Editorial/Denise L. Rondini

drondini@rrpub.comdrondini@rrpub.com

Get there first

There is an old leadership adage that says, “It is better to be first than it is to be better.” I don’t think the conventional wisdom means to imply that it’s OK to do shoddy work, but rather to focus on the advantages that can be gained by being the first to do something.

In this issue of Truck Parts & Service we have focused on two areas that present a great deal of opportunity for distributors, repair garages and dealers.

The cover story focuses on social media and looks at some of the aftermarket companies that are getting their feet wet in this new communication channel. Are they using it to its best advantage? Experts say that’s doubtful, but that doesn’t mean that using social media is a bad business decision.

In the case of something like Facebook, the cost of entry is negligible, so why shouldn’t savvy business owners put up a page and reach out to potential customers?

As Shane Crook, marketing manager at Stoops Freightliner reminds us, there are nearly 550 million people on Facebook. “And I can guarantee you that some of those people are buying truck parts,” he says.

By getting onboard now, before social media has exploded in the trucking industry they way it has in other areas, these businesses will have a head start. They will have staff members who are familiar with the ins-and-outs of postings and will have corrected any mistakes they may have made in the beginning of their foray into that space.

Establishing your expertise in an area before your competitors do, gives you a long-term advantage.

At this point most aftermarket companies are using their presence in the social media simply as a way to extend their brand. Eventually, someone is going to figure out a way to use Facebook to generate revenue — directly or indirectly — and I bet it’s more likely someone who already has a Facebook presence or is in the process of establishing a page.

The other opportunity to look at is diesel particulate filter cleaning. In order to meet the 2007 EPA emissions standards, trucks now are equipped with diesel particulate filters. While truck sales have been down the last few years, there still is a significant service market out there. According to Drew Taylor, national sales director and minority owner of FSX, a firm which provides DPF cleaning equipment, the machines will offer a return on investment after just one cleaning per day. He also says the machine set up is fairly simple, as is the actual removal and replacement of the DPF.

So what are you waiting for? Here are at least two areas where you can establish a foothold before others in your market area have the chance.

Even if your competitors do jump on the bandwagon later, your marketing message will always be to highlight that fact that you were there first.

And as the adage says, being first is better.

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