The Digital Dealership: Comparing Equipment Presentation

The Digital Dealership: Comparing Equipment Presentation

Tonight, guest blogger Mets Kramer continues to educate us on all the digital aspects of our business with The Digital Dealership: Comparing Equipment Presentation.

One of the Statements I have made repeatedly in this series is: “The average buyer does 85% of their research digitally prior to contacting the dealer” (Thanks @Charles Bowles). What does this mean for dealers?   In the most practical way, it means “Call for details” is dead. Providing information is critical.

In this blog, I would like to get each of you to do some research. Considering my statement above, which of the following websites or products would you feel ready to buy (assuming you needed it) based on the digital presentation of the product.

To get started I would like to look at the used passenger vehicle market.  This is one market we all have experience in, and one that has seen a radical change over the last 10 years.  It has also been a strong industry, leading the Equipment industry by 10 to 20 years, showing where digital technology is going in the future.

First let’s look at Carvana and CarMax, leaders in digital sales, presenting the vehicles they have for sale.

Then Compare the Experience Here at a Toyota Dealer, which does a decent job, but is behind.

Notice how Carvana and CarMax are highlighting issues to avoid surprises, providing delivery and a 7-day guarantee to handle risk and objections.

Which of these listings made you feel like you know enough about the vehicle?  It is a big step to buy your first vehicle without seeing it, for sure, but would seeing it in person really tell you more?  If you could not see it in person, which would you choose?

Now let us look at Equipment, the topic we all focus on daily.

Compare the following sites

  1. DeWitt Equipment Hitachi ZX-160LC-3, presented with images, 2 videos, details, and a PDF specifications document from Hitachi.

  1. Holt CAT 289D, presented with an inspection report and report from Electronic Technician, specifications, and images

  1. Marcel Equipment CAT D6N – presented with images, detailed description and full repair and condition info.

  1. 4Rivers CAT 320E, presented with 4 pictures and a short description

After Reviewing these different sites, which machines do you feel you “know” best?  Which one would you buy without seeing it in person?  More importantly, which machine would you be ready to contact the dealer about if you only contact dealers when you’re close to purchasing?

When presenting your equipment on your website you have the greatest opportunity to present the machine fully, since you control your site.  Your goal should be to present enough information to stop visitors from hunting around for more information.   You need to get them to stop scrolling or clicking, call, contact, email, etc. The best way to do this is to answer all their questions.

How would you change your website, to present your equipment better, with this in mind?

If you would like to review your website and look at how easily you can present your equipment with more detail, simply contact me at:  or (289) 680-6387

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The Digital Dealership: Getting Practical

Digital Dealership: Getting Practical

Tonight, guest blogger Mets Kramer continues to educate us on all the digital aspects of our business with The Digital Dealership: Getting Practical.

For the past few weeks, we’ve looked at creating a digital dealership and what defines going fully digital.  One of the main areas of focus, was changing our understanding of how providing information was a key aspect.   Being fully digital, requires being able to provide all the information customers require, about your inventory, in a digital, and typically self-serve way.

Working from current research on purchasing, we know customers are doing 85% of their research, about their purchase, digitally prior to calling a dealer.   This means customers want to find the information they need, to make a purchase decision, in your online platform.   As a digital dealer you need to provide this information.

To put it into perspective, you cannot call Amazon to ask a question about the product you are looking at, so Amazon provides lots of space for product descriptions, so you can make a decision.

For equipment it’s no different.  To provide adequate information to buyers, a digital dealer needs more than a short summary of a couple features and a few pictures.   Consider the following as important.

  1. Specifications, of the machine and model
  2. Service History
  3. 10+ images
  4. 1 or more videos – Operating, walk around, engine running, etc.
  5. Oil Sample history
  6. Repair and condition report
  7. Market and operating cost info
  8. Attachments and features

In a traditional approach, of digital billboard advertising, providing all this information and making it available on the website, takes a huge separate effort loading data into the site, or an outside system.  Furthermore, in all “out of the box” or “off the shelf” platforms, the presentation is standard and doesn’t present the equipment in a way that reflects your dealership.

So, I’m going to put my money with my mouth is;

I would like to show any of you, how manageable taking charge of your own digital presence is.  Modern software and website technology makes building a website easy and representative of your dealership.  It allows information to flow from your inventory management to your website and back to your CRM.  This will allow you to serve up video, images, documents, and detailed descriptions, and even recognize visiting customers.

