Today's Professional Dealer

Professionalism is about your image, appearance and attitude. It is your attitude toward customers and your industry and your knowledge of products and brands.

The perception that dealerships are dingy and intimidating is long gone. Dealers have worked hard to provide a shopping experience that matches the cleanliness of a big box but with the knowledge of an outdoor power equipment professional.

Customers know if they are visiting a professional dealership the moment they walk in the door. Keeping your facility clean, and staff friendly and presentable, add to your level of professionalism.

Are you a dealer who is helping to build the image of professionalism in this industry? If you aren’t sure, here are a few things you should avoid doing in order to build your professional image.

What isn’t professional behavior? The following things can earn you a bad reputation among other dealers and your customers.

Putting down the competition – Whether it is another independent dealer or a big box retailer, you should never put down your competition. Instead of focusing on the negatives about your competition, focus on your own positives.

Lowballing in the shop – To show customers your high level of professionalism, give them the most accurate estimate you can on repairs in the shop. Coming back to the customer who trusted you with their repairs with a bill much higher than what was estimated is unprofessional and earns your shop a poor reputation.

Being uninformed on products and their features – If a customer comes into the dealership with equipment questions, you better be ready to answer. You should be an expert on all of the products you sell. Additionally, your technicians should be well trained and up-to-date on all technician training made available.

A disorganized and dirty showroom – A clean and orderly showroom puts the customer at ease in your dealership. It also shows your business is organized and attention is paid to the details of retail.

Poorly trained personnel – Your staff is the face of your business. They should be trained well in customer service and knowledgeable on the products. Make sure they maintain a clean and professional appearance as well.

Selling product solely on their price – Part of the reason customers choose an independent dealer over the big box is their extensive knowledge. Don't focus just on price when selling to customers. A professional dealer will train customers to look for more than price in a product.

Taking the easy sale before qualifying a customer – It is better to tell the customers what they really need in a product rather than to go for an easy sale. You don’t want the customer to overspend and not trust you in the future.

Operating behind the times – If you are stuck in the old ways of doing business, your customers will perceive your products as being out of date as well. Embrace today's technology and use it in the dealership's daily operations and marketing. Signature capture pads at the point of sale and social media marketing should be implemented. At the very least, you need to have a website. If today's consumer can't find you though a simple Google search, it is far less likely they will travel to your dealership.

As the market changes, so should you. Maintain your professional image by avoiding mistakes in these areas of your business and evolving as a retailer.