“While demand will still likely be driven out of necessity over the next few years, we may start to see a shift away from price-minded to value-minded purchases in 2011. Consumers purchasing commercial mowers in 2011 will notice that a lot of technology advancements have been realized since they purchased their last mower. Mowers are greener, addressing fuel line and tank emissions. Engines are more efficient, operating smoother and offering better fuel economy. Mowers are designed smarter, reducing vibration points and enhancing user comfort.”
Qualifying the Customer
As the market demand for commercial riding mowers increases in 2011, dealers can improve their chances of getting the sale by taking the time to talk with customers and pair them with the right mower that can satisfy their needs regardless of cost.”
“The market is price-driven but also value-driven,” explains Stucky. “Dealers can capitalize on this by knowing their customers’ needs and offering equipment that provides the best value for each application. Dealers should make themselves an ally to the customer by helping them be more successful, saving them time and labor with the equipment they purchase.”
An influential part of qualifying the customer and getting closer to the sale is learning their financial parameters. They are going to want a machine that is affordable and credit that is easily obtainable.
“Affordability and cost of ownership is one of the last pieces to the puzzle, along with finance options that are affordable, which seems to be as compelling as all the features,” says Weber. “We work directly with finance companies to offer our customers an assortment of financing options to fit their unique needs, many with no dealer fees to get passed on to the customer.”
Dealers should be patient with customers and the market going into the 2011 sales season. They should recognize that the increase in commercial rider sales will be gradual.
“The landscape contractor market appears to be improving from 2009 as indicated by industry shipment and retail estimates,” says Walters. “Although hard pressed to find dealers or landscape contractors who believe the economy is in full recovery, most do believe that things have moderated and that 2011 will be another step forward.”