John Duggan, Jr., 29-year old entrepreneur and owner of Duggan Bros., is proud of the way his business stands out along U.S. Highway 441 north of Ocala, Fla. Gleaming green and red tractors and assorted implements are lined up in perfect order. But it's not just ego and pride of ownership. He knows the attractive, eye-catching appearance of his dealership is the first major step to bringing rural lifestylers inside and consummating sales.
Duggan has been in business only since 2001 and only 2 years at the current location. In that time, he has consistently been the top-selling dealer of Montana tractors in a four-state region, finishing second and third for world sales in two of those years. The company also sells McCormick, TYM and Zetor tractors, Exmark and Dixon mowers, and a complete line of Stihl handheld tools.
What's behind the dealership's fast and record-setting growth? Duggan shares a few marketing tips:
Clean & Neat
"I'm fanatic about cleanliness — and it doesn't cost anything. When we built our new facility, we designed it to feel warm and comfortable. Our showroom has hardwood floors, and nice color schemes to match the equipment displays. Clean-and-neat carries over to our personal appearance, too. You won't find any dirty overalls, greasy hands, cigarette odors or old pistons made into ashtrays."
"We try to keep at least one of every model tractor that Montana makes on the lot. Rural lifestylers have been trained by big box stores to believe they don't need to wait, and we're very aware of that mentality. You can't ship a tractor overnight. If you don't have the size they want, they'll buy from the dealer who does have it. Most of them are not brand-conscious. For the same reason, we display every available size of Exmark mowers in our showroom."
Service & Delivery
"You often hear 'it's all about service,' but that's only part of the story. We provide free delivery of all tractors and equipment, and pick up any machine needing repair that can't be fixed on-site. We promise fast service and follow-through. We maintain a fleet of clean, late-model delivery trucks carrying the Duggan logos, which is also good advertising."
Shift it Around
"We try to move equipment around on the lot once a week. If potential buyers see the same thing every time they drive by, soon they won't bother to look, or think we're going out of business. But if there is something new to see, they might pull in."
Be Gender Sensitive
"I've read that 80% of the country's money is controlled by women. It's another reason to have a clean, warm, selling atmosphere. When we discuss equipment with a couple, we make an effort to talk to both parties." Located in the heart of horse country, Duggan says his customer base includes a lot of single female rural lifestylers.
"Many of our sales are cash. But nothing makes you look like a small dealer quicker than not being able to explain financing options if they're considering a loan. We work with one lender and can tell the buyer immediately how much credit will add to overall cost."