This month’s article is a series of three short stories. So let’s not waste words and get right to it:
It was recently announced that MTD has agreed to sell 20 percent of its stock to Stanley, Black & Decker (SBD).
If you have been in this industry for a while, you can add this to one to the long list of acquisitions you’ve witnessed. I find this one very intriguing. Why would SBD want to own 20 percent of MTD and have the ability to buy the other 80 percent in 2021? Here are a few reasons why it seems like a very good deal for both: MTD has great brand names – Cub Cadet and Troy-Bilt are highly recognized names and are solid products. MTD has a distribution network with lawn and garden distributors and independent dealers. If SBD wants to try to sell other items they produce, this gives them immediate access to that channel. SBD bought the Craftsman name last year. With ownership in MTD, it now has an enormous amount of product opportunity to create Craftsman products. Without knowing what the future holds, this looks like a good partnership.
The second short story has to do with you and online sales. I’m not talking about your own online sales but everyone else’s. We’ve talked about it in the past, but it is so clear that we need to keep talking about it. I am talking about having parts in stock when your customer needs them. The days of waiting on your distributor to have it to you tomorrow are gone. Sure, you will still need to get things next day, but I’m specifically talking about filters and other fast-moving parts. Here are three questions I’ll ask, and your answers could determine your future success:
- Do you have parts stands or a slat wall with parts?
- Do you have the correct branded parts on those stands? (If it says Briggs & Stratton, for example, do you have Briggs & Stratton parts on that stand? Anything else other than Briggs & Stratton looks bad to the customer.)
- Do you have a website? Your customers could be driving up to 60 miles to buy from you. How long do you think that will last if you tell them, “I can have that part to you tomorrow”? Well, here is the kicker. Your customer does not need you for that. They can go to their home computer, log in to almost any website, and order the part. That might take 5 to 10 minutes and cost them nothing other than the part they ordered. Your customer that just drove 60 miles has now driven another 60 miles back home, and I am pretty sure it’s 60 miles of anger. All in all, that trip probably cost more than $50. It works for the guy driving three miles too. He doesn’t need you to order a part and get it tomorrow. He needs the part right now. That’s why he came to your shop. You need a website for your own customers. Even if you have no aspirations of getting noticed online for any other reason, have one for your customers. Maybe they will order, maybe they won’t. Ask your supplier if you can have things drop shipped to your end customer to eliminate a day or two for shipping.
By now, the annual GIE+EXPO is over for 2018. Did you go? If you did, what was your opinion? The show has been in Louisville since it started in 1984. It has changed names since then, and the show continues to evolve. It’s often uttered in conversation that the show needs to rotate around different cities each year. This would give the entire country a chance to see what is being shown. We continue to go because of the many learning opportunities. This year, Dr. Robert Ballard talked about one of his biggest underwater discoveries, the RMS Titanic. It sank in the Atlantic Ocean, and 70-plus years after the sinking, he discovered it.
Dealers continued to support Bob Clements for teaching dealers to keep more of their profit rather than seeing it go up in smoke. Hopefully you were able to attend one or more of the many workshops offered.
Another thing that made it fun was the city of Louisville itself. After the show ended each day, many dealers, distributors, and OEM’s could be found down on 4th Street having a great time with the bands and the party. If you didn’t get to attend this year, it will be in Louisville once again in October 2019. Hope to see you there.
Remember to keep your blades and mind sharp. You can contact me by emailing me at OPEMAGAD@gmail.com. I do reply to every note. You can tweet me @OPEMAGAD, but have no idea what happens after that.