By Bob Clements and Sara Hey of Bob Clements International, Inc.
If you had one hour a day that you weren’t interrupted, what could you accomplish? Almost anything, right? I want you to pick something that is important to helping you achieve the vision you have set out for your trailer dealership, and commit one solid hour a day for the next week and work on it.
For example, if you’re wanting to create stability in your dealership, your one hour (or power hour, you can call it whatever you want!) may be focused on forecasting and establishing a budget, by department, for the coming year. If your focus is growth, maybe that hour is spent diving into the marketing plan. Everyone’s “one thing” is different, but your “one thing” that you invest a dedicated one hour each day on will move your dealership toward your vision. Just pick one thing that will allow you to move toward your vision.
I’m asking you to commit one uninterrupted hour a day for one week. However, with that in mind, I want you to make it your best hour. This means when your brain is fresh and you are ready to think and work. Are you a morning person or an afternoon person? If you have an afternoon slump, after lunch, that is not the time for your hour. You will just end up on your phone playing games (speaking from experience). So, if you’re a morning person, make your hour the first hour of the day. If you’re not a morning person, find the time you are most alert and ready to get to work.
At this point, shut your door and tell your people that unless 911 has to be called, they cannot bother you for the next hour. Guess what? Everyone will survive for one hour each day without you. If a problem comes up, they will either figure it out or they will wait, and you will have held an important boundary. Way to go! Now, pick your one thing and get to work.
Are you needing a little more guidance on where to start? Here’s what I want you to do: write the name of each department represented in your dealership and the words “Stability,” Growth,” and “Accountability” under each department.
For each department that didn’t generate a profit last year, I want you to circle the word “Stability.” If what you are doing isn’t making you money, you need to either stop doing it or figure out how to make money doing it.
If you circled “Stability” under any of the departments, this is where you need to begin making changes and where you need to spend your hour. There are several things you can do to begin to create stability, but to get you started we will outline at least one suggestion per department.
Keep in mind, as you read through these suggestions, I don’t expect you to tackle all these today. If you did, you probably wouldn’t do any of them well, which will only leave you frustrated and yelling. Pick one item and use your entire one hour of time a day, every day, until it gets done. Then, and only then, do I want you to move on to the next one. My guess is that you, like many entrepreneurs, have a list of great ideas and projects you have started but never finished because something else that was shiny and exciting caught your eye. If you want to be the solution, you need to pick one item in one department and commit to spending your hour on it, until it’s completed.
Service: When working to achieve stability in the service department, the goal of most dealerships is to measure the right numbers. In order to get the right numbers, you must have the right data. This starts with your technicians clocking in and out of work orders. Yes, there are other numbers you should be looking at, but everything is built on your technicians’ time.
Parts: As you think about parts, start with your margins. Your target margin will vary based upon the equipment you carry, but all the targets should be at or above MSRP unless you have handpicked them as lost leaders so you can draw people in who will then buy more expensive parts. Don’t forget that MSRP is a suggestion and determined by turning a part four times a year. If a part is turning less than four times, the part’s price should be above MSRP.
Sales: Stability in sales begins by measuring the activity of your salespeople. We require every salesperson to make a minimum of twenty touches a day. This could be a phone call, email, or someone walking in your door.
Now, as you look at your paper, identify which department has the potential for growth. For sustained growth to occur, the department needs to be stable first. Yes, you can have growth in a department, but a lack of stability will make it a never-ending nightmare for you. So, which departments are ready for growth? Here are suggestions, by department, that can help you generate growth.
Service: Growth often happens when the people you have are being utilized to their full potential. This can happen if you bring on a service coordinator or roll out a compensation plan based upon efficiency for your technicians.
Parts: Growth in parts occurs by providing training for your parts people, helping them to become parts salespeople, and teaching them skills such as upselling and cross-selling. By implementing upselling and cross-selling, this alone can produce growth up to 35 percent in the parts department!
Sales: The key to growth in whole goods is having a marketing plan that mimics how and when you need increased sales. If you know that 20 percent of whole goods sales happen in April, you need to be spending 20 percent of your marketing budget four to six weeks before you expect to see the sales occur.
The last category is “Accountability.” Look at the departments you’ve listed and ask yourself, “Are there any departments that have achieved stability and growth?” If the answer is yes, it’s time to set accountability goals for the department.
Service: For the service department you might begin by having regular meetings with your team to share numbers and financials. When your entire team is aware of the common goals and what needs to happen in order to achieve them, it creates accountability for both them and you.