If you have been following this series and want to see it in action, I’ll provide for you a CRM and a blank website template, linked to your inventory in the CRM.  The Site will be a cutting edge Litespeed server with an Oxygen website template connected to the Vizybility CRM and your inventory, using our WordPress plugin.  Our team will show you how manageable it is, how you can present your inventory and products exactly how you want.  We will work with your team for two months to show you how it will change your digital presence and your customers engagement.  We will even connect your customer data from CRM to Mailchimp so you can run standard and drip campaigns to keep your customers engaged.  If after 2 months you are not convinced, it’s on me.

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The Digital Dealership: Integrated Website

The Digital Dealership: Integrated Website

Tonight, guest blogger Mets Kramer continues to educate us on all the digital aspects of our business with The Digital Dealership: Integrated Website.

In my last article, “The Digital Dealership”, I painted a picture of what the digital dealership looks like.  What defined the digital dealership was information and a continuous flow of that information.  In this week’s article, I want to take a closer look at this, primarily because “Going Digital” has a particular assumption many people in our industry struggle with, especially around websites and sales. This struggle assumes “Going Digital” is about website shopping carts and electric payments, but this is not true.   You do not need to have a shopping cart or checkout function on your machine listing page to be a digital dealership.  What you need to do is have a connected flow of information that anticipates your customer’s needs.

Here are three things to consider when developing your digital dealership

First, stop separating your e-commerce customer portal solution from your main website.  Create a website that transitions from information site to portal seamlessly, and treats every visitor as a customer.  Do not make them search around for the portal login button and drop them into a different environment.

Your physical dealership doesn’t have a sign over one door labeled “Visitors” and a second door labeled “Customers”, so why do it at your digital dealership.

Using analytics platforms, you can monitor your site visitors. It won’t take long to realize a large percentage of your visitors are repeat visitors and existing customers.  These visits are often to learn more about the products they own, or products they are considering.   Your integrated website should present information on products, connect your available inventory, and create a sales connection.   Your website should integrate to your CRM, automatically creating new leads and generating Quotes in your CRM quote system.   The days of contact forms via email are over.

This brings up the second point to consider, recognize your visitors.   Without getting technical, your website can learn to recognize repeat visitors and customers.  These are visitors who may have done business with you and are in your CRM.  Yes, I’m talking about using Cookies and CRM integration.   When customers return to your site, you should know about it, and the site should recognize them.  The site should build on the existing knowledge of that visitor. Make sure your site can say “Welcome back!”.

Your physical dealership does not treat returning customers like strangers, so why would your digital dealership.

Presenting returning visitors with information about items they last viewed makes their visit more relevant.  For a known customer, show them as already “signed in” to customer areas.   Do they own a Model XYZ? Make sure they know their price on a new one or place a custom offer on the page for them.  No one else will see it because your digital dealership knows who the visitor is from your CRM.

Finally, when your customers enter your digital dealership, make sure their fleet data is available. Your customers and prospects do business with you for one reason.  They own equipment and you sell and service it.  Link services, knowledge, parts, and more to the customer’s known fleet.  Fleet data should be a visible function and updated easily.  Make sure it can capture, and save to your CRM, all brands of equipment, even if you’re an OEM dealer.

In implementing these 3 ideas your digital dealership moves beyond a billboard website or a machine advertising site, it becomes a digital dealership application that meets the needs of your customers. It engages them, provides them with ways to make doing business with you easier, and gives them the information they need.

While this may seem difficult, Modern CRM platforms like Vizybility are built to integrate with website applications and connect your digital dealership to daily operations.   Vizybility handles all your customer and prospect information and can store detailed fleet data for each.   Our complete API makes it easy and secure to connect your website to your sales and support teams.

If you would like to learn more about how we can help you build a digital dealership platform, contact me at

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The Digital Dealership

The Digital Dealership

Tonight, guest blogger Mets Kramer continues to educate us on all the digital aspects of our business with The Digital Dealership.

Over the past months I’ve covered various digital aspects of sales and marketing.  We talked about shifting our mindset from Digital Billboarding to Engagement Marketing.  We looked at how your website is more than just a confirmation of your existence, but a key part of your growing digital presence.   Research shows your customers are now completing up to 85% of their new purchase research before calling your dealership.

