“Our sales growth since we took over was due to the increase in consumer customers and the addition of more consumer-type equipment,” says Roger. “The entire company has had to learn to diversify into as many new markets as possible.”
An invaluable resource
The company solidified sales into the organics market, and then took on the challenge of becoming outdoor power equipment dealers. Through it all they have learned that the best way to position themselves as a business was as an invaluable resource to their customers.
The business model they developed with Sigma Organics proved to be a good fit for Chilton Turf Center as well. They make it a point to give customers easy access to products and service, as well as educate them along the way.
Customers are given access to online parts lookup, equipment pickup and delivery for service, and annual reminders of service needed. On top of that, they also offer many educational opportunities in the form of classes for consumer and commercial customers.
“Since 1999 Sigma Organics has either sponsored or held industry classes for commercial customers. These classes were related to the application of the materials sold by Sigma,” explains Roger. “Taking this concept of providing an added value to our customers, we started holding classes at least once a year in engine maintenance, engine troubleshooting, mower maintenance, chainsaw safety, and two-cycle operations and maintenance. With the change in fuels, we have added a class on proper use, mix and storage of today’s fuels.”
They give customers personalized attention in selling both Sigma Organics products and equipment. Sigma Organics products are available for purchase at the two dealership locations by homeowners and contractors. This is an added convenience for contractors who need Sigma products on the weekend when the Sigma store is closed.
“Sigma not only sells products, they analyze the customers’ situation and then offer a number of solutions,” says Roger. The Smiths do the same by asking questions of the customer to help determine the right power equipment for their needs.
With the increase in customers comes an increase in service orders. There, too, customers are treated to personal service that includes a follow-up call after each work order. Discounts are given on service and parts in the offseason.
“The service department has become our largest customer,” says Roger. “The personal approach for each customer has been the driving point for an increased customer base for the service department.”
Customers are also given the option of submitting a description of repair or maintenance needs online and receiving a quote before bringing equipment in. This saves the customer and the service department time when equipment is dropped off.
The Smith family has focused on offering more to each business’s customer base. By positioning themselves as a reliable resource, they have continued to grow the customer base and sales for both sides of their complimentary businesses.