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DEALER

Volume 39

Success GUIDE

CLOSING THE DEAL Dealership Employees Demonstrate the Power of Social Media Page 8

DIFFERENTIATING YOUR DEALERSHIP

A SUPPLEMENT TO

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What kind of equipment can outdoor power equipment dealers sell to grow their customer base and stand out from the competition? Page 6

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COMMITTED TO BUILDING YOUR SUCCESS

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Connect with HusqvarnaUSA

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Volume 39 – March 2018

Cc o n t e n t s

MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR

6

Are You ‘That Guy?’

W

e joke about having “a guy” for everything in our family—a go-to expert or savvy artisan when we’re in need of something specific, whether it’s words of wisdom or a special Carrie Mantey trinket meant just cmantey@acbusinessmedia.com for one of us. (920) 542-1238 You need a custom fillet knife for fishing? I gotta guy for that. You need a special frame for that autographed concert print? I gotta guy. You need farm-fresh eggs or a hunk of pork that makes your mouth water? We got guys for that, too. As an outdoor power equipment dealer, you can be “that guy” to your landscape contractor customers—a trusted expert whom these professionals can rely on for good advice, an honest opinion and quality craftsmanship. After all, you’ve been there and done that when it comes to helping customers identify the ideal machine for their needs. You’ve been there and done that when trying to pinpoint why this or that piece of equipment isn’t performing up to its full potential. You have the experience and know-how that allows your customers to trust you, and come back again and again. Through this expertise and trustworthiness, you establish a rapport with them and, as a result, a knack for acquiring repeat customers. From all of the profiles I’ve written for Green Industry Pros, I can tell you there is one constant factor behind every successful landscape contractor: It is a trusted dealer. And the landscape contractors I talk to aren’t ashamed to admit it. In fact, most are happy to talk up their outdoor power equipment dealers and what makes them the best. In contrast, of all the successful outdoor power equipment dealers I’ve spoken to, there are two common threads running through each conversation—the importance of education and establishing a sense of community within the dealership. Both of these tactics breed that trust “those guys” bring to the table. The question now is: Are you someone’s “that guy?” If not, can you become “that guy” by either improving your expertise, trustworthiness or social skills?

IN THIS ISSUE 4  Dealer Profile Dehne Lawn & Leisure—an Unexpected Family Business

While the industry has changed since the Keblusek brothers took ownership of their father’s business, they continue to work diligently to ensure their business values and store experience remain the same.

6  Dealer

Differentiation Differentiating the Dealership from the Competition

Selling propane equipment can help outdoor power equipment dealers grow their customer base and stand out from the competition.

8

8 Closing the Deal

Dealership Employees Demonstrate the Power of Social Media

Social media’s real power is in providing a space where people engage with other people to create and build relationships.

13 Dealer Stock 14 Wheeling & Dealing

Three Ways to Prepare for 2018 Sales Growth

Green industry equipment retailers are bullish about sales in 2018, but how should you get equipped to maximize the boom?

GREEN INDUSTRY PROS DEALER SUCCESS GUIDE ■ VOLUME 39

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Dealer Profile

By Angie Mellor

DEHNE LAWN & LEISURE—

an Unexpected Family Business

While the industry has changed since the Keblusek brothers took ownership of their father’s business, they continue to work diligently to ensure their business values and store experience remain the same.

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n his 26th birthday, Michael Keblusek and his brothers, Tom and John, buried their father who passed away in his sleep only six weeks after buying a new business. Their father, John Sr., purchased Dehne Lawn & Leisure after spending 25 years operating an Ace Hardware franchise in the south Chicago suburbs with his parents and brother. John Keblusek Sr. took over operations at the established equipment dealership in Northbrook, Illinois, in the middle of a drought on a Friday the 13th in 1988. The Keblusek brothers didn’t anticipate following in their father’s footsteps, but fate had other plans. At the time, Michael was working as a credit manager, John a department manager and Tom a graphic artist. But when their father passed away unexpectedly, they assumed ownership of Dehne Lawn & Leisure. “Our father always lectured that family will always be family, no matter what happens, and we should make every effort to be congenial. After sharing a bedroom for 21 years and working in the family hardware store, the transition seemed natural, almost pre-destined,” recalls Michael.

