Now is a perfect time of year to rethink your dealership’s showroom and merchandising strategy. Baby Boomers and Millennials are becoming larger segments of the rural lifestyle dealer customer base and their purchase decisions are influenced by your brand as well as the layout and overall appearance of your showroom and outside displays.

Branding is one of the most important elements of any dealership. In the past, dealers tended to let their manufacturer’s brand be their brand. Today, things are different. Your customers have instant access online to your competitors, so you need to develop a brand that’s specific to your dealership to pull them into your store.

Let’s face the facts, the biggest competitor in a dealer’s market today is another dealer selling the same brand. Manufacturers are doing a great job of getting customers to consider their brand. However, dealers are struggling to separate their dealership from the dealership 40 miles down the road, which is selling the same equipment. Think about what your own personal brand is, make sure it is promoted in your store, on your website, and in all of your marketing.

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Showcasing Equipment

While there is nothing wrong with displaying your equipment in a nice straight line, it is important to think about showcasing several pieces of equipment. This will help a potential customer experience the equipment, not just walk by it.

Consider the strategy the home furnishing store IKEA takes. If you have never visited an IKEA store, I would encourage you to find one near you and spend a few hours walking through and observing how they showcase products. IKEA has mastered the art of showcasing what you can do with their products, regardless of your budget or the space you are trying to decorate.

If you don’t have an IKEA store nearby, walk around a large auto dealership. Look at their lot and showroom and see how they are displaying cars today. There will be lots of vehicles lined up and ready for a test drive and they will also showcase specific model. These models will highlight all the benefits you would receive by owning them.

The showroom will likely display 3 or 4 different models at different price points, loaded with options and accessories. For instance, they might display a car that has a base price of $20,000, but is loaded with options to move the price to $30,000. Signage will encourage customers to check out the car and sit inside.

“The days of showrooms being crammed with products are gone…”

Your showroom might not be big enough to showcase 3 or 4 different fully loaded models, but your outside display area likely is. Think about how you might highlight a few units using flags, lighting and signs to attract your new customers to that specific display area. It will give customers a great sense of what you have, regardless of whether or not they are looking for that kind of machine.

Maximizing Your Showroom

Finally, consider your showroom. Regardless of the size, your goal is to maximize the impact it has on Boomers and Millennials. Reduce clutter, brighten lighting, and refresh the color schemes of walls and furniture. The days of showrooms being crammed with products are gone. Today’s customers want more room, great signage, tablets for interacting with products, and a place they can sit down and think. 

Your inside showroom displays should be similar to how you highlight equipment outside. Have signage that encourages your customers to get on the equipment, walk around the equipment, open up the equipment up, and look at the engine.

Encouraging Interaction

Make your showroom a place that is interactive instead of static. And, having a showroom that is kid friendly is especially important. A successful rural equipment dealership is inviting to all family members, whether it’s Boomers bringing in their grandchildren or Millennials bringing in their kids.

It might take some time and energy to rethink your dealership’s strategy for attracting and retaining this valuable group of potential customers. That time and energy is well spent as it will add valuable dollars to your dealership’s bottom line for years to come.