Let’s face it, we live in a digital world!  Almost everything we do is digitally enabled, even our most hands-on team members, technicians, open laptops and connect to machines prior to most repairs, and they certainly open them to execute their work at some point.  Our sales teams do digital quotes, get digital contracts signed and transact a sale in a digital system.

In our last conversation, on Ron’s podcast, Ron and I started to look at the general idea of a Digital Dealership.  A dealership not bound by the analog world, but one that recognizes our perpetual digital interactions. It shifts its thinking by starting from a digital perspective.  Imagine a green field dealership – a virtual one.

So, what would a digital dealer look like?  Here are some thoughts

A digital dealership starts by recognizing information is the driving force behind the digital change in how we live and work. The internet is often called the information superhighway and we are all connected.  Access to information is what drives each of us to “Google” something each day, just out of curiosity.  Information is what brings value to an interaction, it connects us with the knowledge we need to execute our work and businesses.

The digital dealership looks at how information flows through the business, from marketing and sales to service and support programs.  It looks at how the information of a customer’s engagement or transactions flow into the business, and then, it does one very important thing.  It looks at where that flow gets broken or disconnected.  Discontinuity, in our digital information flow, kills transactions, so the digital dealership makes sure it doesn’t happen.

In a practical sense, this means the digital dealership looks at how marketing efforts lead to sales, then to initiating and even closing a sale.  Customers have the option to change medium, but the flow doesn’t stop them if they know what they want, it uses information to enable.   On the parts and service side information powers a digital transaction in the same way.  The digital dealership no longer asks its customers for the machine serial number when they call for parts.  The Digital dealer recognizes incoming calls, remembers the customer’s equipment, offers them a digital purchasing options or creates automatic parts carts for common jobs.

In service, the digital dealer has analyzed what is the likely problem via telematics and service history to determine a possible cause, and solution, prior to driving to see the machine.  This is a scenario we have all talked about, but how many of you are working out how to make it happen?

Customer Portals provide customers with 24/7 access to fleet information.  Equipment is linked to product data so customers can determine if it fits their next project.  It provides historical information on service, links to past financial transactions, provides service recommendations for the future and a replacement unit when the hours get too high.   It offers online chat or a button to get a call back immediately so they know someone will be on the line to help them.

In the end, the digital dealer connects all the information about a customer, and their business, together in a seamless process which captures the customer needs and makes it easy.  The dealership’s customers appreciate it, because they get the same treatment in so many other interactions in their personal lives.

The digital dealer uses bricks and mortar, where needed, to deliver a real product to their customers in a digital way, removing many of the traditional limits of territory, and possibly capital requirement limitations too.

Taking your dealership into the digital future may seem like a lot of work, it may seem too futuristic and technical, but each of the items I’ve listed is already available and being done in our industry to some degree.  The difference is the digital dealership combines them into a single experience.

Finally, it is also important to remember that the digital information doesn’t replace the knowledge and experience your team has.   The digital connections merely enable your existing relationships and empower them, making the knowledge gained by your team available to support your customer.   At the same time, the digital connection also enables you to reach more people and expand your presence.

Our industry is on the verge of these transformations.  Closely related markets are already seeing this change.  Will you be one of the first digital dealers in our industry?

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Communication Vehicles

Communication Vehicles

When I talk about Communication Vehicles, I am talking about Blogs, Podcasts and Newsletter.

The world has truly changed. I was first on the Internet in 1973 with a business called I.P Sharp Associates. Ian Sharp tried to bring me on with his Company but I was having too much fun and learning too much at the Caterpillar dealership in Montreal called Hewitt Equipment. The internet was available via two different telecommunications networks Telenet and Tymnet. Their speed was a rip-roaring 30 bps. Can you imagine that? The “computer terminal was an IBM Typewriter type device and the Modem was an “Acoustic Coupler” that you put the telephone handset into. I thought it was absolutely the end of the world. Fantastic.

Today the Internet has speeds that boggle the mind and I am constantly complaining that it takes too long. At Learning Without Scars, we are using a Learning Management Software package called Litmos from SAP. We use a credit card payment tool called Stripe. We use Quick Books for all of our accounting. I have grown used to Microsoft Software so I used Outlook and Excel and Powerpoint and Word. We use Word Press to drive the Website. We use MailChimp and Buzz Sprout to drive our Podcasts and we use Zoom to create our Candid Conversation with our guests for our Podcasts. We have come a long way with software and hardware in my work life since 1968.