Parts: In this area, you may need to develop a plan to burn down your parts inventory at the peak of season. This accountability frees up cash flow during the slow season but also gives you the ability to place orders with your manufacturers in a way that gives you the best possible discounts.
Sales: For many of our dealers, a goal of sales accountability is an intense focus on the little things. This can be as simple as making sure all customer information is inputted into your CRM. This is often one of the things that salespeople can get lazy on, and its effects are wide-reaching.
While each one of your departments may be at a different point of maturity in your dealership, it’s important to keep in mind that you must start with one thing. Your first focus should be to get each department to a place of stability, and from there you can determine a plan for growth and accountability.
A healthy and profitable business is powered by healthy and profitable departments. Taking a one-hour challenge every day will allow you to move your dealership to a place of you running it instead of it running you.
For more information about improving your trailer dealership, visit www.bobclements.com.
This article is an excerpt from the new book, You’re the Problem (and the Solution), by Bob Clements and Sara Hey of Bob Clements International, Inc. For more information, visit www.bobclements.com
Mark your calendar for Feb. 23-25, 2021 and plan to join NATM at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn.! The NATM Convention & Trade Show is the perfect one-stop-shop to meet with suppliers and service providers as they exhibit on the trade show floor. Looking for a new chain supplier? Interested in checking out new light options? Shopping around for new software to make life easier? If so, plan to attend the upcoming convention and meet directly with suppliers familiar with the industry!
Registration to attend the convention is now open, and discounted Early Bird registration rates are available until Dec. 31, 2020.
Login with Company Info Before Registering
To receive the member pricing and save money, make sure to login before registering!
Trailer Manufacturer Registrations
Full registrations for trailer manufacturers, which includes admission to all events (except Top Golf Tee-Off), begins at only $100! Additionally, NATM is offering free full registrations for trailer manufacturers’ spouses. Bring your other half along to enjoy the show and the fun that Nashville has to offer.
NATM trailer manufacturers who have never attended the NATM Convention, or who have not attended in the last five years, are eligible for two complimentary full registrations and two complimentary hotel room nights (while available) as part of the New Member Promotion. Full registrations include access to all events and meals (except Top Golf Tee-Off) outlined in the show calendar. This is an excellent opportunity for trailer manufacturers to receive top-notch education, networking, and develop supplier relationships while in Music City. To take advantage of the New Member Promotion, contact NATM Assistant Director Meghan Ryan at Meghan.Ryan@natm.com .
Trailer Dealer Registrations
New NATM Trailer Dealer Affiliates are eligible for two complimentary full registrations and two complimentary hotel room nights (while available) as part of the New Dealer Promotion. Full registrations include access to certain events and meals as outlined in the show calendar.
Dealers that are not NATM Affiliates can attend with trade show with full registrations for only $100 by registering before Dec. 31! Additionally, NATM is offering free full registrations for trailer dealer spouses. Bring your other half along to enjoy the show and the fun that Nashville has to offer.
To take advantage of the New Dealer Promotion or to join as an NATM Dealer Affiliate to receive free registrations, contact NATM Assistant Director Meghan Ryan at Meghan.Ryan@natm.com.
All exhibitors receive two complimentary booth workers per 10’ x 10’ booth. To sign up your complimentary booth workers, please select “Complimentary Booth Worker”. When registering complimentary workers, do not exceed your max complimentary booth workers. To add additional attendees, use the “Early Bird Additional Booth Worker” item!
Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center
Situated in the heart of Nashville, Tenn., the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center is the host hotel for the 2021 event. The discounted NATM rate for the Gaylord is $230 per night. To reserve your room, click here.
Top Golf: Tee-Off to Convention Event
Don’t forget to register for NATM’s Tee-Off to Convention Top Golf event on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021 from 6:00-9:00 pm. Join NATM Trailer Manufacturers and Suppliers for an evening of food, drinks, and golf at Nashville’s Top Golf. Tickets are $75 per person. This event is not included in the Full Registrations nor TSO Registrations and must be added as a separate item while registering.
Exhibiting at the 2021 Show
Are you a supplier or service provider interested in reaching trailer manufacturers and dealers directly? Exhibit at the 2021 Convention & Trade Show! Booth spaces are still available. Booths are $1,428 per 10’ x 10’ booth and include two complimentary booth worker registrations.
To purchase a booth to exhibit at the upcoming show, email NATM Assistant Director Meghan Ryan for your booking code at Meghan.Ryan@natm.com.
