5 strategies for OEM Dealer Relationships imageA strong relationship between an OEM and its dealers is vital for mutually assured success. If challenges such as production issues, product shortages or downturn should arise, OEMs and dealers have to rely on each other to overcome these challenges with customers—and the trust that they can rely on one another must also be there. It’s times like these that having mindshare with dealers is even more crucial and beneficial—especially if your dealers sell multiple brands.

OEMs and dealers cannot survive without each other—so why not invest in building a strong, profitable relationship? Consider these five ways to improve your OEM-dealer relationship, which is accomplished by increased sales channel engagement.

  1. Frequent Communication
    “The concept of sharing and transferring knowledge between the OEM and dealers is a key relationship component,” according to the Successful Dealer.
    It’s true—as with any business relationship, communication and transparency will open doors, build trust and help you grow in your partnerships. Be open about the business goals that drive decision-making, communicate management styles and routinely share the vision of the future with your dealers. As an OEM, much of your focus is invested in product development and manufacturing, so why not share all that you’re doing to improve products and bring them to market more quickly? Dealers will appreciate your ongoing efforts, and having this information will help them impress customers, too.
  2. Marketing Content
    Another way OEMs can help dealers is with marketing support. Dealerships, outside of large dealer groups, don’t typically have a marketing staff, let alone a designer, so their ability to quickly address shifting customer interest or local competition can be limited. By providing ad builder tools that allow dealers to customize marketing and advertising materials to fit their local market, OEMs make it easy for virtually anyone to create and distribute content while maintaining brand consistency. Ad builders can include templates for everything from social media posts and direct mail to text campaigns and print ads.
  3. Meetings
    On the same note as frequent communication, it’s great for an OEM-dealer relationship when there are regular meetings scheduled. Gathering every single dealer probably isn’t realistic, but appointing a dealer council to meet monthly, for example, with OEM staff provides an opportunity to discuss finances, goals, strengths and areas in need of improvement. This is also where both sides of the partnership can request what they’re in need of in order to be more successful.
    In addition to monthly dealer council meetings, annual dealer meetings are an opportunity to get everyone on the same page and excited about the future. Choose a desirable location and venue, invite dealers from all over the map, and come together once a year to discuss where the company is currently and what the future looks like.
  4. High-Quality Product Information
    Since your dealers represent the brand to your customers, it is mutually beneficial to provide sales and service professionals with resources to help them be successful. This includes offering sales, service and product training, sales coaching, spec sheets, technical data, product demos, financing programs and price lists.
    It’s the dealers’ responsibility to serve the customer, provide them with comprehensive product information and guide them through any post-sale problems they encounter. When the OEM provides high-quality information to the dealer, they’re indirectly improving the customer experience, too, since they are setting the dealers up for success.
  5. Boots on the Ground
    It’s important that OEM field reps develop strong relationships with their assigned dealers and that dealers look to them for guidance when they face challenges. To be considered a resource, field reps must visit dealers in person, regularly check in with dealers regarding the state of their business and proactively bring ideas that will increase the dealer’s bottom line. Giving field reps the tools and time to build these relationships is key to their success.

Fostering a strong, close-knit relationship between both the OEM and dealer is essential to a successful partnership. At Kinetic, we create strategies to improve that line of communication, enable reps and help develop their expertise.

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