Many years ago, we had a salesman who came in with a deal proposal that was really great. After relaying the volume and profit, if all worked correctly, he started clucking like a chicken. I had a puzzled look until he explained "I am not spending the commission until this is finalized. I don't count my chickens until they are hatched."

This clucking became a part of our sales planning meetings. This reminded me of in my youth days on the farm and my own chicken experience. As a 12-year-old, my job was "getting up the eggs." We had a chicken yard and chicken house and what seemed like 3,000 chickens. Actually, it was only 30 but it seemed like the larger number. We lived off chickens, eggs in the morning, chicken recipes for lunch and dinner (supper). Fried eggs, scrambled eggs, deviled eggs, fried chicken, gizzards, livers, chicken and dumplings and more, I am sure. My mom processed them all, and I had to haul off the non-edible parts. I can still remember the smell.

My Dad drove a school bus. He had to have something to supplement the almost non-farm income. One day at the afternoon drivers bull session before school let out, he made the statement, "We have chickens but no rooster. Man, I miss the early morning rooster crowing of my boyhood." The next day someone showed up with a huge, angry, mangey, Dominicker rooster.

Dad thanked the man and into the yard it went. If one does not know what "spurring" is, you don't want to know. The rooster from hell would wait for the egg procurer and attack from the blind side and dig the spurs in even through a new pair of blue jeans. I hated the thing and he me. Then every morning at about 4 AM the hoarse, again hellish, thousand decibel crowing would commence. We slept with cotton in our ears as the chicken house was less than 100 feet from our bedroom. I hated the thing, I repeat.

Then one day, I was looking thru the Sears and Roebuck Wish Book and the page opened to a 50 pound draw, recurved, fiberglass bow with a quiver of 10 target arrows. It was expensive, but my birthday was approaching. I got the courage to ask for the set. Dad looked and said, "Hum, we'll see," to which I could not believe because it was expensive for our household budget.

My birthday arrived, and at the breakfast table were the huge bow and arrows! I had to go to school so I planned all day the execution of the male Dominicker. If I walked part of the way I could arrive 15 minutes before Dad and the yellow bus #1.

It was a perfect day. I strung the bow, took an arrow and headed to the chicken yard. The demon had a premonition as he circled the centered chicken house just ahead of me. Finally, he gave me the shot. As I released the arrow, I heard the rattling of old #1 coming down the gravel road. I missed the rooster, and the arrow plunked into the side of one of mom's prize hens. In panic mode, I tossed the bow over the fence and chased down the wounded hen, dove on the chicken liter'd ground and pulled out the arrow. The hen lived, but the rooster, in revenge mode, was now on me in full flog mode. I had the arrow by the point and used it to beat off the steed as I backed out the gate and latched it.

I then looked up and my Dad stood looking down, with his hands on his hips, shaking his head and stating, "Son, I have raised an idiot. I knew what the weapon was for. I hated the rooster too but could not get rid of it because I asked for it. I thought you could do the deed, but I come home and find you making the rooster worse by beating him with the wrong end of the arrow!"

He walked away mumbling about if I was his kid and shaking the head. Well, since I had the go-a-head, with a lucky blow from a large stick, the old rooster went to the great chicken heaven the next day. Mom processed the beast and after the meal, there were only teeth marks in the uneatable, tough meat left. The thickening gravy was the only byproduct edible.

The moral here, if there is one, is "Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan," not counting on a chicken dinner if the unit is too many days from the hatch. 'Til next time, wishing you miles of smiles and profitable sales.  

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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