Verifying compliance with federal regulations and industry best practices is no small feat. NATM member trailer manufacturers’ commitment to safety deserves public recognition. While NATM continues to market the value of the compliance decal in a number of different ways, we would love to know: where in the world is your compliant trailer?
NATM is looking to collect photos of trailers with the NATM decal in your everyday life – sitting at a job site, hauling a boat to the lake, at the campground, or wherever it may be! The “Where in the World is Your Compliant Trailer” social media campaign posts will have the manufacturer of the trailer tagged, a photo of the trailer being featured, as well as a direct link to the member’s directory listing on NATM.com.
Photos and a brief description of where the picture was taken can be submitted to email@example.com.
Recognize NATM members that help America work and play safely by submitting a “Where in the World is Your Compliant Trailer” post today!
On July 30, 2020 the Coalition of American Chassis Manufacturers filed antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) petitions on certain chassis and subassemblies thereof from China. The Coalition includes Cheetah Chassis Corporation, Hercules Enterprises, LLC, Pitts Enterprises, Inc., Pratt Industries, Inc., and Stoughton Trailers, LLC. The alleged dumping margin in the filing was 211.49%
The chassis and subassemblies thereof are further defined to include finished and unfinished, assembled or unassembled, coated or uncoated regardless of the number of axles. The subassemblies description includes reference to;
NATM convened its Special Projects Subcommittee to evaluate the case, its scope, and potential impact to the industry. The Association also reached out to contacts in peer groups as well as some petitioners for additional insights.
Importantly, this language would include materials brought in to be further assembled as well as fully assembled products. In discussions with certain members of the coalition, it was clear the intention was to include potential workarounds to the chassis and subassemblies, thus identifying unassembled products as well. Essentially, this includes kits that could be sold as components needing further assembly upon receipt.
On September 11, the International Trade Commission (ITC) made an affirmative preliminary injury determination. Investigations will now be undertaken for the Department of Commerce (DOC) to gather information from respondents and the Chinese government. DOC is to make its preliminary decision by October 23, 2020 of the CVD case and January 6, 2021 on the AD case.
For a complete outline of the case schedule, click here.
NATM member companies may receive requests for information and should respond accordingly. NATM will continue to monitor the situation and the impact on its members, though at this time any direct participation by the Association in the case has not yet been deemed appropriate.
Kay Deever - Administrative Assistant
Kay received her bachelor’s in political science and government at Kansas State University and her Master’s in Biblical studies with an emphasis in program management at Colorado Christian University. Her past experience with the Geary Community Healthcare Foundation in Kansas and the American Holistic Nurses Association will serve her well in her role as administrative assistant.
Reach out to Kay with questions regarding Decal orders, Trailer Safety Product orders or general questions about the Association.
The National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM), known as the resource for safety and compliance for the light- and medium-duty trailer industry, published its first edition of the NATM Light- and Medium-Duty Trailer Dealer Resource Compendium.
Known as the Dealer Compendium, this document will launch Sept. 1, and is free to all NATM Dealer Affiliates. The Compendium is full of educational content and materials that will help trailer dealers access essential information quickly and easily in one place. The document includes state laws, helpful trailer safety information, as well as resources NATM Dealer Affiliates can pass along to their customers.
Modeled after the NATM Guidelines for trailer manufacturers, this resource guide is over 300 pages and contains information on:
The information featured in the Compendium is gathered from resources such as the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Society of Automotive Engineers, Inc., the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration amongst others. The Compendium will be updated annually by NATM Staff and Committees that stay abreast of changing regulations and vet the addition of the document’s contents.
The National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM) has been committed to trailer safety for more than 30 years. While NATM has long worked with trailer manufacturers, industry suppliers and service providers, trailer safety can only be improved through dealer interaction and consumer education. The NATM Dealer Affiliate program is an opportunity to unify the trailer industry to improve trailer safety. In addition to granting access to NATM’s publications such as Tracks magazine, the NATM Insider, dealers receive hard copies of safety resources to distribute to customers.
For more information about how the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers can assist your dealership, visit
www.NATM.com, email NATM Assistant Director Meghan Ryan at Meghan.Ryan@natm.com or call (785) 272-4433.
Trailer Safety Week (TSW), a national awareness campaign focusing on trailer education, made its debut just three years ago. Since its inaugural year, this safety initiative has piqued interest across the nation amongst trailer manufacturers, suppliers, dealers, end-users and law enforcement. The 2020 Trailer Safety Week was no exception and saw another record-breaking year for participation, social media engagement and a plethora of media coverage.
