I visited a dealer in central Wisconsin the other day to just chew the fat and shoot some photos for use in the publication and on the website. We sat in his office and talked for a long while before I wandered the dealership and grounds taking photos.
He has been in the industry for almost 50 years, and while the dealership has a heavy focus on ag, the dealer offers three mower models, and a few shortlines. In our discussion he taught me that in everything there is a lesson.
He shared some of his frustrations with the lawn equipment segment—both equipment manufacturers and his competition. Thanks to his manufacturer "partners", he has many competitors very close by. As the market in his area became saturated, he pulled back on the number of lines he would carry and the amount of equipment he stocks.
As for the undercutting competition, he has learned to sell against the games they play. If the competition is offering a mower at a price just a hair lower than his, he tacks on a value-added service to make up for the difference, or lowers the unit price and adds on a warranty to make up for the price cut at the sale.
Bottom line, he can't control the manufacturers, and he can't control his competition. What he can control is how he meets their actions with his own. Throughout his time in the industry facing these challenges, he has shown a positive attitude and perseverance. Those qualities have kept him in business.
The outdoor power equipment business isn’t an easy one to be in. But the dealers who have continued to learn from the ups and downs and adjust their business accordingly are the ones who are still around. As many challenges continue to come your way, don’t get mad—get even.
P.S. On the topic of perseverance, watch for some exciting changes coming with our next issue!