Consultative Buying. What You Should Expect From Your Snowplow Outfitter
Consultative snowplow buying – how attention, patience and expertise improve the experience.
by Jerry Holman
Attention, patience and expertise.
These are the three things you should expect when you’re buying a snowplow. Or anything else, for that matter.
It’s pretty basic stuff. Some call it old school, and we take that as a compliment. Other people call it consultative selling. But the way we see it, the focus should be on you, not on us.
We call it consultative buying instead, and here’s how we make it happen.
It starts with observation. If we see a customer climbs down from the cab of a big, extra-duty diesel through our showroom windows, that tells us one thing. If he hops out of a smaller truck, that tells us something else. In most cases we have a pretty good idea of where the conversation will lead before he even walks in the door.
Once he’s inside, if he’s like most people, he’ll start out by telling us what he thinks he needs. We listen. Then we ask questions like, “What are you going to be plowing? Condominium complexes, residential driveways, convenience store lots, big box store lots? How many do you need to clear in a shift? Will the areas be full of cars or empty? And the biggest question of all – What’s important to you when it comes to your snowplow?
Example: Guy descends from an F-350. Right away we’re thinking huge parking lots. We starting asking the questions and, sure enough, big-box work. We suggest an 8-foot straight plow that extends to 10′. He’ll be able to plow without having windrows come off the edge of his blade, carry large volumes of snow in the bucket and steer when there’s snow in front of the vehicle.
We might know exactly what a customer needs 60 seconds into the conversation, but we still take the time to listen carefully, make sure we understand his business and how he goes about it. Besides, he might surprise us; what we’re sure he needs after the first minute might look very different after 10.
Example: Another guy, another F-350. Right away we’re thinking huge parking lots. After a few minutes of break-the-ice conversation, we find out he’s thinking about the long driveway to his lake cabin and getting to his ice-house after a blizzard. He needs to bust through drifts built up over four snowfalls while he was working in the city. He needs something that’s easy to carry down the highway on the front of his rig. He came in for a straight plow, but what he really needs is a V-plow.
By golly, he says, I think you’re right.
Once we’re certain we know which snowplow will be best for a customer’s operation, we tell him. And we explain to him why our recommendation is the best choice in terms of efficiency, costs and maneuverability, using realistic numbers and scenarios. Since we were once snow removal contractors ourselves, we’ll probably throw in real-world examples.
If he still really wants something else, we’ll take more time to gently push him in the right direction. After that, well, the customer is always right, you can lead a horse to water… pick your cliché.
Attention, patience and expertise. They’re the trinity of a consultative buying experience, and they’re what you can expect from Stonebrooke Equipment every time. So when you’re in the market for a new snowplow, contact us or stop on by any time.