The DP1631 Expert Left-Handed Pruners, it’s always a delight to introduce this tool to people who didn’t know we catered for left-handed gardeners.
Damian McEvoy is the Technical Lead at Darlac and we keep him busy advising on the technical performance of the tools we design. He has a wealth of knowledge gained from years working with Darlac, and so one of the jobs he undertakes for us is to spend time training garden centre sales people to help them advise their customers on the best Darlac tool for the job.
We take our pre- and post-sales care very seriously at Darlac. We have a reputation for good quality tools that retails at a fraction of the price of some of our more expensive competitors. The cut in price doesn’t come at the expense of quality of performance though, which is another value we hold dear. Our Technical Lead, Damian McEvoy is the first person to step up and evangelise the benefits of Darlac tools, and so we thought we’d ask him to help us put together this blog to describe how he helps support our network of garden centres, hardware stores and other retail outlets through the training and advice he offers to the people running those stores.
Damian’s background as both a sales rep in the gardening industry and as a hands-on gardener using gardening tools every day on a wide range of tasks have been invaluable in helping him move into his Technical Lead role at Darlac.
Damian says of his background and how it’s helped him sell-in the benefits of Darlac tools to the retailers he comes into contact with, “I have a background in selling garden tools into garden centres as a rep, and also spent a part of my career running a gardening maintenance company. I have a good feel for what people need from their garden tools, and it wasn’t long before I realised that Darlac ticked a lot of those boxes. It was a gardener’s tool designed by gardeners!
“When visiting garden centres to deliver training and advice, I impress upon them that some of the best things about knowing the tools’ functions is that the end user (their customer) goes home with the RIGHT TOOL for the job. Good information means efficient work, which means less returns, which means less wastage. It also gains the garden centre an excellent reputation when customers realise they were given good advice!”
Since taking on the technical role, Damian has been busy out on the road training sales people in a range of garden centres, starting with Chessington Garden Centre at the beginning of February.
Of his session here, he says, “At Chessington garden centre, I gathered together five people for the first session. We spoke for about 40 minutes and covered most of the Darlac lines they carried in store. We talked about everything from the difference between a bypass and an anvil pruner to topiary shears, and spent some time making comparisons with other brands.
“I like to think everyone gained some useful information, but I’m under no illusion that it’s easy to take on board such a lot of detail in one session, so I’m satisfied if they at least felt more enthusiastic as I passed on the confidence I have in the brand.
“By the second session many of the younger members of the team were getting involved in the workshop which was great to see. I always try to make the knowledge I share easy to remember and I think my ‘Five Tools for New Gardeners’ tag works well for this. The manager stayed behind after we’d finished and talked about the usefulness of a workshop like this for shop floor staff; it’s a great way to improve sales, apart from anything else. So I shall be back later in the season ahead of gardeners preparations for the winter and the following year!”
Next up for Damian was a selection of 4 garden centres in Lancashire; Parkers Garden Centre in Macclesfield, Birkacre Garden Centre in Chorley, Barton Grange Garden Centre in Preston and Summerseat Garden Centre in Bury. Although the temperatures outdoors were chilly and the UK was in the brace of a series of storms, Damian took the opportunity to get out and about whilst garden centres were still relatively quiet.
We’ll let Damian describe his packed itinerary in his own words, “It’s still dark when I leave at just after 5am and I’m glad of the heated seats in my car, I arrive just after 10am and Richard, the area sales agent, takes me to our first appointment at Parkers of Mottram. We had a great chat with the sundries manager and he later fed back how useful he had found it. Whilst we were there, we even got chatting to a Darlac customer who had come into store. She had read about a weeding tool (the DP538) and wonders if she can buy one, and so of course, she got the five-star sales treatment from us!
Birkacre is next and there are six people waiting to talk to us there. The six staff come and go as the demands of the shop dictate, but all in all another good session, with some helpful info passed on.
Driving further north up to Barton Grange we negotiate the M6 – a well-known route from our days exhibiting Darlac at the Southport Flower Show – and we arrive early afternoon for our next appointment. The staff there include a left-handed gardener, and so it’s the perfect opportunity to show them our left-handed tools range. I always love the surprise and pleasure on a person’s face when they find out years of working with awkward tools is about to change!
A most satisfying day comes to a close so I overnighted at a hotel, and then was up again nice and early the following morning for a workshop with Summerseat Garden Centre. Meeting with four staff members, some of whom are completely new to gardening and others who have years of traditional gardening experience under their belt was a fun challenge to rise to! It was almost two hours before our session here ended, marking the end of my tour of the north.”
At Darlac, we pride ourselves on being Cutting Tools Experts, and we care about the post-sales support we offer all of our retailers. If you would like some training support, then get in touch with your area sales agent in the first instance.