Marketing

NTPDA Membership - Kick Start

This week NTPDA (National Tractor Parts Dealer Association) president Scott Schelling called together a group of members to reignite the NTPDA MembershipMembership Committee. The group is tasked with working on new and innovative ways to improve our membership numbers while offering real value in, not only, our Annual Meeting and Trade Show but also our summer gathering.

The Membership Committee is made up of:

The meeting looked at various ways in which to offer increase value to our members, which assists in retention, and the active recruitment of new members.

While we'll detail changes and plans here one of the first things the group decided to accomplish was to re-name the Summer Board Meeting. The reason is that many members figure the meeting is only for the Board of Directors. That's not the case. So, we're rebranding the event as The Summer Smash. Our goal is to invite the Board and our Regular and Associate Members to an event that is packed with information, planning and fun...as the name suggests.  As soon as our plans are more clear we'll be sending out some schedule information.

Please know that this Membership Committee is committed to creating and building a better National Tractor Parts Dealer Association and we look forward to this future.

Thanks for reading and more to come! 

 

 


The Power of Repeating Stuff

Who doesn't like repeat customers? Who doesn't like being told...a couple of times...that you've got a great logo or uniform or...heck a Man hay bale microphonehaircut? Just as much as we enjoy repeat customers and repeated complements so too should we learn that when we repeat something over and over it has real power.

In marketing and advertising it is what is called "Top of Mind Awareness". Making sure your product or service is at the top of mind when it comes to buying what you are selling. "One and DONE" doesn't cut it. It takes an effort to make sure you repeat your message over and over.

Here are a couple of examples and while they are for national brands we think you'll get the message:

" Winston Tastes Good Like a Cigarette Should" - Winston has been of television and radio for decades...yet we remember the tag line;

"The Campaign of Bottled Beer" - Miller used this slogan for years and years abandoned it and this year brought it back...for good reason;

"A Diamond is Forever" - DeBeers debuted this way back in 1948 and they are still using it because...it works;

"Breakfast of Champions" - Who doesn't know this 1930's Wheaties slogan;

"It's the Real Thing" - CocaCola hit it out of the park with this from 1970;

"Say it With Flowers" - This will surprise you, the slogan dates back to 1917!

You get the idea... True, each one of these slogans had real dollars behind them to push the idea and the brand. Maybe your business doesn't have that sort of advertising budget but maybe you don't need all that cash to accomplish much the same thing.

Think of your value proposition and what you bring to your customers and then put that in words. Not a bunch of words but short and sweet. We know of a law firm that has the tag line, "We get things done!" because the number one complaint complaint among legal clients is that far too often law firms don't get things done and clients have to wait...and wait. The firm went so far as to register the slogan and they use it...everywhere.

Find your value proposition and then repeat it...often and everywhere. The goal is to have your customers hear or see those words and identify you and your unique value. 

It very well could bring you...repeat customers.


Doubling Our Membership

Over the weekend several of us were talking about membership, the life-blood of any organization including the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association. It Join us imagecame to us that there are three things any organization must do to recruit and retain members:

  • Let Perspective Members Know You Exist
  • Provide Value for Membership
  • Ask 

Of the three NTPDA does a bang up job of providing members with value. Our website lists nearly two-dozen benefits. We also are pretty good at providing an opportunity to network, sell and learn during our Annual Conference and Trade Show. And, we're always here to help boost our members through our social media efforts.

Where we fall down a bit is in letting perspective members know we exist, sharing the benefits and making the ask. Sure we share information among our existing members through a wide variety of means from blogging to emails the quarterly NTPDA Bulletin. But, that is sort of like an echo chamber...we're talking among ourselves. For retention that is important but what about...growth?

The former Membership Committee had some ideas including outreach efforts, inviting potential members to our Annual Conference and reducing first year dues. Maybe it's time to ramp up the "Idea Machine" again...

Or what if each of us asked another supplier or a competitor to join our ranks. If we all committed to asking one additional person or company to join us and clearly laid out the case for value we could double our membership by January.

Perhaps it's something to ponder but more importantly just...do.

We'd love to hear your thoughts. Shoot us an email or comment here on the blog.

Thanks for reading and thank you for your membership!


National Small Business Week

All this week, in the United States, there is a celebration of National Small Business Week. Since 1963 the federal government has set aside a week for a Small Business Week Imagecelebration that is critical to our economy.  A few Small Business Facts:

  • There are roughly 29 million small businesses in the U.S. which account for 54% of all sales in this country;
  • Small businesses provide 55% of all jobs in the U.S. and 66% of all net new jobs;
  • There are 600,000 franchise operations here that employ over 8 million people;
  • The American small business sector occupies nearly 50% of all commercial space up to 34 billion square feet.