Quality Service by Committed Employees

“We operate a throwback mercantile establishment that still phones our customers to remind them to 4

The Keblusek brothers each bring their own personality to the table as part of their commitment to quality customer service.

service their equipment. We still do not have air conditioning. And we still make candid recommendations with honest rebuttal,” Michael says. The Keblusek brothers are committed not only to their customers, but also to their employees. One employee, Jim Pantle, worked with Dehne Lawn & Leisure for over 50 years, including when the business was still owned by the Dehne family. According to an article in the Northbrook Star, “Pantle has worked at Dehne Lawn & Leisure since 1967, repairing countless lawn mowers and snow blowers and string trimmers.” In the article, Michael notes how Pantle’s work ethic mirrored the brothers’ values of quality and commitment: “It’s not a glamorous

job, but I think there’s something honorable about somebody that can be a hard worker, and be reliable and dependable and selfless.” Securing and retaining employees like Pantle can make or break a business, and the Keblusek brothers understand that happy and welltreated employees make for quality customer experiences and a higher rate of customer satisfaction in return. The Kebluseks’ commitment to valuing their employees includes above-average compensation, fully funded healthcare, holiday pay, and vacation for both full- and parttime employees.

The Brothers Keblusek Furthermore, the Keblusek brothers

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Dealer Profile

each bring their own personality to disappointment. The constant drive diversified our brands and product the table as part of their commitfor lower price points encourages lines to broaden our customer base. ment to quality customer service. replacement, and suppresses parts We do well retaining and cross-sell“John, known to his fans as dude, and service sales.” ing our customers. And we adjusted is a brutally candid and thoughtful Michael also notes that generational our business hours in response to technician who instructs and advises differences in customers’ priorichanging shopping patterns.” customers with a passion The Kebluseks also not often seen in a retail reward customers for environment. Tom, who keeping their equipment knows most customers by well-maintained. “We ofname, does not hesitate fer pre-season discounts to spend as much time for equipment servicing as needed to address all and make appointments customer issues, whether for service in season. We or not they are relevant to try very hard to always – Michael Keblusek, Dehne Lawn & Leisure our business. I am the anahave service work in the lytical brother commissioned to keep ties should be considered in future pipeline. We do not promise immedithe boat afloat or at least make sure outdoor power equipment design and ate turnaround, but instead, encourthere’s space on the lifeboat when development. “Millennials are more age our customers to be proactive the time comes,” Michael says. socially responsible consumers. They about servicing their equipment,” From their father’s reminder of do not want to deplete natural reexplains Michael. “family will always be family, no sources and fill up landfills. They want While the industry has changed matter what,” the Keblusek brothenvironmentally friendly products that significantly since John Keblusek Sr. ers are able work as a team. “One provide long-term value,” he says. bought Dehne Lawn & Leisure, the cannot manage siblings, particularBaby boomers are also concerned Keblusek brothers are working dilily older siblings,” Michael admits. with the value and quality of equipgently to ensure that their business “I can only attempt to influence ment. “Consumers want products values and store experience remain them and persuade desired outthat last and function as promised,” the same. Whether it’s the 40-yearcomes. We are more cohesive when he adds. old Marantz receiver playing music things are challenging than in Michael feels that prioritizing in the showroom, or the authentic times of prosperity.” product quality and innovation can throwback experience that cannot garner a better profit and sustainbe reproduced by the Internet or a The Need for Industry ability for businesses that focus on big-box store, the Keblusek brothers Transformation parts and repairs. Not only can such continue to do it their way. In Michael’s opinion, there have changes be lucrative, but they can “Almost 30 years later, we are still been a lot of industry changes and also promote customer loyalty. “Peohere,” Michael says. He appreciates challenges in the last 15 years. Deple pay for quality. Dealers should the fulfillment working with his spite the trend of increasing online focus on brands that are dedicated family gives him. “I am grateful to sales, and equipment built to be to independent retailers and probe able to work with my wife and cheaply and easily replaced instead mote complementary products rather brothers. I am grateful for talented of serviced or fixed, the Kebluseks than foster transient brand loyalty,” and loyal employees who have bework hard to maintain a business Michael declares. come my friends. And I am grateful that prioritizes a personal relationto my benevolent customers who go Satisfying Customers ship with its customers. out of their way to patronize our and Upholding “We are in need of an industry family business. But sometimes I Family Values transformation,” urges Michael. “We still miss my dad.” need to promote a symbiotic relaDehne Lawn & Leisure makes its tionship between manufacturers and own adjustments and creates its own Angie Mellor teaches communications dealers. We need products that are innovations to adapt to changes and writing classes at Western Technipre-emptive, not reactive. We need in customer needs. According to cal College in La Crosse, Wisconsin, sustainable quality, not disposable Michael, “Like other dealers, we while freelance writing and editing.

