Equipment Sales Facts and Fiction

  • Editorial Team
  • Heavy Construction Equipment
  • 21 February 2020

Here we have compiled a list of some common misconceptions regarding equipment sales and the realities of each:

1. Fiction: The more sales calls made the better, and increasing calls will subsequently increase sales as well.

Fact:  If salesmen are already making a handful of calls each day as well as completing all other daily tasks such as following up on calls, scheduling appointments, filling out paperwork, they may already be making the most of their time.  If they try to squeeze in double the calls, the salesmen may be unprepared for those calls and not be able to produce the same quality calls or might fall behind on other work items. For heavy equipment sales, always prioritize quality over quantity.

2. Fiction: A salesman should always ask for a potential customer’s business on every call.

Fact:  Asking for a prospective customer’s business on the initial sales call could be a strategic mistake.  Unlike day to day retail purchasing decisions that are more based on emotion, heavy equipment purchases are based primarily on need.  A salesman should utilize their initial call to begin to establish a relationship and build trust so that they can then set up future calls and meetings.  Heavy equipment sales are about establishing a long-term business relationship.  In the first interaction with a prospect, a salesman should work to build familiarity and not be too pushy or they may risk future business dealings.

3. Fiction: It is unnecessary to stay in contact with regular customers because they obviously like doing business together.

Fact:  There will always be other suppliers of equipment trying to gain a larger customer base by offering your customers something that you are not.  Whereas building an initial relationship and trust is important, it is just as important to continue to follow up and show thoughtfulness for the people with whom you do business with on a regular basis.  Keep your loyal business partners in mind, make time in your schedule to call and talk with them regularly, and they will keep you in mind when they need to make equipment purchases.

4. Fiction: As a salesman, if I am able to offer the lowest price to potential customers then I will secure their business.

Fact:  Equipment dealers must not only focus on offering the lowest price, but they must also be able to provide value to the customer in terms of quality service.  Rather than trying to compete solely on having the lowest cost machines, you may want to offer a potential buyer assistance with transportation or maintenance of the machine.  Being able to provide the greatest value to customers and establishing a trustworthy relationship with them is just as important, if not more, than giving them the best price.  If you are attempting to gain a competitive advantage by selling your equipment at the lowest price but ignoring other value-added aspects and building up business relationships, then you can expect regular turnover in your customer base.

5. Fiction: Salesman should be required to work weekends to make some extra revenue.

Fact:  If a salesman is working on a weekend, then they are also probably taking some time off during the normal Monday to Friday work week to compensate.  Since business owners are the ones that regularly make heavy equipment purchasing decisions for their companies and they typically only work weekdays, having a salesman attempt to make sales over the weekend and sacrificing time during the week does not make sense.  By working weekends when they are less likely to be able to get in contact with potential decision makers, salesman could be missing out on prime selling opportunities during the week.

6. Fiction: Since machine sales can be such a lucrative business, new equipment salesmen should be placed on a low salary, high commission pay structure.

Fact:  As was previously stated, equipment sales can be a long-term process.  If a salesman is expected to make sales right away and is paid primarily in commissions, then they may not be able to last very long in that role.  The salesman needs time to construct a proper business relationship with a prospect which could take several months.  A more appropriate salary structure may include a higher base during the initial few months and lower commissions so that the salesman is able to survive that initial period of relationship building.  Once they have gathered a larger business network, then maybe the base salary and commission structure can be adjusted accordingly to match.

Oftentimes, equipment dealers have thoughts in their mind about how things work or should work that do not necessarily match the reality of the situation.  By taking the above into account, we hope we can alleviate some of the common misconceptions about equipment sales to help our own customers improve their business strategies.