For nearly twenty years we have used the “Blog” as a communications device. First on our Consulting business website and now with our employee development business More recently, at the beginning of March, we have started a Podcast. These Podcasts will explain with an audio track the content of our classes in a more complete manner than the landing page for each class or assessment. They will also be the platform for what we are calling “Candid Conversations” with Industry leaders and influencers. And coming soon, July 1, 2021, we will launch a Newsletter. We are going through the process now of networking with my address book and asking the recipient of the email if they want to subscribe to the Newsletter.


This is all about communication, isn’t it? The website has evolved itself. In the earlier form, it was like a brochure. It had the company history the vision or mission statements, key employees. It was a Yada Yada Yada form of communications. Then we moved to having our inventory on the website with pictures and in some cases even prices. It became what I called Brochureware. The internet and websites have come a long way since then. However, many of us are stuck with the old methods and thinking. As an example, I still have a landline telephone. I know, I know leave me alone. So, it brings to mind a question I used to ask relative to the rapid pace of change in technology. “What do you do with a dead horse?” The first answer is “Change Riders.” A close second is “Buy a Stronger Whip.” Followed by “Harness together many Dead Horses.” And finally, “Promote the Dead Horse.” Clearly, tongue in cheek but change has become almost too much for most of us to be able to handle.

We are trying to communicate with YOU on our website. We are using three main vehicles to do this. The blogs, the Podcasts, and now a Newsletter.

  • The Blog
    • We give you articles we contribute as well as thought leaders in Industry on a weekly basis. Specific subjects that we feel will be helpful to you, our customers. We post these blogs every Tuesday evening.
  • The Podcasts
    • We give you audio tracks describing our classes or assessments. These audio tracks run between five and ten minutes and provide more detail than the job function assessment or subject-specific landing page on the website.
    • We also provide a Candid Conversation with thought leaders from the Industry. We do these with a recorded Zoom meeting. These conversations are with people in North America, Australasia, Europe, South America, Russia, India, and the Middle East.
  • The Newsletter
    • We will publish this newsletter four times a year, typically at the beginning of each calendar quarter.
    • It will contain articles of interest from us and significant thought leaders worldwide.
    • We will keep you posted on changes within the education community on current thinking and research into learning tools and methods.
    • We will highlight any special news on our progress on becoming your primary employee development product.

Please remember we are always interested in and will be responsive to YOUR needs and wants as our valuable customers. We wouldn’t be here without all of the support and encouragement you have provided over the years. Next year we will celebrate our thirtieth year in teaching within this Industry through Companies specifically involved in training personnel in the Construction, Agricultural, Engine, Material Handling, On-Highway, Forestry, Mining Equipment Industries.

We sincerely thank you for your continuing support.

The time is now.

Did you enjoy this blog? Read more great blog posts here.
For our course lists, please click here.


We All Engage in Social Media

We All Engage in Social Media

In this week’s post, guest blogger Mets Kramer shares that we all engage in social media and this blog is just one example. Other platforms include Facebook, LinkedIn, and of course, the large number of websites we all visit for information.  

As the digital world grows, we understand it is necessary to have a social media presence for our dealerships. We want people to see us and whatever online presence we create, we want it to have a positive impact on our business.  In my last article, we looked at how to use metrics for your website, with a specific focus on using the information collected to understand your customers’ and visitors’ engagement with your digital dealership.  Our goal for investing time and money into our online presence is to increase the engagement we have with our audience.

I’d like to look more closely at social media strategies. Each platform has its strengths and can contribute to your website traffic and engagement.  There are 3 main things to consider when building your strategy: who is your Intended Audience, what kind of Content do you want to post, and lastly, a call to Action, or in other words, how do you want them to respond?

Your audience consists of both active and prospective customers, in addition to a large number of people who many have no need for your services.  When developing your strategy, it’s important to consider who will see your social media posts on each platform and understand the demographics of these audiences. For example, joining small contractor groups on Facebook may get you a large audience of owner/operators who love equipment and are busy each day on site.  LinkedIn has a more professional and corporate audience, with larger business decision-makers or influencers.  It’s important to understand who the audience is when determining what kind of content, you want to show them. We all can appreciate the effort in personalized messages, on a card or in an email greeting; this is no different for social media, be personal.

