It’s time for your midyear check-up. Or, depending on your dealership’s performance, maybe it’s time for a tune-up? Let’s crunch some numbers and see if 2013 is delivering what you hoped.
Generally, the economy is better than last year, but slowing slightly this summer. Nationally, June housing starts were more than 10% ahead of June 2012, but not as good as May — down 10%. However, my nearest metro area, Wichita, Kan., set a remarkable pace for housing starts since January at 46% ahead of the same timeframe in 2012. Perhaps your area is experiencing similar growth.
The Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI), another economic indicator from Creighton Univ., shows a rating of 57.3 for July, down from June’s 60.5, but well ahead of last July’s 47.3. The index ranges between 0 and 100 with 50.0 representing growth neutral.
Let’s look at other numbers more specific to the rural lifestyle equipment market. In our 2013 Dealer Business Trends & Outlook survey, nearly 40% of dealers expected revenue to be 2-7% ahead of 2012. Is your dealership seeing that kind of growth?
If it’s not, see how you compare with those dealers who weren’t as positive at the start of the year. About 8% of dealers thought revenues would decline 2-7%.
You might be right in line with those dealers who are experiencing good growth. However, if you’re not, take a look at your sales numbers for these 5 equipment groups. Dealers thought that these five products had the most potential for growth:
1. Tractors less than 40 horsepower
2. Zero-turn mowers
3. Rotary cutters
4. Utility vehicles
5. Tractors 40-100 horsepower
This midsummer timeframe offers you a chance to regroup or boost your numbers further. Manufacturers are still offering summer promotions and fall promotions are right around the corner. Consider tailoring your promotions and sales pitches around those 5 popular equipment categories.
It’s a balancing act to start the year with a plan and then make the necessary adjustments throughout the year. Heritage Tractor, a dealership I’ve been following this year for our “Season-to-Season” series, takes this approach.
“From a sales point of view, it’s important to look at trends. You can’t look at just month to month or even year to year, but about how your business is trending,” says Derick McGhee, Heritage’s integrated solutions manager. “We focus largely on specific model segment growth, market share and gross margin trends. These metrics truly allows us to forecast and measure our business.”
The days can be long this time of year, but carve some time away from selling and servicing to see if you’re moving forward, not just keeping busy.