Deciding the best way to get your products to market is an important decision for any company. Utilising the direct approach may result in higher margins, but appointing dealers allows the customer to make better use of time by seeing less people. However, a dealer network must be fruitful for both parties involved; manufacturers must be assured that their brand and products will be presented effectively whilst dealers must be confident the products they are adding to their portfolio are correct for their business and prospective clients. Martin Lucas, sales director at GreenMech explores the benefits of utilising a nationwide and international dealer network for their range of wood chipping products.
The manufacturer’s viewpoint – Martin Lucas: As an outward face to the industry, the importance of the dealership network is immeasurable. With continued investment in training and support our dealers are an extension to our business and bring with them local contact and support to a field of machines that runs into many thousands. In the UK we currently have 18 dealers running through 34 depots. This gives GreenMech products access to a wide geographical area and means that a prospective client should be within a reasonable distance of access to a GreenMech product and a dealer with knowledge and expertise of the range. Each dealer has a good size area which should yield enough business to support the level of investment made. When we come to make a decision on appointing a new dealer, there are two main considerations; the level of machines that are in the field, be it GreenMech or our competitors, and the level of enquiries that we get or perceive we should get given the demographics. Over recent years, the criteria we use to select a dealer has changed largely due to the ‘no burn’ regulations that has seen our client base becoming larger and more diverse. Our A-Z of users is a very different picture today from 10 years ago. To find a dealer that has an understanding of all of their needs is difficult, however, we have found that the groundcare dealers tend to be those that have a good day to day working relationship with many of them.
We also have an international dealer network which operates very differently from what we’re used to in the UK. Here the majority of our dealers are of a size that will support a good area and are happy to invest in it. However, in most European countries the dealers tend to be quite small and can be risk adverse to investing, therefore most of our International partners operate as distributors who will look after a number of smaller dealers. Our international network is still growing and it is our intention to sign new dealer or distribution agreements with at least 2 more partners this year. Our most recent addition to the network is with Riversa in Spain. They support a network of dealers from 5 depots and one warehouse and are the distributors for Toro, Avant, Club Car and New Holland compact tractors amongst others. For some time now GreenMech have been number one in Spain and when our existing distributor closed his business we were approached by several companies, one of which was Riversa. We are really excited to be working with them and they have already secured some good orders.