Moen Machinery moves a ton of iron. From a single location in Gresham, OR, the dealership’s wholegoods sales alone dwarf the total volumes of many reputable dealers. But bigger isn’t always better, which is why co-owner Greg Moen keeps his eye on the larger prize: customer loyalty and healthy profits, both of which enable the business to continue growing.
And grow it has. Cindy Luebbers, Moen’s sister who’s also a co-owner, says her nerves act up from time to time. Like a lot of dealerships, especially those with substantial commercial customer bases, Moen Machinery is busting at the seams. Virtually every square inch of available land is already in use, leaving no room to expand at the current location. In fact, Moen Machinery sometimes has to “borrow” lot space from the RV dealership across the street to store some of the big iron it sells. It’s a good thing Moen networks the way he does; he’s chummy with the owner of that RV dealership.
Relocating has been discussed on more than one occasion, but doesn’t appear to be the best thing for Moen Machinery at the present time. The dealership benefits greatly from the high amount of traffic passing by its doors each day. “Plus, zoning in our area limits our choices when it comes to relocating,” Moen points out. “We don’t want to move so far out in the country that we risk losing some of our residential and lawn maintenance contractor business,” Luebbers adds.
Nobody likes to lose customers, at least not the good ones. Moen Machinery has spent the last six decades finding—and keeping—a lot of great ones, from a variety of pro and homeowner segments.
Big iron ... big opportunities
The dealership has a 60-year history of shifting with its market. It started out as a farm supply store. When the logging industry began showing promise, Moen Machinery evolved into more of a saw shop. Then it was back to ag, with a continued emphasis on logging. In the late 1960s, due to a tremendous surge in development, the Gresham area saw traditional ag farmers transitioning to nurseries. “That’s when we changed from being primarily an ag dealership to being a more diversified business,” Moen says.
That’s also about the same time Moen Machinery took on the Kubota line. “We became a lawn and garden/agricultural/light industrial store encompassing several customer categories,” Moen tells. “The Kubota line has taken us in directions we never thought we’d go. Had we needed to take on several different lines to achieve the same market coverage, I don’t think we would have.”
As Moen points out, dealing with one supplier makes expanding into different product categories much easier. You have one set of financing and purchasing programs to learn, while your parts and service staff have just one more line to become familiar with.
Learn what you’re selling ... and selling against
Perhaps most importantly, your sales reps have but one line of new equipment to learn how to sell. And they’re going to have to learn it—inside and out. Moen says professional customers, especially those on the industrial side, are pretty educated when it comes to product. “Many times they know more about our competition than we do,” Moen relates.
David Dirksen, a Moen family cousin who works in the sales department, says the biggest key to winning pro business has been knowing competitors’ equipment so he and the three other Moen Machinery sales reps can sell more effectively. “That’s been the hardest part in selling this bigger equipment,” Dirksen relates. “It requires a lot of studying on our part so we can approach each customer and make them feel confident we know what we’re talking about. We have to know what we’re selling, and also what our competition is selling.”
Moen says he’s lucky because his suppliers, particularly Kubota, have been very helpful in providing as much competitive information as possible. His suppliers have also done a good job of expanding their product lines over the years, enabling Moen Machinery to reach a broader customer base.