Previous Installment:
In Part 1, Clements explains ways to make your showroom feel more like home and give customers a sense of comfort when entering your store.

Your outside display area should take a similar approach as detailed in Part 1 about creating a sense of comfort and home. While it’s important to have as much equipment displayed as possible, set aside an area that you can use specifically to showcase products.

The goal is to select an area that will serve as your outside showcase, where you will display equipment that is “maxed out” when it comes to accessories. Most customers won’t purchase a vehicle that has every option or accessory, but they will buy more if presented with equipment that has it. I encourage my dealers to create a special place, such as a nice green space so that the equipment stands out.

We live in a highly visual world and many customer surveys highlight the impact a dealership’s appearance has on a customer’s decision to turn into the driveway. In other words, the look of your business is as important as any other component of your business.

The physical appearance of your dealership does matter, significantly. More than two-thirds of customers say they have avoided a place of business based on its external appearance. Consumers decide whether or not they will shop at your dealership based on its presentation from the road.

The owner has to make the decision to invest in keeping the exterior of the dealership updated, but it’s the job of every employee to make sure things are kept up.

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Using Signage to Showcase

The most important aspect of an outdoor sign is to grab someone’s attention — almost like a magnet pulling a customer toward the store. The more recognized the name, the more people that will be attracted to your dealership. Branding your dealership will ingrain your name into the minds of your customers, making them feel comfortable and secure working with and purchasing products from you.   

Bringing your dealership name and brand together creates a strong and powerful combination in your local community. You and those in your dealership are on the “front line” for your products sold. What you do, how your dealership looks, and how your customers are treated reflect on you and your dealership. And, those efforts also reflect on the brands and the thousands of manufacturer employees that ensure the products provide years of satisfaction and reliability.

Your sign is more than just a sign. It’s a commitment, a contract with your customers that by coming into your dealership they can expect to be “wowed.” They will be treated as honored guests and taken care of in a way that no other dealership or manufacturer will take care of them. The sign tells them they have come home to a place where it is safe to ask questions and the employees will serve their needs.  

Signs serve three main functions:

  1. They inform people of the brands you carry and who you are.
  2. They encourage people to stop in, buy things and ask for help in parts, service or sales.
  3. They engage people in the products we carry.

Have signs on and around your equipment that let the customer know it’s OK to touch it and try it out. There is nothing that will break if a customer touches it, so encourage them to do it.

Once they are looking at a piece of equipment, show them how to start it and check the oil and fluids. This starts the process of making them think like owners. Why do you think car dealers encourage people to do test drives or people who sell guitars get them in the hands of people who want to be rock stars? They are encouraging them and engaging them and that is what makes sales happen.

Using Pricing to Showcase

How you display your equipment is important and it’s also important to make sure to price the equipment. Many dealers feel that putting a price on their equipment gives the competition an advantage, you will find the opposite is true.

Many of your customers look at your equipment when you are not there, such as on Saturday afternoons and Sundays. By having a price on your equipment, you help your customers prequalify themselves for what they want and can afford.

Make sure to add a sentence in bold type that says, “Ask us about our special pricing.” By adding this to the price, you are communicating that you have some flexibility off the suggested prices.

Leveraging the Brand

Companies spend tens of millions of dollars to create an awareness of their products and their dealerships. To leverage those millions of dollars, it’s important to showcase your main product line as part of your total product offering. While you may sell brands that compete against that one line, it’s crazy not to take advantage of the power that a brand can bring to your dealership.

Does it take time to create an environment in your dealership that draws new customers in and makes them want to buy from you? Sure it does, but it’s worth it. It’s a commitment to step away from the crowds of average dealerships and to treat both current and new customers in a way that honors them and makes them feel a part of a family that is anxious to have them home.

One of the most important things you can do in your dealership is to create a different experience for both current and new customers than other dealerships in your market. Begin today by creating a welcoming environment that entices people to come into your store and try out your products.