The second aspect to consider is content, which can include product images (equipment for sale), application content (showing the product at work), general information to educate your audience or pure branding content so the audience becomes familiar with your company’s “face”.  Remember social media is social. This means that all the content you post, needs to also focus on you or celebrating people in your business. When you can associate a person with your online content, it helps your audience build a social connection with your business. In your digital marketing strategy, the goal is to build a virtual experience between your dealership, you and your audience; both active and prospective customers. All this to say, if you’re only posting images of your inventory with no links to your website, you are not successfully building a social connection within your online presence.

This brings us to the final aspect of engaging in social media: the call to action. What is the action you want your audience member to take after seeing your content? This is where the strategizing comes in. It is imperative to create content that motivates potential clients to move away from “doomscrolling” and drive them to your website. Doomscrolling can be defined as mindlessly scrolling through news articles, social media posts, or other content on sharing platforms.

So, what is your call to action?

Decide if you want your viewer to click on the content and be redirected to your website so you can further engage with them, or do you want a direct response? An example of a direct response is posting an image of a machine you have for sale, with pricing details and contact information. Here, the call to action is “Call me to buy this machine”. This type of strategy has been shown to be very effective on platforms like Facebook where you have groups of contractors, but it’s generally frowned upon on LinkedIn. A more strategic approach on a platform like LinkedIn, would be to have the viewer click on your post, directing them to your website. Now, you have the opportunity to present your dealership fully, presenting all the aspects of your business and focusing the user to think about how your dealership can meet their needs.

In conclusion, the main objective for any strategy should be a call to action. We invest time and money in social media platforms to redirect our audience members to the right place: generally, your website. If you can construct each post with the knowledge of the kind of audience you are marketing and a clear expectation of what you want their response to be, it will help you determine the kind of content you should post.  If your audience is full of buyers, show them something to buy. If your audience is full of influencers, build a connection, build your brand and drive traffic to your website so they get the full picture.

One last note.  Find a social media management app to execute your strategy.  Check out Hootesuite, Social Pilot, Buffer, Sendible and others.

For access to our classes, please click here.
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Metrics For Your Website

Metrics For Your Website

Metrics For Your Website

Today’s guest blog is from Mets Kramer, sharing knowledge about the metrics you need for your website, and understanding your digital traffic to better engage your audience.

You use metrics for every other part of your business, so it’s time to learn more about them for your digital marketing, specifically your website.  This is a continuation of my previous blog on Engagement Digital Marketing.

Growing up and working in the equipment business, we are all familiar with metrics.  My first experience with them was the measurement of invoice days, or rather days between last labour and invoice date.  As service supervisor, I learned it was a good indication of one aspect of our operational efficiency.  Later, I would learn invoice days was one of several metrics which would provide a complete picture of the efficiency of the operation.  For example, I found receivables days was a complement to invoice days, and if we invoiced too fast, with poor quality, receivables lingered.

Your digital marketing work is no different from your other business operations.  Metrics, or measurements, help you understand what is happening with you digital marketing efforts.  What each of us need to do, is understand what the metrics mean, how they relate, and how you can affect them.  It is also important to pick a set of metrics that drive to something valuable for your business, not just target numbers that seem good.

In this blog I would like to look at a few common metrics for your dealership website.  They are Visitors, Bounce Rate, Average time per page/session and Conversions.

Visitors are great!  Of course, we want traffic to our websites, if no one visits, does it really exist? But what does it mean?  Think of Visitor traffic as the top of your funnel (or crusher if you prefer).  It tells us how many people have visited the website and had a look at the pages they landed on.  Visitors can enter the site through the main page, or directly to specific pages using links on other sites.  Either way, it is the starting measurement.  Having high traffic levels sounds great, and is certainly better than very low, but the other metrics will tell us more about what happened when those visitors viewed the site.

Bounce rate: this is a very common metric used by internet people, partially because it sounds fun.  Bounce rate measures the number of people who landed on your site and then left without looking at any other pages.  This means bounce rate, on its own, is not a great measure of success, or of a good website.  A very high bounce rate is generally an indication that people have low engagement with your site, and so warrants investigation.  However, if you are bringing people directly to your site, targeting specific pages, a high bounce rate needs to be viewed alongside a metric such as Average time on page to understand what it means.   For now, consider bounce rate a measure of “are people clicking to other pages on my site before they leave”

So that’s the first two, we have people coming to the site, and we know if they are clicking around or not.

