The day was dark and gloomy, and not a lawn mower was running. The leaves had changed from their normal green to a crisp orange, dropping one by one to the cool ground. Snow fell slowly, and the lonely lawnmower dealer could only sit back, sip that coffee, and say, “YES!!! FINALLY, work is on its way!”
Are you that dealer? After a dismal to flat year, you can’t wait to see the seasons change from fall to winter. If you live in the North, you probably love the business that snow and ice brings. In the South, mowing and cleanup continue.
At GIE+EXPO 2017 in Louisville, Ky., the general consensus was that 2017 was a flat year. Not many could explain why, but A.D. has an idea. In 2015 and 2016, most of the country enjoyed an early spring. However, 2017 came in with a loud noise of nothing. No cash registers rang out the sweet sound of ka-ching, no tune-ups to do, no carb problems to fix, and no excitement for most. But the beauty of our industry is that no matter how bad (or good) the year was, it WILL be a new year soon! So, with the winter months upon us, do the things you need to do to prepare for a brand-new season ahead.
Let’s discuss something you can do to get ready for the new season. Change it up. Yes, that’s right: Change it up. Walk around your store — inside and out — and take whatever free time you have to change up the look. A.D. suggests you ask the ladies what to do for your new look. If you can get a lady to use your store’s restroom (it’s not a powder room in a lawnmower shop), you have accomplished something. Men can take almost any change you make even if it has a lady’s touch. Ladies, on the other hand, are a little different. They like things neat and organized. So, if your male customers bring their wives to your store, what will they see? Shoot some pictures on your smartphone or digital camera, and don’t look at them for two weeks. After the two weeks are up, take another look at the pictures. What do you see? If you changed nothing before taking the pictures, you probably see clutter. Now that you have identified an issue, change it up. Then, do it outside. Your storefront is your billboard. If you have old, used, dirty mowers always in the view of customers driving by, CHANGE IT UP! There is no reason you should look like Jed and Jethro just dropped off their pile of stuff and left it there for the world to see. Mrs. A.D. always says that since I work in the lawnmower business, we should have the nicest yard in the neighborhood. Most people that drive by our house don’t know what I do for a living, so is that fair? But when they drive by your shop, they DO know what you do. Change it up, and make it inviting to all that see it. If you want more business, attract new customers. Remember, the outside of your store is your billboard, and when seen at a fast glance, it should say, “Come in! This place is awesome!”
Another thing to change is your attitude. Sorry, A.D. isn’t implying that you have an attitude problem. However, I am implying that most people continue to do the same things that have gotten them to where they are today. So, change your attitude. Even if you are successful and grow your business every year, change your attitude. Here is an example of an attitude change. “I can’t beat the mass merchants.” Not true. You already did years ago. You figured a way to get their customers to bring their products to you for service! Where the attitude change comes in is when you decide to embrace those customers — not treat them like second-class citizens. Here’s what I mean. Let’s say you buy a new car online because you got a GREAT deal. Now, let’s say it breaks down after having it three weeks. You take it to the dealership for warranty, but you’re told that it will take three weeks to fix it because they have their own customers to take care of first. Would you buy a car from that dealership? NO! So, A.D. asks you, “Why should a customer buy anything from you if you do that to them?” Change your attitude. “First in, first out” is your new policy. If you can do this, and you do it without hesitation, you will be the next superstar OPE dealer. And believe me, you might get more business from mass merchant customers. And honestly, who really cares if they don’t buy a machine from you? Your money better be made in service work.
Well, they just gave me the hook for this month’s issue, so until next time, keep your blades and mind sharp, and feel free to e-mail me at OPEMAGAD@gmail.com or Tweet me @OPEMAGAD.