in the UK and Ireland. Meanwhile, AuctionTime, the premier online auction platform for heavy machinery, is experiencing record levels of activity.
Another key component of your dealership’s online presence is its own website. Sandhills Global can design, set up, and host a site that’s responsive, meaning that it’s mobile-friendly and easy to navigate on a phone or tablet. With just a single point of entry, your equipment listings can automatically replicate to your new site as well as to the applicable trade sites mentioned above. And Sandhills’ search engine optimisation (SEO) ensures that when customers are looking for your products online, your dealership will be one of the first they see.
Sharpen Your Online Skills
If you’re already conducting business online, you’re ahead of the game. What you need to do now is to evaluate your online presence and look for areas that could stand some improvement.
For example, AddAShop is the easiest way to add e-commerce to your website. You can use it to sell parts, attachments, or even entire machines to your customers and accept their online payments through Stripe UK, even when you’re not in the office.
Make sure that your online product listings have updated prices, vivid photos, and clear, accurate descriptions. Upload videos of used machines going through their motions, so buyers can hear the engine and ascertain the condition of wear parts such as bushings. If the site supports 360-degree photos such as a panoramic shot of the interior of a cab, as Sandhills sites do, consider purchasing a compatible camera such as the Ricoh Theta and a tripod.
Finally, be responsive to customer inquiries, and be flexible about the ways that potential buyers can reach you. For instance, WhatsApp, text messages, and Facebook Messenger are all popular venues of communication with the buying public, while a video chat can give your salespeople more of a personal connection with a prospective customer.
Safety In The Workplace
Of course, it’s critical to follow guidelines from the Department of Health and other government agencies in order to maintain a safe workplace. COVID-19 is new to human beings and highly transmissible, but there are steps you can take to minimise the risk in your dealership until a vaccine can be developed and widely distributed.
Besides the most common advisories—keeping sick people out of the office, washing hands, providing hand sanitiser, maintaining 2-metre distances, disinfecting doorknobs, and so on—government sources suggest cohorting, or separating groups such as parts specialists from others such as administration or sales representatives. Another idea is to stagger the shifts employees work or alternate their workdays with judicious cleaning in between. Temporarily closing down common areas such as breakrooms can also reduce unwanted clustering of personnel.
Finally, properly worn and maintained face masks may not only help reduce transmission of COVID-19, but they may also be viewed as a sign of respect and concern for the well-being of customers in the service center and other on-site areas.