Recently Kelly Milligan and I had the honor of presenting at this year's Police Fleet Expo in beautiful Savannah, Georgia. The topic presented was Department & Upfitter relationships, but with a creative spin. I'd like to recap our session for you so you can get the feel for the courtship process we take here at KELTEK.
We’re going to take you on a journey from the first date, to marriage, and beyond!
The First Date
The first date is usually a bit nerve-wracking for both parties. The challenge here is communicating your needs upfront, which can be arduous for some. You don't want to seem too needy, but you know what you want and how it feels- Comfortable, reliable, and a partner who considers your well-being in the decisions they make. Visualizing and communicating exactly how you want your build can be difficult for some. Lucky for you we have some tools in place to build a great foundation of trust.
In our world, it's wise to give you access to an expert upfront. Someone who can assist you in visualizing the build your ideal vehicle has. Having an expert helping to you steer on what to avoid, and what historically worked well, will save you time and heartache down the road.
Another step KELTEK takes to clarify the needs our customers have is a "What do you love about your current build?" form. If you have preferences or characteristics that worked well in past relationships- those don't need to be thrown out. Our Sales Engineer will help to guide you through what is worth re-using and where you should start fresh.
Last but not least is the Fleet Audit. Now that you've narrowed down what you are looking for - it's time to get face to face and communicate these needs in detail. Our experts assist with photos while capturing important details so you feel like you are the only one in their world. Every healthy relationship starts with respect, communication, and dedication.
Now that initial awkward stages are out of the way- you have to keep those butterflies alive! It's time to open up and get to know your partner, transparency is key. You want to know what exactly is included in this contract of love aka build quote. Is it worth the risk?
We recommend you find an up-fitter with a no-nonsense approach. You don't need games, you need a partner who has your back completely. When pricing comes into account, they need to be aware of available discounts, and the ability to explain what all is included. Providing you with a line by line breakdown establishes the trust you deserve.
If a problem arises the ability to have an hourly service rate lets you now they are willing to take the time you need to talk through any bumps in the road. Working diligently to win your loyalty back our techs work on-site or remote, whichever you prefer.
Part 1 - Don't Keep Me Waiting
So far, so good. Everything is running smoothly in your relationship, now it's time to get some feelers out for a real commitment. You can be afraid to clarify timeframes and how you fit into the schedule and planning of this relationship. No need to hesitate when asking "when is my car going to be worked on?". It may be valuable to request a service level agreement.
Planning is important in any major life changes. When it comes to an upfitter, we recommend starting to plan at least 12-15 weeks before you want the upfit to be complete. There are a lot of moving parts to coordinate, similar to a wedding, to get your build completed in your ideal time frame. Here are some questions you should be prepared to answer:
- Have you had the vehicle for a while, or is it new from a dealership?
- When are you going to get your new vehicle from the dealership?
- Do you want to take anything off of an older vehicle and reuse it on the new one?
Part 2 - Don't Go Changing
Now that you are in a happy relationship, you've signed on the dotted line, now consistency is key. You don't want you or your partner to go changing anything that was originally discussed or promised. Changing the scope of work, or pricing during the build can be understandable but only if explained in detail. If your installer knows what they are doing, they can be flexible with your pricing model and have a few options for you to pick from. At KELTEK we like to present good, better, best scenarios.
Now that you have had a transparent conversation of any changes taking place. It's time for your mind to be at ease as you walk through your new build with your installer. This is when you will be able to see if this is the perfect match, the build you've imagined. It's great to have an upfitter who is open to your suggestions and works hard to have unique solutions to any issues that may arise.
Innovation, innovation, innovation... don't become too routine. Come up with exciting dates, go sky diving, explore a cave, see some live music with your spouse! In our world we compare this to our relentless pursuit of solving your pain with programs like Fleet-As-A-Service program, which allows departments to lease their fleet vehicles, minimizing their overhead. Time blocks from our service team so you won't overpay for any additional maintenance needed down the road. Finalizing the deal with our KELTEK Guarantee, building your trust, and continuing to be of service to our new partner.
Continue to reinvent yourself, staying ahead of the curve! Don't over-complicate the relationship, if you have something to say be sure to express it. Your upfitter should be a good listener, value your opinions, and work to solve any and all pain points. Following up and checking in to be sure they feel supported is key.
Live Happily Ever After
Now that you have your new build you can ride off into the sunset. Knowing you chose the best upfitter possible. With many long years ahead of you.
If this courtship sounds appealing to you, we ask you to use the link below to 'check yes' on the note we've passed to you here. Let's get the ball rolling on this partnership, don't make us sweat!