Coronavirus has changed the way that business is conducted and changed society in general in a variety of ways and has had a large negative impact on the economy. Stay at home orders and other steps taken to minimize the spread of the virus have slowed business and greatly reduced face-to-face communication. However, even with the uneasiness surrounding the current situation, there is still hope for equipment dealers as there is still a demand for used heavy equipment. The most important factor to consider when conducting business is the safety of your customers, employees, and yourself. We will focus here on how to best maintain your business during the COVID-19 pandemic and then provide several key safety tips.
The first key to maintaining successful business operations is to go where your customers are located, which currently is online. Even if buyers aren’t coming as much to your dealership looking to purchase pieces of used heavy equipment for sale, they are still calling and sending a lot of e-mails and messages online. As much of the country continues to shelter in place, many customers have taken to online channels to conduct the business that they normally would do face-to-face. There are a couple ways to take advantage of this. One is to utilize an online marketplace to help sell your used heavy equipment. There are a number of options available, but there is a new, up-and-coming digital marketplace called Equipment Anywhere that we recommend trying out as they are offering free listings for your first year to start out. Another way to benefit from this shift to online is to maintain your own dealer website where you can list all of the equipment that you have in your inventory that you are trying to sell. Make sure that it is mobile-friendly as people are spending a lot more time on their mobile devices, and insert proper keywords so you can optimize search engine results.
A second important factor is to improve your online skills. If your business is already online, that is great, but you should still look for areas that are currently weaknesses and enhance them to transform them into strengths. You may choose to partner with a financing company or a logistics company to give your customers more payment or transportation options as they may be ill-equipped to handle these aspects of the transaction on their own. More importantly, however, make sure that your online equipment listings have clear photos, thorough and accurate descriptions, current pricing information, detailed inspections reports, and if possible,walk-around videos to better display the condition of the machine. Lastly, be both responsive and flexible with customer inquiries and the ways in which they can reach you. E-mail is not the only professional form of digital communication anymore and text messages, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger are also popular and can be utilized to communicate with customers. Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, and other video messaging services can add a more personal feel and allow more connection and relationship building with customers as well. It is also recommended to promote customer safety and well-being through social media platforms to show that it is important and a priority for you and your company.
Finally, we would like to share some key safety tips to maintain a safe and healthy work environment. Obviously, you should follow the recommendations of the CDC, OSHA, SBA, and other health officials and agencies both locally and nationally. As COVID-19 is dangerous and highly contagious, it is important to follow some key guidelines to promote workplace health and safety and reduce the risk of spread until a vaccine can be developed and widely distributed. Some advice is common and well-known such as washing and sanitizing hands, using disinfectant on doorknobs, maintaining social distancing standards of at least six feet, and making sure employees who are sick do not come to work. Health officials also suggest separating different work groups such as sales, maintenance, and administration into different work areas. Employee shifts or workdays can be staggered to allow proper cleaning of work areas in between. Common areas can be closed so that there are not too many people congregating in one area or touching the same objects. You may also want to instruct your employees to take their temperature before coming to work if they aren’t feeling well and stay home if it is over 100.4 degrees. One of the most important things that can be done is to wear a mask as it not only helps prevent the spread of the virus but also can be seen as a sign of respect for any co-workers and customers who come in close contact with you as it shows that you value their health as well.
In conclusion, while the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious threat to the health and safety of society and to the economy, it is possible to adapt and maintain successful business operations during the times of uncertainty. While customers are not coming into your office as much anymore, there is still a high demand for your used heavy equipment for sale online, so go digital. Utilize whatever means needed to keep your business running profitably whether that be using an online marketplace to list your equipment or building your own website and listings. If you already have your own website, make improvements to the content. Make use of whatever digital forms of communications will allow you to connect and build relationships with customers such as e-mail, WhatsApp, or Zoom. Most importantly, follow proper safety guidelines to keep your customers and employees healthy. Maintain a clean work environment and be respectful of those around you. It is not only the right thing to do for your business, but it could actually save lives!