The next measure is average time per page or per session. How long are people spending on each page, and how long is each session.  For Bounce rate, a high rate is often considered bad, but if you are driving traffic directly to a page, like this blog, and the visitors are spending enough time on the page to read it, average time on page can be a measure of success, even if they bounce after reading.   Remember our Digital Marketing strategy is a strategy of engagement, so more time spent on your site means higher engagement, even if they only visit one page. For other visitors, look at how long they spend on the site or pages, it should match the content on the page to determine what a good metric target is.

Finally, Conversion Rate.  In the end, for equipment dealers, your websites should be more than just information sites.  Our sites should be designed for action.  This is often called a “call to action” when reading about website performance.  Just like we talk about a complete set of metrics for other business areas, Conversion Rate is important final goal for measuring website engagement.  Conversion Rate can be determined using a contact form, a button to call your dealership or generating a lead in your CRM.  Typically, an average conversion rate is 2%, but as with all these metrics, it depends on numerous other factors of your site.  It is important to see your engagement digital marketing efforts in relation to conversion rate, a tangible result.

Collecting these measurements can be done with numerous tools.   The most obvious is Google Analytics, but there are WordPress plugins that do the same, and other content systems have their own dashboards as well.  The important thing is to get them set up and use them.

Obviously, this topic is extensive, and I can not provide a comprehensive explanation in one blog.  I hope each of you understands a little more about what website metrics mean, how they relate and how they can guide your digital marketing efforts.  If your dealership has a website, and you are investing money in your digital marketing, it is important to understand the value you are getting for your investment.

All these metrics apply to all forms of traffic, including referrals, organic and paid.  In my next blog I will look at these topics from the perspective of paid traffic.

If you would like to learn more, or want to get some help with these topics, please contact me and I would be happy to explain or put your in touch with some trusted people that can help you execute.

For more information on our classes and assessments, please visit us at Learning Without Scars.




Tonight’s guest blog on Complacency is from Ross Atkinson. Ross spent his entire 33+ year career in the Heavy Equipment software marketplace with PFW/ADP/CDK. He was the architect and software designer for most of the applications in the rewrite of the core Dealer Management System called IntelliDealer. Having been in many roles with the Company from installation to ownership, he has first-hand knowledge of the system requirements of dealerships and the people who use it. His specialty is the ability to design and create solutions to ensure the best user software experience possible.


Even for the most computer savvy person, the rate of software change can be overwhelming. In many cases, your staff is too busy and is not given the time to understand what the changes are before yet another iteration has been introduced. I guess that could be the subconscious excuse for never venturing beyond the basic functionality and just using what they know to get through the day. Simply said, complacency!

From my many years in the heavy equipment software industry, I learned that there are few exceptions to this statement, however, the dealers that do overcome this self-inflicted shortcoming are very successful, not only in the utilization of their business system but also financially.

How do you make time?  Well, it starts from the top down: a commitment from management to the ongoing education of those who use the software every day. You educate your technicians so why not the rest of your staff who use their “tool”, your business system software?

I can also guarantee you that there is functionality that your business system has today that you are not using or are even aware of. You need to understand what’s available at your fingertips. This is followed by the opportunity to test the features and functionality first hand. It’s one thing to sit in a classroom or virtually listening to trainers, it’s another to try it yourself and see it in action; using your data.

Through this learning process, your staff can determine how these capabilities can benefit your day-to-day processes. The goal is to improve efficiency but also the opportunity to gain a better understanding of your customers and the services you offer.

Once you have mastered the commitment to education, challenge yourself and your employees to understand how you can “tweak” or change your business processes to take advantage of functionally and systems you previously deemed unusable.

I recall doing some classroom education many years ago when the dealership principal stood up, interrupted my session, and made the following statement to his staff, “Not changing is not an option!” Imagine if that was your dealership motto?

For more information on our classes and assessments, please visit us at Learning Without Scars.




Tonight brings us another guest post from Steve Day. Steve is discussing the importance of the systems we have within our businesses.

This is another topic that could probably take up an entire book and I am going to give it short shrift.  I am really only bringing it up because I think too many people blame their operating system for their inventory problems. I don’t buy the argument.  If your operating system can’t control inventory then you made a really bad investment decision.

I am a lot more optimistic.  Your operating system is probably better than you think.  If you have one of the more popular distributor operating systems that has hundreds of Constructions, Mining, Agriculture or OTR truck distributors using it, it probably does that thing you need it to do but don’t believe it can do.  You just haven’t asked the question correctly yet.