“We are in need of an industry transformation. We need to promote a symbiotic relationship between manufacturers and dealers.”

GREEN INDUSTRY PROS DEALER SUCCESS GUIDE ■ VOLUME 39

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Dealer Differentiation

By Jeremy Wishart

DIFFERENTIATING THE DEALERSHIP from the Competition

Selling propane equipment can help outdoor power equipment dealers grow their customer base and stand out from the competition.

Dealers should sell propane mowers because demand among contractors is growing.

F

or outdoor power equipment dealers, standing out from the crowd can be a tough task—especially in an oversaturated market where it can feel like every dealership is selling the same products and similar services. Fortunately, there are ways for dealers to offer real points of differentiation between their business and the dealer around the corner. Propane commercial mowers can be that point of differentiation. By 6

selling propane mowers, a dealership can both grow its customer base and stand out from the local competition for a variety of reasons.

1. There’s Growing Demand for Propane Equipment among Contractors Dealers deciding to sell propane mowers are setting themselves up for growth, first and foremost,

About 34 percent of landscape contractors are somewhat or very likely to purchase a propane mower within the next three years.

because demand among contractors is growing. Last summer, more than 15,000 commercial propane mowers were in operation across the country. Dedicated propane mowers are now produced by 12 manufacturers in a variety of zero-turn, wide-area walkbehind and stand-on models. There are six different Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)- and California Air Resources Board (CARB)-certified aftermarket conversion kit manufacturers, too. If these numbers alone aren’t convincing that dealers deciding to sell propane mowers are setting themselves up for growth, a 2016 survey commissioned by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) found that interest in propane is increasing as well. The survey, which was conducted by Wiese Research Associates from a pool of 150 landscape contractors, found that 34 percent of those surveyed answered they were somewhat or very likely to purchase a propane mower within the next three years. Yet, in a similar survey conducted with equipment dealers, only a quarter of the 100 dealers interviewed responded that they currently offer propane options. By staying ahead of the contractor demand that’s

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Dealer Differentiation

coming, dealers can bring in new customers that may otherwise go elsewhere.

2. Propane Can Create Buzz for the Dealership Dealers are always looking for ways to increase sales with existing customers and reach out to potential customers. Entire marketing campaigns can be designed around a dealership making propane mowers available to create a buzz at the store. Green-minded contractors are going to be happy to know where the go-to dealership is to meet their equipment needs, and sales staff can use propane as a reason to reach out and invite existing customers into the dealership to see new products and start a dialog.

3. Propane Has Many Selling Points

Dealers have a lot of selling points to work with when it comes to commercial mowers powered by propane. It’s commonly known that propane has a clean emissions profile, which is a major selling point for greenminded contractors or those with public agency contracts in which sustainable practices can be a plus. Propane commercial mowers can also give a contractor’s bottom line a boost because of lower fuel costs and increased productivity. Propane typically costs less than diesel or gasoline, and contractors can ensure fuel costs remain low by creating an annual fuel contract with a propane retailer. This can protect against the fluctuations of fuel prices that can swing wildly within a single cutting season. Furthermore, sales staff can point out that refueling mowers is faster and easier with propane. Full propane cylinders are refilled or delivered on site, so mowers are ready when crews depart for the day’s

work, decreasing the time spent at gas stations filling tanks. And because propane mowers use a closedloop fuel system, propane can’t be spilled or stolen, saving contractors headaches and wasted fuel. Plus, contractors routinely report the power of a propane commercial mower is virtually indistinguishable from a gasoline unit with similar horsepower. It doesn’t have to cost more to switch to propane either. Start-up costs for propane equipment are comparable to gasoline mowers. A new unit is approximately the same cost as a new gasoline mower with help from PERC’s Propane Mower Incentive Program, which allows contractors to receive $1,000 for each new dedicated propane mower or $500 for a certified propane conversion kit.