Trailer Safety Week Allies
Trailer Safety Week Allies ranged from law enforcement departments and industry partners to trailer manufacturers, suppliers and dealers. The 2020 TSW saw over 235 allies committed to trailer safety and education—a 56% growth from 2019. Allies were equipped with the official TSW Communications Kit, a marketing toolkit created specifically for TSW Allies, to effectively communicate the importance of trailer safety. This year, Allies sent TSW information directly to over 3,000 dealers and end-users. Allies played an important role in not only the education of their customers and followers, but in helping generate awareness and drive traffic to NATM’s social media platforms as well as TrailerSafetyWeek.com.
Social Media Success
2020 marked the first year that the TSW awareness campaign was hosted entirely online. Through the #TrailerSafetyWeek social media campaign, and with the help of more than 235 TSW Allies, the importance of safe trailering reached thousands across several social media channels. Countless social media posts were created and shared on Facebook in hopes to better educate end-users on important safety measures to take when trailering. In addition to this, NATM shared several trailer safety posts on its social platforms. These posts featured trailering tips every trailer user should know, the importance of the NATM Decal and more, which earned a reach of over 32,000 people—a 102% growth from 2019.
TrailerSafetyWeek.com hosts an easily accessible Towing Safely Guide that is free to all. Since the inaugural TSW, this website has seen nearly 14,400 unique visitors. The TSW website also earned over 30,000 SEO impressions in the month of June alone. TSW Allies’ efforts on social media led nearly 3,000 new visitors to TrailerSafetyWeek.com throughout the month of June—a testament to the impact Allies have on generating safe trailering awareness. It is apparent that TrailerSafetyWeek.com is not only being utilized during the week itself, but 365 days a year.
Join The Movement
Trailer Safety Week continues to be a step in the right direction for the trailer industry. With the support of our members, an effective social media campaign, countless TSW Allies and coverage in several news publications, this safety awareness campaign allowed safe trailering to become more visible to the general public.
“Trailer Safety Week was once again a huge success thanks to the support of Trailer Safety Allies across the country,” said NATM Executive Director Kendra Ansley. “NATM is already looking for new ways to further expand the reach of our efforts next year. With the introduction of Trailer Safety Champions and Partners, we are looking for companies interested in taking allyship one step further, including companies interested in sharing their safe trailering expertise. Companies in the trailer industry are regularly contacting the NATM to learn more about participating, with one new Partnership already in development. The staff is using the momentum and excitement of this year’s success to begin planning for next year’s Trailer Safety Week that will be held June 6-12, 2021. Improving trailer safety will take every facet of the industry working together to be successful and we look forward to more organizations getting involved at the level – ally, champion, partner - that best suits their needs.”
Those interested in joining this trailer safety movement can find more information at https://www.trailersafetyweek.com/interest or by contacting the TSW team at TrailerSafetyWeek@natm.com.
Whenever trailer tires are discussed, it is important to remind people that there are followers and leaders in both life and the tire industry. Whether you use a bias ply tire or a radial tire, remember trailer tires, ST’s, are followers, not leaders. Trailer tires, both bias and radial, are designed specifically to handle the stress and dynamics of towing. Unlike passenger car tires used for towing applications, sidewall flexing, one of the major causes of swaying during trailer operation, is controlled by trailer tire construction. Another thing that sets trailer tires apart from passenger car tires is that tires of equivalent size would have significantly different load-carrying capacities. As a result of trailer tire construction, either bias or radial, the trailer tire would carry more load than the passenger equivalent. It is also important to remember that when a passenger car tire is used on a trailer you need to reduce the load rating inscribed on the sidewall by 11 percent due to the tire construction differences.
Trailer tires are required for towing applications, but how do you choose between bias and radial tires for your trailer products? There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Both tires are designed for the task at hand, and whether you select bias or radial, the load rating for each size is equivalent in either models. Not to say there aren’t differences that may help you in the decision-making process. Let’s consider the differences.
Basic tire construction is different between bias and radial tires. A bias ply tire is built with a 30 to 45-degree cord angle to the center line of the tire. A radial tire is built with cord at 90 degrees to the tire’s centerline. The 90-degree construction allows for more surface contact with the radial while the bias tire rides more on the center crown of the tire. The tire footprint is dictated by the basic tire construction. The larger radial footprint allows more ground contact for more even tread wear with the load distributed over more area. More surface contact also allows for the tire heat, which builds up during use, to be distributed over more of the tire’s surface. As a result, a radial tire will run cooler during operation and in many cases provide longer wear.