The last operating system I used was not perfect but it was pretty darn good.   We almost always figured out how to get the information out of it we wanted.  I took some evil pleasure in finding out the system would do something when an operational manager told me it would not.  Folks eventually learned to push the system because they grew tired of amusing me.  It was a very solid system.

Because of employee turnover at the systems provider, I have seen cases where they were not even aware of all of their systems capabilities.  Always send your Inventory Control Manager and when possible, the Inventory Control staff, to your systems providers training sessions and to their annual meetings.  It will pay off.

You may want to add on a reporting system like TARGIT if you have not already done so.  Microsoft also offers a system as do other companies.  I am simply more familiar with TARGIT because that is what we used.  It will allow you to have some great automated reports that tell you more than you can stand some times.    It also let us build these reports for our branch operating people on a dashboard that gives them all the reports we looked at but just for their operation.  Most of them updated daily.  I have found that most of my distributor buddies who have these types of reporting capabilities have found a real improvement in their managers understanding of operational imperatives.

For more information on our classes and assessments, please visit us at Learning Without Scars.



Dealer Websites

Dealer Websites

This week, we have a new guest blog from Mets Kramer.

Dealer Websites

In my last article, I discussed the difference between Billboard Digital Marketing and Engagement Digital Marketing. With the world and our industry becoming more digital everyday, I wanted to expand on the topic of websites and why it’s worth building your own site to engage your customers.

Websites are the easiest way to present your dealership and explain to visitors who you are, what you do and what sets you apart from the industry. Additionally, a custom domain, with emails to match, is a simple way to gain better control over your brand and manage your team. (i.e. Company name: Strategic Evolutions, email:

However, for equipment dealers, it is a little harder to present your company, your team, services and products. This is because our products, or inventory, are always changing. Our products tend to be serialized construction equipment, so listing your inventory requires a more complex website and should include an easy, quick way to update your information.

While this is a challenge, it is possible! It will give you better control over your digital presence and, also, help you build your brand, developing stronger relationships with your customers.

Here are 4 reasons why you should build your own website:

  1. Present your dealership and team the way you want. Focus on the strengths and values that you feel are important. Add content that brings value to your clients, expand on the services you offer and present your inventory in the style you feel has the greatest impact. Just like you design your dealership lobby to focus on your customer’s experience, a website is a digital representation of your company’s “face” and its physical building.

When creating your website from scratch, focus on engaging the customer, drawing them in.  Then, present your value proposition or promotions.  Consider metrics like bounce rate, time on site and pages viewed as a measure of engagement.


  1. Add a blog, picture gallery and of course, VIDEOS. These features are great to post on social media using Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn. Each social media post links visitors back to your website. Increasing the links and traffic to your site helps you rise to the top of internet searches when people are looking for equipment or services. Additionally, this type of content improves your content score, also improving your search position.

To understand this better, assess your own online experience.  Do you use TikTok, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook?  What do you prefer to view?  Research shows visitors engage more often and longer with video content more than pictures.


  1. Present your inventory without directing customers to an external advertising site. Capturing customers and their engagement is the name of the game. Once you have people looking at your equipment, hold them there and answer their questions. Throughout this year, digital presence and selling has become that much more important. Current research suggests customers are doing 90% of their research PRIOR to contacting any dealers about a machine. Make sure your inventory is presented well and contains all the information your customers would initially ask for. You want to provide everything they need so picking up the phone is easy!

When you build your own site, present your inventory with video, images, detailed descriptions, links to specs and any support documentation you have to prove to visitors “This is the machine you want!”.

Building your own site prevents them from ending up on an advertising platform where other options are presented to them.  FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is a REAL thing! It has been shown to motivate people out of fear to keep clicking, if they weren’t satisfied by what they found.

  1. Analytics Systems. Take advantage of the market’s best analytics from either the website platform, Google or others. Understand who’s visiting your site, where they came from, what they saw, and how long they stayed. Understand how to improve your Bounce Rate (Users that leave without clicking anything on the site) and Conversion Rate (Users that act by clicking a contact button). Understanding this aspect of Digital Marketing helps you change and update your site to improve your visitor engagement.

A website visitor is the equivalent to a person visiting your dealership.   During an in-person visit, it’s communication and addressing their needs that closes the sale, so use the same approach for your website. Engage!

For more information on our training programs, please visit us at Learning Without Scars.

For more information about Mets Kramer, please visit his website at Strategic Evolutions.