4. Offering Propane Mowers Positions a Dealer as a Local Innovator By offering propane mowers, a dealership is positioning itself as the place contractors can go to find

the latest in emerging technology, products and services. It’s a cue to contractors that a dealership is staying on top of industry trends. Even if some customers don’t ultimately transition to propane mowers, that impression may have them coming back. Differentiating a dealership in a competitive market can be tough. Adding propane mowers can be a simple way to do just that. Propane can position a dealership as an innovator, bring in greenminded customers and even act as a conversation-starter for existing customers. Dealers who decide to offer propane mowers (or currently do) should start spreading the word by signing up for PERC’s Propane Equipment Dealer Point. This free online database that allows contractors to find local dealers selling propane equipment can be found at www.propane.com/mower-dealer. Jeremy Wishart is the deputy director of business development for the Propane Education & Research Council. He can be reached at jeremy. wishart@propane.com.

There are 12 manufacturers that make dedicated propane mowers and six different certified aftermarket conversion kit manufacturers, too. GREEN INDUSTRY PROS DEALER SUCCESS GUIDE ■ VOLUME 39

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Closing the Deal

By Lindsay Paulson

Dealership Employees Demonstrate the POWER of SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media’s real power is in providing a space where people engage with other people to create and build relationships. efforts known as social employee advocacy programs. RDO Equipment Company was one of them.

Getting Social

RDO Equipment Company social employee and agronomist Nate Dorsey uses his Twitter account to share expertise and provide helpful advice just as he would in a face-to-face setting.

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ocial media’s emergence as a business opportunity in the last decade has given many companies the chance to determine how it fit with their sales, marketing and communications efforts. Early on, some jumped on board with Facebook, a handful were excited to tweet and others were among the first to share photos on Instagram. Today, most businesses are present on at least one social media 8

channel, with the most social-savvy companies being able to measure and place value on their efforts. But looking outside of metrics, social media’s real power is in how it became a space where people engage with other people to create and build relationships. As companies realized the benefits of these personal connections, some began evolving traditional social media strategies into employee-focused and -driven

About two years ago, RDO Equipment launched an employee social advocacy program on Twitter, encouraging team members to have unique voices and connect with others on social media as representatives of the business and brand. Programs like this are growing. Research obtained and shared by MarketingProfs in 2017 shows interest in employee advocacy increased 191 percent from 2013 to 2015, and today, 90 percent of brands report they are pursuing some type of employee advocacy program. RDO Equipment Company’s social employees—in particular, its agriculture-, lawn and garden- and tree care-focused team members—are great examples of how key areas like culture, engagement and the bottom line can benefit from employee social advocacy programs.

Culture Boost One of the top goals companies have with employee social advocacy programs is to showcase their unique culture. While every business can claim it has a great culture, employees who show it are the proof.

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Dixie Chopper; a different kind of mower, a different kind of opportunity. Partnering with Dixie Chopper provides you with more profits, better mowers, profitable programs, the best end-user warranties, and many other new dealer perks. Visit us online or call today for dealership opportunities.

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Closing the Deal

Chris Stanley, an account manager for RDO Vermeer, was one of the first social employees to create an RDO-branded Instagram account.

Showcasing culture is great for employee recruiting and retention, establishing the company in the community, and presenting the company as one with which others would want to do business.

