What's the greatest misconception about the equipment needed to maintain rural acreages and how do you address it?


“I think the most frustrating for us is a guy or gal who lets money get in the way. It’s normally not that they can’t afford what they need but just want to get by with something too light or a residential piece of equipment. Then, very soon after, they are not happy and somehow it’s our fault or the equipment’s fault for failing.

“We all know there is a reason they build heavy mowing and tractor equipment and there is a reason it costs more. Rural acreages are rough and have trees, etc., that are harder on equipment and decks take a beating. Big tires and fab decks make the job easier and they hold up.”

 Tom Rigg,
Rigg’s Outdoor Power,
Valparaiso, Ind.


“People can shop all kinds of tractors on the Internet and have no concept of the tractor’s capabilities or what the tractor even needs to accomplish. I find it’s best to get the person here, stand them in the middle of a whole bunch of tractors and start asking questions. Then, explain the capabilities for each size of tractor. Start by forgetting about new or used and just concentrate on what is the best tool for the operation. Then, try to fit the new/used/budget together.”

 Gene Saville,
Lamb & Webster,
Springville, N.Y.


“One thing I have seen is that these customers usually fall into one of two categories. The first one is they have possibly too much knowledge of the equipment and, second, they have very little knowledge of the equipment. So, as you move through the sales process you need to ask the right questions and listen. By doing these two things you should get a better idea of what they want to do with the equipment and what they will need to accomplish those tasks.

"Those customers with a lot of knowledge will get you on point very quickly. They have done their homework and have an idea of what they want and need. On the other hand, those that have very little knowledge will require a longer time frame to get where they need to be.”

 Mark Foster,
Birkey’s Farm Store,
Rantoul, Ill.


“They really do not know what they need. It is a matter of asking enough questions of them to find out what they really want to do.”

 Doug Easterlund,
Midwest Machinery,
St. Cloud, Minn.


“Probably the biggest problem I have had is sizing equipment to tractors. People think that just because they have a tractor (even though it’s only 25 horsepower) they can run a 7-foot rotary mower. Seems like we have to size down quite a bit.”

 Jeff Suchomski,
Suchomski Equipment,
Pinckneyville, Ill.


“The ‘sundown’ buyer comes in with an idea of what they might like to purchase and have reached this conclusion by talking to friends and associates. As a salesman, I ask a lot of basic questions and through years of experience I try to match what I think is best suited for their needs. The casual associate of the customer only gives one side to the situation.

“It’s my job as salesperson to figure out what the other sides are and how to best suit their needs. They come in with this big idea of what they think they want and it turns out it’s way too much or they haven’t thought out what exactly they really do need. The best way is to have equipment on hand displayed with attachments matched up so they can ‘kick some tires’ and actually see what they are buying.

“Each deal is unique and requires lots of experience to meet the ever changing and demanding needs of the sundown customer.”

 Walter B. Green,
Deer Country Equipment,
Corydon, Ind.


“The greatest misconception we deal with is customers looking to purchase too small of a tractor based on price and too many dealers will sell the smaller tractor just to make the sale. To address the issue, we walk the customer through the process of what each tractor will do properly and we have customers compare specifications between brands to really see the differences. Generally, by taking the time to do this with the customer, they see that we have their best interests in mind.”

Darryl Buttar, Bob Mark
New Holland Sales,
Sunderland, Ontario


“Many customers have little knowledge of what size horsepower they need to accomplish the tasks they will assign to the tractor. Complicating the issue is the difference between older model tractors and today’s lighter weight offerings. An older model 3020 Deere, 180 Allis, 656 IH or even a 165 Massey would tackle with success about anything that needs doing in the rural setting. So, the customer gets advice from an ‘expert’ and starts shopping for a 60 horsepower tractor. Salesmen now show the customer, in many cases, a 57 engine horsepower unit as sized by many companies today. So, the customer now has a 45 PTO horsepower delivered to his dwelling and then goes shopping for a rotary cutter or implements for his ‘60 horsepower tractor.’ What is now sold to him is much too large for his tractor and dissatisfaction results.

“The correct question to the customer must now be ‘What is the model and brand of your tractor,’ not ‘What horsepower is your tractor?’”

Tim Brannon,
B&G Equipment,
Paris, Tenn.


“A lot of people are looking for a certain horsepower of tractor, but in recent years, lines have been blurred between traditional horsepower ranges with each size of tractor (small, medium and large compact, for example). Kubota offers a 33 horsepower subcompact tractor that weighs less than 2,000 pounds, while Branson offers a 31 horsepower large compact model that weighs in excess of 4,000 pounds. We explain that compact tractors come in three basic sizes and have a range of available engine options within each size. We start by asking if they currently have any equipment that they’re using at the moment, and if so, what they like and don’t like about it. This opens the door for a conversation about our trade-in program. It also helps us better understand what they’re looking for, even if they don’t speak tractor and lawn mower lingo. Then, we talk about the work they’re looking to perform with the equipment and match their needs with the most versatile equipment available that also meets their budget.

“More often than not, a little equipment education extends the budget a lot further than what they had in mind before they walked through the door. We get more requests for a tractor and loader for about $5,000! Ha. Ha.”

 Tim Berman,
Big Red’s Equipment,
Granbury, Texas


“Equipment misconceptions often start at the neighbors! Then again, many misconceptions might just start at the local coffee shop or the local farm machinery dealer with an uneducated salesperson. Tractors are built to be quite universal by design, but are often not assembled or equipped for the primary jobs at hand, but just one part of the tasks needed.

“It often is the first person to address the issues of use that sets the stage for everyone else and many salespeople just price what they are asked rather than take the time to listen as to why they need it.”

 Art White,
White’s Farm Supply,
Central New York