Forklift Sales Advice: Eliminate Battery Concerns

The battery is the shorter–lived component of an electric Lift truck package, so lift trucks on the used and wholesale market are often without a battery, or come with a battery that is in questionable condition or improperly sized for the truck. The battery charger may be either missing or mismatched as well.

The chance for a quick, profitable sale is always enhanced by reducing the unknowns for the potential buyer. If a good battery and charger is part of the package, not only can the customer evaluate operation of the lift truck properly, but he can be assured that he will not have to hunt for the used components he needs to complete the package himself (at unknown additional cost, and with uncertain availability). An electric lift truck can usually use any one of several optional battery sizes, and may accommodate more that one voltage option (36 or 48-volt, for example). The ideal situation is to match the battery and the charger to the customer’s needs, and this implies a good working relationship between the lift truck dealer and a knowledgeable battery supplier with an adequate inventory of used and reconditioned batteries. A good battery shop will ask for the information it needs to set you up with a complete battery/charger package, and then see to it that you are getting the best value equipment that suits the customer’s requirements. The battery shop should also be equipped to fully evaluate and/or repair the truck’s existing battery, if there is one. If aspects of this process of outfitting an electric lift truck with the proper battery and charger are difficult for your business, and you prefer to sell just the lift truck alone, there is an alternative approach that also can help the sale go smoothly. Direct the customer to a battery and charger supplier who can provide a full range of options to complete the truck package. If you select such a vendor wisely, the battery source will have a wide selection of both new and used batteries and chargers available, with technical assistance to match the the battery and charger to the customer’s needs – down to the details of making sure the connectors match, and the correct charger AC voltage input settings for the installation location. Explaining to the potential customer that you are going to refer him to a well–equipped battery/charger supplier goes a long way toward easing his concern about buying an incomplete lift truck package from you. Even though he’s getting a lift truck with an empty battery compartment, he has the assurance that he will have several power pack options quickly available to him from a knowledgeable supplier.

Briefly, here are the steps that happen once a customer chooses a lift truck and the battery supplier is contacted:

  1. Maximum and minimum battery size range for the truck model is determined.

  2. A decision is made to pursue new or used battery choices (unusual batteries may not be readily available on the used market).

  3. Lift truck work requirements (battery run-time needs) are discussed with the customer, and compared with in-stock battery choices.

  4. Upon selection of a specific battery, charger options that match both battery requirements and AC voltage specifications are evaluated.

  5. Installation, operation and maintenance of the selected battery/charger package is explained.

Introducing your forklift customer to a qualified battery shop can be a wise thing to do for another reason – follow–up calls and subsequent technical assistance. Although an electric forklift battery and its charger are very low maintenance items, installation and initial operation can generate some questions. If your battery shop has been involved in the process, they should be able to take this off your hands and see that the customer remains happy. If you sell electric lift trucks, take some time to get to know who the used battery suppliers and rebuilders are, and what they can do for you and your customers. I think you’ll find they can do quite a lot.

For more information, contact Arcon Equipment Inc. (440) 232-1422.