Engagement Avenue Closely related to culture, employee engagement improves with social advocacy programs. And this isn’t just on social media, where employees engage with peers, businesses and the community. 10

Research from numerous sources, including the Edelman Trust Barometer, shows that, when employees are empowered to be ambassadors, they feel trusted and like a part of the company’s success, and therefore, more engaged in their jobs and the company. Engagement is a two-way street, Kirsten Jensen, founder of Next Action Digital and expert in employee social with employee social advocacy advocacy, regularly presents on the power programs also offering opportuof individual voices on social media. nities for external audiences to engage with brands. In 2016, organic reach on Facebook fell 52 Business Advantage percent—but social-savvy companies are finding ways to combat While culture and engagement are this trend. MarketingProfs research crucial for successful companies, shows content shared by employthe bottom line matters, too. Good ees receives eight times more news for employee social advocacy engagement than the same content programs is they can directly benefit shared by brands and LinkedIn the business, and its sales, marketstates that employee sharing helps ing and public relations efforts. generate two times more clickNearly everyone knows the saythroughs on content. ing, “People don’t do business with Employee advocacy programs businesses; people do business also build on a newer engagement with people.” Tying people, faces trend—micro-influencers. Tradiand names to the business adds a tionally, many social media marketperson-to-person connection versus ing strategies were based around person-to-business, and humanizes big influencers, for example, people the brand. with tens of thousands or even a Nick Arndt is an account manager million followers on Instagram or at RDO Equipment. Rather than use Twitter. Micro-influencers are the his Twitter account to blast messages same as big influencers in terms of of reduced prices and great financing how they engage and share content offers, he shares videos of close-up that promotes a brand, but it’s done Research shows that content shared on a smaller scale, by employees receives eight times for example, people with 100 followers. more engagement than the same Micro-influencers content shared by brands. can have a big impact and attract the attention of large brands. machine features and first looks at One of the biggest advantages with new equipment. Most importantly, he micro-influencers, and especially uses Twitter to showcase his customrelevant in a company’s employee ers and the equipment solutions he’s advocacy setting, is they’re specialable to provide. ized and credible in their area of While true in the social sense, expertise. Therefore, they have very business-to-business (B2B) organirelevant, engaged audiences. zations still have distinct buyers and

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MAKE YOUR NAME MEAN MORE. MORE LEADS. MORE REFERRALS. MORE SALES.

GROW YOUR REPUTATION WITH CONTRACTORS BY OFFERING PROPANE EQUIPMENT. In an industry where your name means everything, you need to stand out from the competition. Adding propane equipment to your show room gives contractors a new solution for saving more while cutting their emissions — and leads to better business for you. With resources like Propane Equipment Dealer Point, a dealer search tool for contractors, you’ll be sure customers know where to find you. Go online to learn how to get started with propane mower sales today.

PROPANE.COM/MOWER-DEALER

Visit www.greenindustrypros.com/10723235

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Closing the Deal

FOUR TIPS TO START A SUCCESSFUL EMPLOYEE SOCIAL ADVOCACY PROGRAM Tip 1: Identify a person or team to lead an employee social advocacy program. The person or team should be responsible for everything from initial employee training to ongoing program monitoring. Tip 2: Help employees identify culture moments that would make great social posts—a thank you to a coworker, a photo of the team’s volunteer effort or a link to an article to which they contributed input.

Nick Arndt, an account manager at RDO Equipment, uses Twitter to show off his customers and the equipment solutions he can provide.

markets, and characteristics that make them operate differently than business-to-consumer (B2C) companies. Employee social advocacy offers advantages here, too. For example, compared to B2C, the buying cycle in B2B markets is much longer, markets are smaller and more focused, and customers do more research and have more challenges when making purchases. Relationship-building, engagement and demonstrating expertise achieved through employee advocacy can be big game-changers in nurturing these potential customers from interest to final purchase. RDO product specialist Ben Hilde saw one of his tweets do just that. After sharing a tweet about a sprayer, an interested follower liked it, then asked about it at his local RDO Equipment Company store. After trying it, the customer ended up leasing it—then, more than a year 12

after Hilde’s initial tweet, shared his own photo of it in action on Twitter. Finally, events and trade shows offer another avenue to connect social employees with potential customers. Many events have social accounts employees can follow and start to connect with others who are linked to the event even before it begins. Most events have a special hashtag, too, allowing employees to join others in the conversation by tweeting photos or great quotes from presenters. They can even share relevant content from their organization on the topic. Chris Stanley, an account manager for RDO Vermeer, was one of the first social employees to create an RDO-branded Instagram account. His photos and videos from last November’s Tree Care Industry (TCI) Expo received a lot of engagement and numerous comments, including from other attendees—a great opportunity to connect with current and potential customers created from an employee social advocacy program and a few simple posts.

