Of course, it's that time of year again, time to prep your outdoor power equipment dealership for the Springtime surge in business. In our industry, there are always elements that we can improve. This time of year is the perfect opportunity to consider what you can do to make the customer experience better this season. After seeing dozens of dealerships go through this process, we here at KPM have compiled a list of the most valuable improvements and changes you can make to gain the upper hand.
Start from the outside and work your way in.
First impressions are essential to forming a relationship, and the first thing prospective customers see when approaching your business is the parking lot. Don't let their first impression be that of disarray and deterioration.
- How long has it been since you resurfaced the parking lot? A typical asphalt surface will require resurfacing every eight or so years. A more affordable option is to repaint parking lines and traffic directionals; this can go a long way in improving the lot's look and feel.
- Do you have a clear designated zone for equipment drop off? Be it for repairs, demo returns, or anything that needs loading and unloading. Some well-placed signs for each department in a dealership can eliminate hassle for customers and employees alike.
- Can vehicles with trailers maneuver in and out? If not, it might be time to try a new layout that is more accommodating.
- How visible are the brands you sell? Invest in banners that prominently display your product offerings, so buyers know what their options are before they even walk through the front door.
Do all your employees understand how to greet a customer on the phone and the sales floor?
Employees are, and always will be, your most valuable assets. Take the time and investment in training workers in the matters of customer interaction and satisfaction. It is imperative that your prospective buyers feel like they are welcome in your store and that you are there to help them. Your store should develop policies for all employees to follow to ensure a consistent and positive customer experience at your dealership. Teach your employees how you want them to treat your customers.
I once heard a customer tell a dealer he had been at the dealership down the street, and three employees walked by him without asking if he had been helped. He got in his car and drove to the next dealer who was much busier although the receptionist came out and asked how she could help and made sure he was welcome. These actions, or lack of action, will result in a lost sale for your business. It could be the difference between a profitable dealership and going under.
Is Your Inventory Ready for the Season?
Make sure you have your parts and whole goods orders in place, so you have parts and equipment ready to sell when the opportunity is there. A large portion of sales can be lost to a competitor because regular items have not been stocked. If you get a customer into your store only to tell them “I will have to order that in,” they may likely travel to the next closest dealership or order a cheaper version online. People visit a dealership for expertise and the convenience of purchasing an item on the spot. Often, it's difficult to compete with online retailers on price so compete on convenience, product knowledge and customer service.
Are your fast-moving parts closest to the counter?
Consider evaluating your fast-moving parts and develop a plan to have a supply close to the checkout counter. When you can quickly fill an order, it frees up time for your employees and gets customers exactly what they need to get back to their work.
There is a limited amount of time before the Spring rush. Compile the primary objectives that fit your outdoor power equipment dealership and get started. In the meantime, leave a comment and tell us what your dealership does to get ready for the Spring.
Does your dealership need help preparing for next season's rush?
KPM is here to help.