A career in heavy commercial vehicle sales can be exciting and rewarding if one is prepared to master all the necessary skills, writes VIC OLIVER
Today’s truck buyers want to deal with sales people who are professional and knowledgeable in all the facets of road transportation. They want to deal with sales people who can select the right vehicle for the job and add value to their business by being able at act as a transport consultant.
Marketing and selling commercial vehicles can be a very attractive and rewarding career, provided that the sales person is prepared to master the required skills and possesses the passion and drive to become professional in his or her job.
Most of the truck manufacturers (and some dealers) provide basic training for their sales staff, but this is not normally sufficient to equip the sales consultant with adequate knowledge to be successful.
The sales person must be prepared to put in additional effort, by undertaking self-study, attending industry meetings and reading all the relevant trade magazines and training literature that is available. They should not wait for the manufacturer to provide all the required training.
To be successful, the truck sales consultant requires some elementary technical knowledge related to the product and industry that he or she represents. In addition, they need to be able to master the following skills:
• Be able to determine the correct vehicle for the job, and calculate vehicle performance and operating costs;
• Understand the fleet business, fleet management and how to sell to corporate fleets;
• Be able to prepare monthly sales forecasts;
• Know the South African Road Traffic Act and Regulations;
• Know how to register and license a vehicle, and how to deliver and hand over a vehicle in a professional manner.
In addition to mastering the basic skills of actually selling the vehicle, the sales consultant must be able to attract and retain a strong core of highly satisfied customers, by meeting and exceeding their expectations and needs in terms of heavy-vehicle transport solutions. This is done by focusing on customer satisfaction and truck dealer profitability.
Good product knowledge is essential. With the strong competition that truck and bus manufacturers and dealers face in the South African new-vehicle market, it has become an absolute survival necessity for all sales executives to know their product and be a master of all the relative technology.
With well over 20 different brands of medium, heavy and extra-heavy commercial vehicles being sold in South Africa, in a relatively small market, the competition is extremely tough. This is especially so when the vehicles that they offer can all do the job, provided that they are correct for the application.
Often the sales person who wins the order is the one who knows the product and possesses the knowledge and skills to advise the client correctly.
There is a great opportunity for truck and bus sales executives in South Africa to enjoy a rewarding career in this industry, provided that they know their product and are a master of all the relevant skills that are needed to correctly advise and consult to the customer.
One of this country’s most respected commercial vehicle industry authorities, VIC OLIVER has been in this industry for over 50 years. Before joining the FOCUS team, he spent 15 years with Nissan Diesel (now UD Trucks), 11 years with Busaf and seven years with International.
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