Tip 3: Coach employees to connect with people, businesses and companies important to their work so they can begin following, engaging and building a relevant audience. Tip 4: To establish a connection to the company and brand, have employees create consistent social handles that tie in the company name and include the company’s handle in their profile.

The benefits of employee social advocacy programs are clear both internally and externally. By sharing quality content, engaging people to create and build relationships, and representing the company with unique voices, employee advocates can be a great complement to a company’s social media strategy. Lindsay Paulson is a public relations specialist for RDO Equipment Company. Since 2008, she has worked in public relations, including content management and social media, primarily focused on business-tobusiness audiences in the equipment industry. Connect with her on Twitter @RDOLindsayP.

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Dealer Stock

A New Outdoor Power Equipment Line for Commercial Use Generac engineered its new Generac Pro line of rugged outdoor power equipment for commercial users, such as landscape contractors. The new line consists of the following products, many of which are powered by the company’s G-Force engine: • XC Series 6,500- and 8,000-watt portable generators.

Keeping an Eye on Customer Relationship Management

• XD5000E diesel-fueled portable generators. • 3,800-PSI, 3.2-GPM belt-drive pressure washers. • Walk-behind field and brush mowers with 26- and 30-inch cutting widths.

Black Ink Technologies recently released EyeOn Demand: Customer, a cloud-based customer relationship management product designed for the power equipment industry. According to the company, the analytics solution offers equipment dealerships:

• Tow-behind field and brush mowers with 44-inch decks. • Walk-behind trimmers with 22-inch cutting widths. • 60-inch power graders.

• The ability to set up product demonstrations, track call histories, email directly from the system, set up on-site visits with customers and view locations on a geo-map in less than three clicks.

• 34-ton hydraulic wood splitters with a road tow kit. • Chippers/shredders with a road tow kit. • Stump grinders.

• A user dashboard that provides a snapshot of progress toward sales goals and highlights the next best activity to pursue.

• Towable backhoes with 12-inch buckets. • Power wagons with 8-cubic-foot buckets and a hauling capacity of 800 pounds.

• The capability to identify, based on past average time between specific customer purchases, if the account is inactive or dormant, helping users to understand how to upsell or reacquire.

• Trash and semi-trash water pumps.

• A cloud platform for greater flexibility to quickly search, find and connect to commercial accounts and prospects.

www.greenindustrypros.com/12399039

www.greenindustrypros.com/12381612

Assortment of Trimmer Line, Parts and Accessories Rotary’s 2018 catalog presents a full line of commercial-strength trimmer line, parts and accessories among more than 9,500 items for servicing dealers and distributors. The catalog further features:

Ideal for Any Log-Splitting Job—Large or Small Toro says its log splitter combines durability, precision and reliability, making it ideal for any log-splitting job—large or small. The machine includes: • A 22-ton cutting force to split tough logs. • A Honda GX270 engine, ensuring productivity and jobsite efficiency.

• A special 28-page trimmer section that includes photos, illustrations and descriptions, plus a trimmer head application chart.

• A 12-second cycle time and 9-inch solid steel wedge, allowing for a rapid and clean cut.

• A variety of fast-loading trimmer heads, replacement spools, covers, and housing and cam assemblies.

• A dual wheel jack to assist in maneuverability over difficult terrain.

• Availability of popular commercial trimmer systems with professional bump-and-feed heads for easy line advancing and dual-line indexing with durable nylon construction and a large-capacity spool for easy release.

• The ability to be operated horizontally or vertically for greater flexibility.

• Trimmer lines with optimal tensile strength, flex life, wear resistance, and performance in hot, cold, dry or wet conditions.

• An adjustable swing-away towing jack with dual pneumatic tires that allow for simple transport in remote areas.

www.greenindustrypros.com/12395229

www.greenindustrypros.com/12398473

• A heavy-duty catch assembly and durable fenders to protect the machine.

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Wheeling & Dealing

By Mike Rittler

THREE WAYS TO PREPARE FOR

2018 SALES GROWTH

Green industry equipment retailers are bullish about sales in 2018, but how should you get equipped to maximize the boom?