Analysis of the specific application your trailer will be used for is a significant deciding factor in your tire selection. A radial tire most certainly has it merits, but a bias tire also has its advantages. The sidewall on a bias tire is more rugged and “bruise” resistant. The stiffer sidewall on a bias tire also performs extremely well on rough terrain. Generally speaking, a bias tire ply is less costly than its radial brother. This could be an important consideration in a trailer application because many trailers are used infrequently, minimizing some of the radial’s benefits.
Some rules of thumb to consider: rough terrain, short travel distances, infrequent trailer use, and cost consideration, bias may be the right choice. Long travel distances, highway use on paved surfaces, no budget considerations and smooth ride requirements, radial is an ideal choice.
Whether you choose radial or bias your tire of choice will perform to it maximum efficiency if you keep it properly inflated, don’t overload your trailer, distribute your cargo evenly, and protect your tires from damaging UV sun rays when not in use.
NATM is thrilled to be heading to Nashville, Tenn. for the 33rd Annual Convention & Trade Show being held February 23-25, 2021. Make plans
to join your peers in the light- and medium-duty trailer industry at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center!
NATM has been closely monitoring COVID-19 and is working with the Gaylord to create proper protocols for all attendees. Safety is our top priority, and we will ensure the correct steps are taken to protect all attendees as much as possible as we continue to plan the event.
Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center
Situated in the heart of Nashville, the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center allows you to hit all the high notes of Music City both under their roof and in the surrounding area. Catch a show at the Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium, then return to the nine acres of lush indoor gardens and cascading waterfalls. A full-service spa is also offered for a more relaxing way to unwind. When it's time to refuel, indulge in Mexican, Italian and Japanese restaurants followed by a frozen yogurt or gelato dessert.
The discounted NATM rate for the Gaylord is $230 per night. Gaylord Opryland suites offer many special amenities including bay windows, balconies with patio furniture and plenty of space to relax on your trip. The resort offers room options that allow you to relax and unwind in comfort. Atrium View rooms offer unrivaled views of one-of-a-kind atriums that host tropical environments with waterfalls, fountain shows and fish ponds.
Nashville – Something for Everyone
Voted one of the Top 15 cities in the United States in 2019, Nashville offers a unique experience for all of its visitors! Much more than a honky-tonk town — though if you’re after energy-packed nightlife and live music, you won’t be disappointed. From the historic Grand Ole Opry to new James Beard Award-winning restaurants, industrial-chic hotels to cowboy-boot shops, there’s plenty to enjoy in Music City.
The sound of Nashville reverberates from the city’s downtown core where visitors from all over the world converge with the business and government district. Running smack in the middle is Lower Broadway where world-class live music 365 days of the year and never charge a cover. In the area “North of Broadway” are historic buildings reimagined into music attractions, boutique hotels, art galleries, and chef-driven restaurants, and “South of Broadway” are newly constructed hotels, eateries, music venues, and attractions. Wherever you go, there is plenty of fun to be had around Nashville’s incredibly walkable downtown.
Nashville’s connection to music is unequaled, and its reputation as Music City has been consistently proven for over 200 years. Welcome to the city where music is written, recorded and performed every single day. Welcome, to Music City.
Membership renewal forms will be mailed and emailed to NATM members this November. In order to avoid a membership lapse, 2021 dues are to be paid by January 31, 2021.
For Trade Show Exhibitors, it is important to note that NATM DUES MUST BE PAID BY DECEMBER 31st, 2020 to maintain the member rate for booths at the February 2021 Convention & Trade Show in Nashville, TN.
Membership dues will again go unchanged in 2021. Rates are $795 for Associate (Supplier) members, $135 for Associate Branch members, $925 for Regular and International Regular (Trailer Manufacturer) members and $300 for Regular Branch members. If you joined between February and October of 2020, your 2021 dues are prorated accordingly.
NATM greatly values your membership and 2021 promises to be another fantastic year to be a NATM member. You can pay by check, over the phone, or online. The NATM website has a “Members Only” section where companies are able to sign in and pay dues at any time.
2020 Added Benefits
This year, NATM has maintained the many benefits members know and utilize, while also adding the following:
COVID-19: NATM is Here for You
For many NATM members, this has been a difficult and uncertain time. NATM knows that members are getting creative about how to approach the myriad of new challenges that exist. NATM is working to help members navigate this time by providing resources and information promptly. In response to COVID-19, NATM has:
For questions regarding your company’s membership or the renewal process, please contact NATM Assistant Director Meghan Ryan at Meghan.Ryan@natm.com or (785) 272-4433.