As the year 2012 starts out, dealers are taking advantage of the brief lull and assessing how their business performed in 2011. While the sales season approaches, it’s necessary to take note of your strengths and weaknesses, and make changes to set yourself up for a better year ahead.
Evaluating the different areas of the business and how they contribute to your successes and failures is important. Revisit the showroom and the product lines you carry. How do they meet customer demands? How do the lines round out your offering?
We have decided to make our first issue of the year our Spring Product Guide. This is the best time to evaluate partnerships and products as you plan for the spring sales season. Go into it with products you trust and manufacturers that will back you up.
Having confidence in the equipment and your relationships will translate to better customer experience. Would you want to sit down in a small independent restaurant, ask the waitress to recommend something and hear her say, “I’d avoid the chicken”?
Offer only products you can speak confidently about. You should be certain of their quality and the manufacturer’s readiness to right any kind of wrong with the product. Why would you back a manufacturer you didn’t think was ready to back you?
Additionally, simplify your “menu” of product options, giving customers a few quality products from each category to choose from. Many restaurants pick a few things to be really good at and focus on delivering quality options over a large quanity of choices.
Having too many options can mean not only a tougher decision for the customer, but an unsatisfying experience when the staff is not expert on that product. And much like a restaurant that overstocks food for a large menu of items, then tosses much of that stock when it goes bad, you could end up with a showroom full of equipment at the end of the season.
What are you good at? What do your customers look for? What manufacturers do you want to partner with?
Remind customers why they choose you over the big box store down the street. They want a focused product offering and a knowledgeable staff, not rows and rows of product and no one to educate and assist them in their purchase.