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onfidence in the green industry is on the up, according to a recent TD Bank survey of 115 retailers at the Green Industry & Equipment Expo (GIE+EXPO). With 61 percent expecting purchasing volume to increase in 2018, retailers are upbeat about sales growth for the year ahead. So how can retailers capitalize on the increased demand?

1. Stock Up and Staff Up to Meet Demand

Retailers can start by planning key inventory pushes around seasonal spending habits. For example, in preparation for spring, start buying up popular equipment, such as lawn mowers, so competitors don’t meet demand for these larger purchases as consumers gear up for the warmer weather. The spring season is also a popular time for wider landscaping projects, so stock up on irrigation and other equipment as well. In addition to keeping inventories supplied, retailers may need to consider staffing needs. In fact, TD’s survey found that more than one in five businesses are already planning to grow their workforce over the next year. Having a full team of informed, attentive sales professionals is key to ensuring that customers receive enough one-onone face time and can get their last-minute questions answered on big-ticket items. 14

2. Establish Loyalty Programs to Keep Customers Coming Back The expected influx of customers presents an opportunity for retailers to boost customer retention through customized loyalty programs. Over half of retailers (52 percent) are not currently offering customers any form of rewards bonuses, coupons, discounts or free merchandise. Given that power and outdoor equipment are major expenditures for consumers, offering a lower price or cheaper add-on items to loyalty members can persuade consumers to spend big. Being able to bank rewards for future purchases can also entice customers back. Retailers can offer to sign up customers to their rewards program at online and in-store checkouts, making sure the process is seamless and allowing customers to accrue rewards points straightaway.

3. Partner with a Financial Institution to Offer Financing Retailers should also focus on how to expand their market share to customers who view large purchases as out of reach, even when accounting for member perks and discounts. By partnering with a financial institution, retailers can offer financing options to customers so that larger ticket items seem more manageable. They can take advantage of the current low-rate environment to

offer competitive rates, introducing their products to a new set of customers and boosting customer loyalty. Customizable financing options can boost overall customer satisfaction by allowing customers to pay a little at a time for large purchases, so they can enjoy the exact items they want when they want. When considering possible financing options to offer, retailers should focus on their core audience. TD’s survey found that 55 percent of customers who seek financing options fall in the 35- to 54-year-old age range. Many in this age group are already juggling a variety of different loans and payments on other items, such as their house, car and furniture. As an added incentive to sign up for financing, retailers can consider offering a low interest rate or even an initial interest-free period. The anticipated sales growth for 2018 provides retailers with an opportunity to expand their market share. To capitalize on this, retailers should start prepping early. Determining if inventory and staff are ready can help to make sure they capture the demand, while rolling out loyalty and financing options can help bind customers to the retailer, and draw them back for future purchases. Mike Rittler is the head of retail card services at TD Bank.

GREEN INDUSTRY PROS DEALER SUCCESS GUIDE ■ VOLUME 39

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Tighter turns and cleaner cuts, realized. Fulfilling customers’ ambitions moves you closer to yours.

You want to be the one that equips them to take their business to the next lawn, and the next level. Our promotional financing, tools and technologies make it easy to offer customers more purchasing power. They’ll also help you increase store traffic, raise average transaction size and build repeat business. Just right for your future. Find out how we can help you realize your ambitions. Visit synchronybusiness.com/OPE or call us at 855-433-4756.

Credit extended by Synchrony Bank. ©2018 All Rights Reserved.

What are you working forward to?

Visit www.greenindustrypros.com/10853329

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While their parts are in the mail, ours are in your hands.

This is productivity defined. If your equipment is in the shop waiting for parts, it’s not out there on the job making you money. That’s why we have your back with the industry’s strongest parts program, including putting the exact part you need in your hands within 24 hours.* It’s just another way we make sure you have less downtime and more done time. Parts are just part of the story. Learn more at vanguardengines.com

*See www.vanguardengines.com for complete details. © 2018 Briggs & Stratton Corporation

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Dealer Success Guide V39  

The Green Industry Pros Dealer Success Guide supplement is a unique business management guide for owners and managers of landscape equipment...

Dealer Success Guide V39  

The Green Industry Pros Dealer Success Guide supplement is a unique business management guide for owners and managers of landscape equipment...