Sunday, June 12, 2016

It Just Doesn't Matter

   One of my favorite movie scenes is Bill Murray in the movie Meatballs, giving a motivational speech the night before the final day competition against Camp Mohawk.

Why I bring this up, is this past week, while preparing for some meetings, I was analyzing some of the support we do as a company throughout the year. To say it was eye opening, is an understatement.
When you add up all the professional organizations and their events over a year, it can total up to a big number quickly.
So what does this have to do with the Meatballs speech? For me, it has always been an unanswerable question of, " does it matter from a business perspective if you do or do not support the associations of the turf industry?" The tag line of, "we support those who support us", has been repeated over and over for years at meetings. But does someone buy from me rather than a competitor because of my support level? Does it play a part in the purchase process?
Trying to quantify the return on your investment is not an easy number to come up with.
In the end, it just doesn't matter because it is the right thing to do.


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

No Handbook

       There is one thing that I have learned in my social media experiment and that is there is no handbook. I started this, a few years ago, on a career advancement/change basis. The change came without even one little bit of the social media efforts being a part of the equation. Go figure? Everything you read is telling you must have a social media footprint to matter in the business world.  But depending on what customers you talk to, it is a good thing or a complete waste of time.
Maybe the use of social media will make you first on their mind when a need arises or even better, it makes you look technically advanced, but only to the guys who like using it. There are also pitfalls of too much information. We had a customer touting how great a demo of a mower was at his club on Twitter. The next day a competitive sales rep showed up looking to demo his unit. While I would love to post a video of a demo doing something extra ordinary, I also need to be careful not to give away the location. Sad but true.

      I have some people who will reference something I have posted or tweeted. I have some others who absolutely have a strong opinion of my efforts. What I sometimes struggle with is posting information and the tone being misunderstood. Just like a text, it can always be perceived, not in the way you had hoped. So now make your stuff interesting or funny, but don't offend any one or come off like a jerk. Easy, right?

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Partners With The Pigs


       This past spring we were lucky enough to enter into a partnership with the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. The Iron Pigs are the Phillies AAA affiliate. They are one of the top teams in attendance, in the minor leagues, for good reason. When you walk into the stadium, you can instantly see how strong they are at marketing.

       Our first event was this past Wednesday. We were able to place some of our equipment on the warning track, for a customer field day. Ryan Hills, the Director of Grounds, could not have been a more gracious host! After having an extra inning game the night before, he was happy to spend time with the group, talking about his pre-game field preparations. From showing the use of a turbine blower to blow up the tarp to clear the water, to the application of Pro's Choice Rapid Dry, it was all very interesting to the turf managers in attendance.

      Thank you to Ryan Hills and the Iron Pigs for a great day! Even with some tough weather, it still was a special opportunity. I know for my son, who was one of a few kids to join us, he was pretty excited to have a chance to be on the field. After removing all of our equipment from the warning track, he hand raked the entire track. Once we got home, he was asking about where the closest stadium was to our home that he could work.

     My son Pete raking the warning track after the field day and before the game

Ryan Hills, Director of Field Maintenance for the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, talks to our group about field maintenance practices
The Turfco Torrent Blower being used to get the water off the trap 


Sunday, April 10, 2016

What Is The Magic Number?

       Not sure when it happened, but in recent years, the buying process has changed on larger equipment purchases. While nothing is an absolute, it is interesting how often it becomes about the final number vs. what unit was the preferred choice. For me, the magic number is right around $150K. It is when more people are involved in the process, at the club, and how much you want to justify your preference. I can't count how many times I have heard the statement, " I am just happy to get something!" It is easy to understand why you would feel this way.
Many clubs have held back on capital purchases over the past eight years. It has happened to multiple clubs that they just cannot wait any longer to replace some equipment that is well past it's shelf life. It makes you wonder, when the club buys new stoves for the kitchen or purchase new carpet, is it low bid that wins or who has the best product for the need?

Monday, March 28, 2016

Super Support

       This past week, we had all our main vendor representatives in town for meetings and to travel with our salesmen. The week started off with some talks to review the new products and updates for this coming season for each product line. We are very lucky to have some incredible people to work with. It is amazing how they all have great passion about their products and believe they are selling the best. Getting someone like Chuck Hicks from Redexim or Chris Francis from Turfco out into the field to demo a unit for customers is truly something to watch. The guys know their product inside and out and are excited to be showing you why they think it is better than the competition. You have to wonder if the ability to focus specifically on a smaller product line is an advantage.

Thanks to Mark Pena from Jacobsen, Andy Barone from Ventract, Steve Johnson from Smithco, Chuck Hicks from Redexim & Chris Francis from Turfco for great week!

Chris Francis talking about the advantages of the Turfco 1550 Topdresser

Chuck Hicks in his happy place...Running the Verti-Drain Bullet


Sunday, March 6, 2016

If We Are Not Making Money, We Are Making Change

       To me, one of the legends of the turf business, is Tom Hurst. I feel very lucky to consider Tom one of my mentors and friend. When I got to work with Tom, it was a bunch of years ago, and Philadelphia Turf had picked up Bernhard Grinders. That was where I got the chance to really get to know him. Tom's opinion is something I value. It is an interesting twist that he had spent the majority of his career working at Lawn & Golf.
       Recently, when I spoke with Tom about some changes in personnel and territories that I had made, he had a great line, "If your not making money, your making change." Tom said this was a comment his first boss used to make. It is a great quote.
       Change is never easy, especially when sales are trending in the right direction. It has caused many nights of lost sleep over what is the right thing to do. It absolutely helps to have people whom you consider mentors, who have been through it before and for that I am very grateful!


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Ain't No Party Like A West Coast Party

       To quote the great philosopher Collio, "Ain't no party like a west coast party 'cause a west coast party don't stop!". The week of the 2016 GIS would be tough to find issue with. San Diego weather was about as close to perfect as it can get and lets not forget all the great locations throughout the Gaslamp section. Reading some of the wrap up statistics on Turfnet this past week, it looks like the vendor/booth space is back to where it was before the 2009 crash.
       The week started out great for Lawn & Golf Supply Company, with being awarded the Domestic Distributor of the Year by Turfco at the Turfco-Smithco training event! We are very lucky to have Chris Francis as our factory rep. He does a great job supporting us! Then Wednesday & Thursday the trade show was well attended from our area.

Take a ways from the show for me:
-San Diego has great weather and an unbelievably large homeless population.
-Many manufacturers have reinvested and there will be plenty of new products coming out this year.
-I have a much better appreciation for those who travel coast to coast more often for work. Being unable to get on West coast time was a killer
-The Electric Avenue area of the show with real turf and the opportunity to run new electric powered products was very cool idea

Matt Shaffer & Robert Smith of Merion Golf Club discuss how they work together during an on the floor GCSAA education session

First Day traffic

Domestic Dealer of the Year Award from Turfco!

Product training at the Turfco-Smithco event

Electric Avenue