We in the farm equipment dealerships are all “called on”' by a manufacturer's sales representative. These are either independent sales representatives or employees of the brands you retail. 

These traveling reps have had many names throughout the years: factory guys, blockmen, district reps, product reps, account managers, territory managers and other names that equipment wholesalers have been called. Nearly 50 years ago, I was a “blockman,” later changed to territory manager or TM. The term “blockman” came from 2 things: #1 there were no females in the business and #2, the company put dealers in groups or blocks and assigned a salesman to organize inventory and assist dealers in retailing the products we obtained a T49 for. 

In our company a T49 was the form number on the order forms we carried to order equipment. No salesman in the company was without a T49 at arm's length. In fact, rumors were, fellow blockmen had been fired for not having these order pads and carbon paper for triplicate forms on hand. The original top sheet went to the branch office to the machinery clerk, who placed the orders on the plant after correcting mistakes (big wheels go on the back of tractors) and making sure the dealer was not on COD. The carbon copies stayed with the dealer to prove they ordered the product and of course, our files went into the box in the trunk of the hideous lease car we were provided. Our company leased cars that no one would buy or be caught dead in. If one saw a blue, 4-door 1970s Cutlass with no hubcaps, rubber band tires and the smallest engine option — that was us. 

This rookie worked out of the Memphis Branch and knew every nut and bolt and feature of every product we had in our sales arsenal. To go with that asset, I had no knowledge of the ways dealerships worked, the personalities of each dealer and then to add to the now negative balance sheet I carried, I was assigned the South Louisiana territory. This meant cajun parishes, sugarcane, rice, funny looking cows, oil/gas wells — all of which this naive Tennessee farm boy knew zilch about.

Thus, from out of a dealership, we began a TM in the farm equipment business. If you and my boss will allow it, we will relive some of the 1970s events we were a part of in some of my columns. Snakes, alligators, a salesman with a memory issue, a German dealer and other stories that kept me the laughing stock of region sales meetings. Would I do it all over if I had a choice? You bet. 

Until next time, wishing you smiles and profits beyond your banker's and those new IRS agents' expectations.

Told from the perspective of an in-the-trenches owner/operator — Tim Brannon of B&G Equipment, Paris, Tenn. —  Equipment Dealer Tips, Tales & Takeaways shares knowledge, experiences and tips/lessons with fellow rural equipment dealerships throughout North America. Covering all aspects required of an equipment dealership general manager, Brannon will inform, entertain and provide a teachable moment for current — and future — leaders within equipment dealerships.



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Editor's note: Among the long list of destroyed property in the fire was was Brannon’s diploma from Murray State University, which had been proudly hanging on the wall of his office. His alma mater heard about the tragedy, and on Tuesday, a delegation from university paid a visit to Brannon and his family at the site of the burned-out business to help undo just a little bit of the fire’s damage.

Click here to read the full story from The Paris Post-Intelligence.

Equipment Dealer Tips, Tales & Takeaways is brought to you by the Solectrac.

It’s Solectrac's mission to lead the transition to zero-emissions regenerative agriculture, and utility operations with best-in-class technology for a safer, cleaner and healthier future.


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