The Early Bird Gets the Worm

I was driving down the road with my windows down in early March enjoying the unseasonably warm Wisconsin temperatures, when I noticed a sign on the side of the road for a contractor offering tilling services. Typically, the ground around here is still snow-covered and frozen in March, and we are all busy cursing the weatherman while we fall into seasonal depression as we wait for spring.

The high temperatures this year are doing more than cheering up us Midwesterners; it's creating opportunities for dealers and landscapers a little earlier in the year than usual. Maybe it's Mother Nature's way of making it up to dealers after the low snowthrower sales this past winter.

When the opportunity arises, will you be ready? The weather this year reminds us of the importance of planning ahead. The guy with the tiller who had his sign out on the corner at the first opportunity is more likely to get that business than the other guy down the street who is still ordering/painting his.

As a dealer, you should have your plans for a spring open house out of the way early in the year. I understand some things like printed marketing material can't be changed if an early spring is sprung on us, but having an overall plan for implementation in place will help greatly if you want to move the date up.

Same goes for all marketing throughout the year. Before the year starts, think about what products you want to promote, in which months and how. Having a thorough marketing plan ahead of time can mean better results from your marketing efforts.

In this issue, there are two Market Watch articles: Trimmers on page 22 and Commercial Mowers on page 24. Manufacturers share that they are expecting good sales this year with positive consumer outlooks and pent-up demand.

It's important to remember though: The market only helps sales and doesn’t create them. Aggressive marketing paired with knowledgeable selling will help your chances at a successful year in sales.

While strong sales are expected, dealers can still count on the service department to get slammed. On page 16 Bob Clements tells you how to assess your service department and get more from your technicians.

Happy selling!