The theme of this year's conferences

Stiga UK held their annual dealer conferences this week at the National Motorcycle Museum, near the NEC in Birmingham.

As well attended as ever, the company were expecting to see around 600 dealers spread across the three days. Tuesday and Wednesday (September 10th and 11th) concentrated on the Mountfield and Stiga products, whilst Thursday (September 12th) focused on the Atco machines.

Service Dealer attended on Wednesday and saw md Gary Whitney explain that the theme for the conference this year was 'Better Together'. Gary began by welcoming the delegates and thanking them for their continued business and support throughout the last year. The conference's theme, he explained, made reference to how the company and their dealers can all benefit by working closer with each other and by being closer to the customers who buy the products they sell.

To help Stiga remain close to their dealers, Gary said they were keen to hear as much feedback as possible from the dealers in attendance - feedback on the conference, on the new products featured and on wider issues they may be facing in their businesses. To this end they had set up a special email address which dealers were invited to use to voice their concerns or raise any questions they may have had. Gary made a promise to review all the correspondence over the coming week or so and give a personal response if required, with all suggestions given careful consideration.

Before the presentations of the new products for the forthcoming season, Gary introduced the team from the Plymouth HQ to the assembled dealers and gave the floor over to the new Stiga Group CEO, Sean Robinson, to say a few words. Sean had a positive message of growth and expansion plans for company, saying that he had the backing of the shareholders to push the company's product offering on - potentially into the area of professional machinery.

The dealers also heard Gary's traditional State Of The Nation address, where he gave an assessment of the past season as the company saw it. Gary's overall feeling was to describe 2019 as "a season without a punch" - which coming off of the back of the struggles of 2018, was no bad thing. Gary described the season as a "long slog up a steep hill" - but without the feast and famine of the previous year. He said, "We want to make sure our dealers remain competitive and ride out this period of uncertainty."

He spoke of keeping price rises to a minimum level and as a company always being mindful of dealers keeping their margins. 

A plethora of new new product presentations then followed. Details were given on new Stiga and Mountfield ride-ons; front mower upgrades; the 500 Series Battery System; a new electric corded range; cleaning equipment and handheld machinery.

Before everyone could get hands-on with these new launches in the showroom and out in the field, Gary rounded off the Better Together theme by talking about how the company has been working with business data analytics company, Experian. Through their vast, GDPR compliant, database of customer demographic information, Gary said Stiga would be able to offer valuable help to their dealers. Advice could be offered, he said, regarding who their potential customers might be and where best to target their marketing activities.

The day then rounded out with plenty of time for the dealers to browse the Market Place area which featured representatives of Briggs & Stratton, Kawasaki, Honda, Pollards, Aspen and uni-power - plus of course, putting the new machinery launches through their paces.

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