Astounding yes?

Many, if not all, of our NTPDA Regular Member Businesses would fall under 500 employees so, this week is also your week.  What can you do to take part in Small Business Week?  Some thoughts:

  • Share Your Story - Contact the local newspaper, radio or television station. Let them know this is National Small Business Week and share your small business story. Take a moment and share what your small business means to your employees and customers and how money spent with you stays in your local community. Believe us, reporters are looking for stories they can use all week long;
  • Get Social - Grab the National Small Business Logo from this post and share it on your social media channels...and tell your story there as well;
  • Say Thank You - Remember your customers...they are the people that keep your business in business. Post a note on social media, send a note to customers, enclose a note in your shipping items...let people know how important they are to your small business;
  • Email the Message - Send out a coupon or at least a thank you reminding your email list that this is National Small Business Week...many of your customers are also small businesses.

Happy National Small Business Week!

 


It's More Than a Tractor...

Every so often we run into a heartwarming story about a tractor. That's what happened this morning as we were searching for some news about tractor parts. Farmall H It was a great restoration story out of Lawrence Township, Ohio. If you want to read...here you go.

Now to some folks who have lived all their lives in the city that might not click. However, for those of us who have spent time on the farm...we get it. Who among us doesn't remember their first tractor? Mine was a Farmall Model H. Every time I see one my mind races back some 40 years and I can smell the gas, oil and grease. It's like that for so many of us.

So, why write a piece that talks about memories and old tractors? Because we are the people who have helped countless restorations come to life. Sure, you can look out at your salvage area and you see rusted equipment lying there waiting for the weeds. But, look again. If you concentrate you can see a field of opportunity. Of course you'll sell some parts to people you've never met. You'll sell parts to farmers who come to you to get through another season. But, you'll also sell parts to folks who are bringing back a memory.

We'd like to hear your stories. We know that you've got 'em. Hook us up with a recent (or maybe not so recent) restoration project that your company helped with. We'd like to take some time and tell the story. Send me 50 words on your story and some contact names. We'll get it done.

You see, it's more than just parts...

Thanks for being a member of the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association...it matters.


Online Sales Smash Retail Sales

For years many of our National Tractor Parts Dealer Association members found value in adding e-commerce to their sales efforts. Sure, it was a difficult Online Add to Carttransition and it cost money to staff call centers and online chat professionals but it has paid off because online sales are crushing traditional retail efforts. How do we know?

Let's look at one example...Wal-Mart. 

Retail giant Wal-Mart reported solid fourth-quarter results last week with the U.S. business producing another quarter of comparable-sales growth. But the star of the show was e-commerce. Get this, U.S. online sales for Wal-Mart soared by 29% year-over-year, an acceleration driven by the company's investments in the acquisition of Jet.com. E-commerce is still small relative to Wal-Mart's brick-and-mortar operations, but that won't remain true for long.

According to the Department of Commerce in 2016 total e-commerce sales in the United States rose by 15.1%. And that is far faster than the overall 2.9% growth in total retail sales.

We understand that our members are not Wal-Mart however the trend is clear. Your customer is just as likely to come from five states away than five miles away and those numbers will continue to grow. Your challenge is finding a way to build your digital business while continuing to serve your local consumer. It can be done and many of our members have been very successful in their marketing efforts.

If you would like to share your thoughts...please do!

 


Start Your Trade Show Planning Now!

In just a couple of months we'll be packing up and heading to San Antonio for the 2017 NTPDA Conference and Trade Show. Now is the time to start planning Texas Sample Trade Show Booth for a successful event  After all it costs money to travel, stay at the hotel, take time away from the office and send staff. You really should make it worth the time, money and effort.  Here are several things to get you started:

