Guest Truck and Van Group, which includes Sherwood Truck and Van says that its decision not to display any vehicles on its stand at the Commercial Vehicle Show this year has worked well for them. The company, which is the largest dealer group for IVECO and Fiat Professional in the UK also has businesses serving the commercial vehicle market in parts, vehicle fit-out and fleet management.
Guests managing director Robert Spittle said: “Van and truck dealers very rarely sell any products at a show – they want to have conversations with customers and prospects to follow up. Usually, conversations begin by focussing on the shiny, impressive vehicles on the stand, but as a group, we have much more to talk about.”
Over the course of the three-day CV Show at Birmingham’s NEC, more than 500 trade visitors engaged with the Guest team, talking about the company’s Vehicle Lining Services brand, the all-makes Partscomm parts service and Sentinel, their any make fleet management service.
“It’s difficult to choose any one tangible thing to display that represents any of our other businesses. Sentinel fleet management is all about people, process and skills, Vehicle Lining Services is about very specific, individual specifications to transform vehicles and Partscomm is about spare parts for many different makes and associated consumable service parts. We chose to have people talking about those things to prospects and customers who were interested, rather than trying to make people interested by showing them items or images.
“It’s still too early to have sold anything after the show, our sales team have filled their calendars with appointments in the coming weeks, so we feel it’s a strategy that has worked.”
Despite a vehicle-free stand, Rob explained that Guest and Sherwood vehicles weren’t completely absent from the show: “Every year we get asked by suppliers and associates to provide vehicles to enhance their own exhibits, which we haven’t always been able to do because of displaying the vehicles ourselves. This year we were able to display vehicles throughout the show.”
Garage equipment specialist Bradmac used a Guest IVECO Stralis truck to demonstrate its independent service lifting posts, hoisting the truck into the air for visitors to walk beneath. Bradmac managing director Keith McLaren said: “Having a vehicle on the hoist really shows off their capability and draws attention to the stand. We’re grateful to the people at Guest for letting us borrow it.”