In the mid-2010s, the new management at Spacekap had agreed that the only way to advance the company was to break into the American market. But it’s easier said than done! It takes time, money, and a lot of determination to achieve that. Nobody can enter a vast market as vast as the United States, especially when you’re a small Quebec-based SME.
In 2016, Spacekap hired Jack Lord, who had spent the first 30 years of his career in large security and pharmaceutical companies. His mission? To develop a market development strategy and help Spacekap increase the brand awareness of their product, Spacekap. Everything needed to be built from scratch!
Starting with a blank slate, the new National Director of American Sales had to develop a dedicated sales and marketing process for the United States. He stated, “The first two years involved a lot of road trips, travel, prospecting, and presentations. I shook a lot of hands and met many people. I had to build a network of contacts.” To succeed, he had to drive more than 100,000 kilometers per year! He visited all American states multiple times, saying, “I had to present our product. I can’t put a Spacekap in an airplane and carry it in my suitcase! I had to go there in a pickup truck to show it to potential clients. In the beginning, it was a trial-and-error method until I found the right recipe. That’s when they started to trust me. In the early years, 80 percent of my work was about making Spacekap known and demonstrating its undeniable advantages. To convince them, I told them that in Quebec, you can’t drive more than 15 minutes without seeing a Spacekap.”
Spacekap participated in several trade shows in the United States to introduce its product. The strategy was to present Spacekap to qualified companies already using cargo vans, Ford Transit, or Mercedes Sprinter vans. “Part of the recipe for success is to position ourselves in front of the directors of large fleets across the United States.”
After tens of thousands of kilometers, discussions, and presentations, big players eventually trusted Spacekap, including FedEx, Entreprise Fleet Management, and Leonard Truck Accessories.
The results speak for themselves: In 2016, the American market represented 7% of Spacekap’s sales. The numbers have been steadily increasing, and today, 50% of the revenue comes from our American neighbors. During this same period, Spacekap tripled its production.
To meet the demand, Jack Lord and his team had to build a network of authorized Spacekap installers and distributors in most American states. They also had to ensure top-notch customer service, with Jack emphasizing, “To make the customer satisfied, you have to respond within 5 minutes. We must be always available. When a customer takes the time to write to you, you must take advantage of that communication window quickly, or they will move on. That’s the key.” Spacekap had to consider the time zone differences on the U.S. West Coast and ensure that staff were available at all times.
Indeed, such a challenge involves a lot of sacrifices. You can’t make international sales by staying in Quebec; being on the ground is imperative. You encounter many remarkable stories when you spend so much time alone behind the wheel, in hotels and restaurants!
- Fed up with staying in hotels, Jack Lord took advantage of a stay on the West Coast to sleep with surfers along the Pacific Coast Highway! These surfers spend the night in their RVs to catch the morning waves! Our sales director spent the night in his Spacekap without a surfboard or any intention of surfing! Indeed, it attracted some attention!
- He probably is one of the few Quebecers to own about ten pairs of cowboy boots, which are a hit when he’s in the southern United States, among other places.
- He once had brake issues in the Rockies and got lost in the middle of nowhere in Wyoming.
The Succession is Assured
Spacekap has always been a family-oriented company. Proof of that? Jack Lord’s son recently joined the team! In 2022, Alex Lord began his career in the customer service department, where he learned the best practices and intricacies of the Beloeil-based company. For the past few months, the 29-year-old has been entrusted with the territory of the eastern United States.
This journey makes his father proud: “Alex has it in his blood; he’s fallen into the magic potion. He knows the recipe.
It’s a journey that makes his dad proud: “Alex has it in his blood, he’s fallen into the magic potion. He knows the recipe, and he’s improving it!
Passing the torch, Alex received his first pair of cowboy boots as a gift! Now, he’s ready to follow in his father’s footsteps.
As the Americans say: “Sky’s the limit!