Outdoor power equipment parts and accessories sales have proven to be some of the most profitable. Going beyond merchandising, how can dealers get these add-on sales? It often boils down to really knowing the customer’s needs, and at the most opportune time, presenting the purchase as a convenient and attractive buy.
Achieving the add-on sale is very beneficial to the dealership. These high-margin buys bring in a lot of profit, and when sold with equipment, make that sale even sweeter. “The purchase of equipment and add-on’s goes hand in hand,” says Matt Werner, regional sales rep for Stens. “Dealers make a lot wider margins when they are selling parts, or add-on’s. They are much more incented to find add-on’s and additional parts when selling equipment or servicing equipment because they make a lot more money when they do it.”
While there are plenty of parts and accessory options out there for consumer and commercial customers, there are a few that continuously prove to be top sellers. “By far, our top-selling parts are spark plugs, air filters, oil filters and blades,” says Werner. “A lot of that stuff goes together. When a customer brings in equipment for maintenance, these are the things that usually come with it.”
Sometimes, the add-on sale is not a product, but rather a service itself. “The sale can’t only be a part, it can be a service,” explains Jeff Spencer, Oregon technical training specialist for the central U.S. “Dealers can sell equipment servicing or maintenance with the initial purchase.”
As part of the equipment sale, dealers may suggest that the customer pay for maintenance up front, bringing in the equipment after a few months to get it serviced. Service or maintenance may include an oil change or blade sharpening, and a routine check of equipment performance. Stens also offers their dealers a Franzen automated chain-sharpening machine, allowing them to sell sharpening as an add-on service.
INVESTIGATING INDIVIDUAL NEEDS
Knowing the customer’s needs can help greatly in deciding which add-on part or service is right for them. “We like to say you do a fact-find mission,” shares Werner. “The first thing you need to find out is what exactly they are doing with the equipment, whether they are mowing one acre or five acres, because the add-on’s would vary from there.”
The conditions a customer works in will also help determine which add-on’s are right for them. “A consumer isn’t going to change their oil or air filters once a month if they are only mowing four times in that month, where the pro guy has been mowing for 30 days,” Spencer explains further. “You have to really know your customer.”
When talking to customers, listen for key words and topics that signal the possibility for an add-on sale. Knowing the customer’s needs and approaching the customer with the appropriate product or service further guarantees the success of the sale.
Once you know the detail of the customer’s needs, it is the appropriate time to try for the accessory or parts sale. If you have pinned down what they are using the equipment for and to what extent, picking add-on’s that go together in a package deal might make for a larger sale. “Once you have that customer down to what kind of product they want, there are other equipment pieces to go with it as accessories,” says Spencer. Suggest to the customer add-on’s such as another set of blades (more if they are a commercial cutter), and several maintenance items.
“If a person does their own maintenance, you want to make sure they have all those maintenance items ready to go when they leave the shop with their new tractor, Spencer continues. “A month from now, they’ve got all that stuff on hand ready to go.” When discussing the equipment pricing, give the customer a price for the equipment alone and a price for the equipment paired with a package of necessary add-on’s.