Associate Member - Exhibitor

  • Small Can Be Large - You don't have to bring EVERYTHING but you do have to be uncluttered. Lots of items often cause confusion and a mess stick to what is HOT or NEW;
  • Use Video - If you can bring one or two large video screens show something interesting about your business, get some testimonials, film something during the event and then play it back. Video will drive an audience.
  • Plan Your Presentation - While our group is small we bet there are several members that you really want to sell. Make a list of five or six and really concentrate on making those connections;
  • Promote Your Attendance - Sure you can send out an email but why not really make an impact. Send what we call a "bump" to your target customers about a month before the show. A "bump" is an envelope with something cool from your company to the attendees. If it is a nice pen...just send the box with a note to come to your booth to pick up the pen in person. Use your imagination;
  • Look Sharp - Wear that logo shirt or sweater and keep your brand alive;
  • Elevate - If you are asking people to sign something or enter something don't make them bend over. Make sure your registration table is at counter height;
  • Turn Off The Cell Phone - We all have voice mail. If you really, really need to make a call excuse yourself from the booth and go elsewhere. Remember the reason you are at the trade show is to sell you and your products/service;
  • Send a Thank You - Don't do the cheap email message. Send a hand written note to your contacts when you get back and let them know you'll be calling; 
  • Follow Up - It does no good to collect business cards or attendee data and then not follow up. Take notes during your conversation and then make sure you follow up a week or two following the show. 

Remember, you are there to represent your company, build relationships and sell something.

The Annual Conference and Trade Show is January 18 - 21, 2017. Be watching for more information and your registration information.

 

 


A Perfect Storm for Used Parts?

A "perfect storm" may be brewing in farming communities that could have a direct impact on the used agricultural parts industry. In a report published by the Perfect Storm Road USDA this month we learn that, once again, farmland values in the "Farm Belt" have slipped. Lenders have seen another 2% drop in the value of an acre of farm ground. The reason is low commodity prices which, in Iowa alone, will cost farmers $2 billion in income this crop year. The other issue is the rise in oil prices. In just the past week we've seen a barrel of crude go from near $40 to knocking on the door of $50. We are all aware that agriculture uses an abundance of petroleum products from fertilizer to fuel.

All of this, if we pay attention, may signal an opportunity for the used, rebuilt, re-manufactured parts business.

When farmers see the economic reality of lower prices and higher inputs they begin to re-think their spending patterns. If, for example, they can save several thousand dollars on repairs this fall it's money in their pocket.

This has a direct impact on members of NTPDA if we start telling our story. Farmers have long been independent do-it-yourself experts. And when they realize the economics of doing business with you...you are more likely to increase your business.

But, they have to know about you and how you can help so here are three things you might consider over the next several weeks.

  • Share the Story - If you are using social media you should start telling your story about being an independent business who can assist the agricultural community through this economic downturn;
  • Your Website - If you have, and you should have, a call to action on your website you should use that space to highlight the savings and benefits of doing business with you and how you can provide high quality service at lower prices. If you have a business blog (and you should) consider pointing that call to action to the story about how you can help;
  • Media Connections - We all have local newspapers or radio stations. You should consider writing a quick piece about the economics of the farm economy and then pitch that to the media outlets. They are always looking for solid stories that impact their listeners or readers.

You have an excellent story to tell and people are seeking answers.  Go get 'em!


How About a Checkup From the Neck Up?

Doctor FunnyEveryday our NTPDA Members go to work making life better for their customers and employees. That, at least, should be the goal because when we are "other focused" we all get what we want.

So, how can your association make your life/business better?  That is constantly the focus of our Board of Directors and staff and we think, based on your response to some recent polls, we may be on target.

Next year we'll gather in San Antonio to offer your business a "checkup from the neck up". We'll help you take a hard look at current business practices and ask you what you think has worked and what might need work. We'll spend time on marketing, social media, sales, employee recruitment and retention. We'll listen to what you've done and offer some tips on how you might change some tweak some things to boost your level of happiness.

Sure, we'll have fun and have the opportunity to enjoy the company of our family and friends but we also want to deliver value for your membership and we, honestly, want to help your business get better.

We're looking forward to doing that business checkup in San Antonio and be watching for registration information soon!


NTPDA and Social Media

Social Media HandsPerhaps you have noticed an uptick in our social media efforts. That's because we've refined some search items and we've been reaching out to more and more members as well as potential members.

Part of the future success for the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association is going to rest with how well we share the value of membership. While it's true that, when we get together, we have a great time it is also true that your association leadership is attempting to help you become more successful. We do that by sharing topical news items, links to new sales ideas, marketing advice and member to member sharing.

So, here is something you can do for us...get social.  

If you are using social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube make sure you hit us up as well.  Let us know what you are doing. Share with us your news. Tag us in your posts and let us use the power of social media to help promote the work you are doing.

Search for us on Facebook: National Tractor Parts Dealer Association

And on Twitter we are @NTPDA

Together we can make an impact and make a difference.