The Memorial Day holiday is in a few days. For most rural lifestylers who are looking forward to the growing season, this means the danger of frost has passed. Your customers have spent their long, cold winter nights creating elaborate plans for growing more vegetables and redoing their landscape. They will need the equipment you're selling to make their plans a reality. For the rural consumer, being ready is crucial to making the sale.
Below, we've pulled out some selling tips from a recent "How to Sell" article about tractor-mounted rotary tillers. The original article, "Sell Today, Till Tomorrow," ran in the Spring issue of Rural Lifestyle Dealer about selling rotary tillers.
Ready in Advance
Rural lifestyle customers don’t buy rotary tillers in the winter. Most will decide to make the investment while they’re outside preparing their gardens for the new year.
It’s this cyclical, impulse-buy nature of selling rotary tillers that makes it important to order and have them assembled during the winter.
“Once the weather starts to clear, we have to get them out in front, primed and ready to go,” says Spencer Coleman of Coleman Tractor Co., with two locations in Paris and Clarksville, Tenn.
Keep a Good Inventory
“It took several years for us to figure out how to market implements — and I do believe they must be actively marketed to the rural lifestyle customer. The absolute biggest factor is stocking adequate inventory,” says Coleman. “They want a wide selection of implements that are in good shape and nicely displayed. You can’t drop them along the side of the building in the weeds, or leave them in shipping crates behind the shop. The rural lifestyler usually has an urban background, and they’re not accustomed to those conditions.”
Show Them on a Tractor
Having rotary tillers on the floor ready for delivery helps sell the equipment, but installing them on a tractor is better yet. On its lot in Rickreall, Ore., Rickreall Farm Supply displays rotary tillers and other implements mounted on the tractors it sells. “We have found that the rural lifestyle consumer wants to see what it’s going to look like hooked up to the tractor,” says Jay Hayes, sales manager for Rickreall.
Coleman Tractor puts implements on nearly every tractor on both of its lots. Between the two stores, says Coleman, there are nearly 250 new tractors in stock. When a customer calls to price equipment, they’re usually interested in a tractor. Being fair with tractor prices allows the dealer to increase profit margins on tillers.
Implements Mean Repeat Business
For Richard Straub, Tri-County Equipment, Poseyville, Ind., offering the rural lifestyler a range of implements is sometimes the best way to ensure that the customer will continue to spend money at the dealership. “The quality of these little tractors is so good and the hours they’re putting on them are so low, that you don’t see them return for anything big as far as tractor service goes. You’ve got to ensure they have a good experience with you so they’ll come back and buy more attachments. That’s your lifeline — if the customer only buys a filter and a jug of oil, you’d go broke.”
Competing Against the Big Box Store
Sticker price may be the biggest reason a box store is considered, but dealers say the game is still not lost. “We take advantage of the volume ordering discounts from the equipment manufacturers, and have found we can always beat a box store’s implement price,” Coleman says. “A customer has never come back from one of those stores with a low price that I can’t beat and still make money.”
Talk About Ease of Operation Rather than ROI
During the product demonstration, it’s important to remember that in most cases, the consumer is not making a business decision. They’re not thinking about depreciation or ROI. “You can buy a lot of tomatoes for the price of a rotary tiller,” says Straub. “If that’s the approach you take, you will lose every time. It’s better to talk about ease of operation, and how much time they are going to save in the garden.”