Upfront: Mid-year adjustments

By Steve Noe

I would like to personally thank all of the dealers who took time out of their undoubtedly busy May schedules to respond to my questions for OPE’s 2016 Dealer Progress Report highlighted in the cover story of this issue. The purpose of this open-ended question-and-answer survey was to shed some light on the preseason expectations, midseason results and strategies, and end-of-year outlooks of your fellow dealers.

Many dealers provided some excellent feedback on in-season adjustments and inspired me to come up with a few additional suggestions to help you finish the year strong. In no particular order, they are as follows:

* Now that registration is open for the 2016 Green Industry & Equipment Expo (GIE+EXPO), which will take place Oct. 19-21 in Louisville, Ky., at the Kentucky Exposition Center, go to www.gie-expo.com and sign up for the show. The show will feature plenty of dealer education opportunities, especially on Dealer Day Oct. 19. If you’re a current UTV dealer or considering adding UTVs to your product offerings, you will want to check out the new UTV University (see page 10). You will also want to swing by the Dealer Resource Pavilion for additional OPE dealer education opportunities. Also, while you’re attending GIE+EXPO, be sure to make the rounds to the indoor booths and the New Products Arena to see the latest products, as well as the outdoor booths to test drive them.

* With football season just around the corner, kick off the fall by hosting a tailgate seminar, where you can show customers just what a portable generator can bring to a tailgate party — from powering a big-screen TV to watch pre-game coverage to a slow cooker to make food to a blender to make drinks. (I was going to suggest throwing an after-hours tailgate party outside of your dealership, but I figured that would probably be a losing and potentially problematic proposition unless it was bring your own food and non-alcoholic beverage.) If you don’t want to go to the trouble of hosting a tailgate seminar or party, perhaps you could set up a tailgate display inside your dealership and play a tailgate demo video on a TV connected to a generator. Be sure to promote your tailgate seminar or display on your website and social media outlets.

* Offer midseason mower or preseason snow removal equipment service specials now through your website, social media outlets and e-newsletters. Also, check out the latest snow removal equipment and supplies in “Equipment Focus” in this issue, and consider adding to your current product offerings.

* With so many stores running back-to-school or Labor Day weekend specials, why not consider offering something along the same lines in your dealership and promoting it through your website and social media outlets?

* Contact OPE Contributing Writer Jeff Sheets, founder and owner of OPE Consulting Services, to seek his best practices advice. He may be reached at opeconsultingservices@gmail.com or (816) 260-5430. You can also follow him on Twitter @opeconsult, connect with him on LinkedIn, and visit his website at www.opeconsultingservices.com. If you go to GIE+EXPO and drop by our booth, chances are you’ll find him there as well.

These are just a few midseason adjustment suggestions. If you would like to offer some additional midseason adjustment suggestions, please share them on OPE’s new Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OutdoorPowerEquipmentMag and be sure to “like” our page too. I would love to hear from you. Best of luck during the second half of the year! I hope you finish on a winning note!

OPE Senior Editor Steve Noe