What changes could your suppliers make that would produce the biggest impact on your dealership’s bottom line?


A. “Many suppliers’ salespeople only relate to those who order the equipment and not those who sell it. We are a multi-store dealer and what happens is the salespeople work with those who place orders, but they never get to our people who talk to the customers. When times are rushed, our salespeople may not have been told about a new piece of equipment or what it is for. It is a serious lack of communication. A knowledgeable, enthusiastic sales force will empty your cart!”

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

A. “Some suppliers offer deals to online customers that are better than what they offer to a dealer. If an online offer of free freight or accessory is available, a dealer should also be able to get the same offer. While most customers are willing to pay a bit more to buy at the dealership, some online deals offer the equipment at an even lower price than my dealer cost.”

— Mike Bibby, Fernbridge Tractor & Equipment, Fernbridge, Calif.

A. “Longer floorplan terms at 0% would make the biggest impact on our bottom line.”

— Steve Harry, Harry Implement, Ferney, S.D.

A. “Suppliers should make products that stand up and do not break down in the first year. We have had many products that fail within the first year and the makers of the products do not know how to fix them. We, as the dealer, end up having to come up with the fix and often do not get paid full warranty labor to do it! Meanwhile, we have to let the customer use one of our units and this costs us.”

— Jan Schraufnagel, Schraufnagel Implement, Lomira, Wis.

A. “I would have to say delivery freight included in the cost of the unit and warranty repairs in-line with shop rate and time frame.”

— Chelsey Gilkie, VanOostrum Farm Equipment, Port Williams, Nova Scotia

A. Manufacturers must remember that in the equipment business weather trumps all! This year, we are losing big $$ every day because we have no equipment to sell. We have sold equipment back orders out until October and our showroom is empty. We are losing additional sales of approximately $50,000 per week.

Stop changing retail programs multiple times a year. Have 2 programs, 1 for in season and 1 for off season. It takes too much administration time to update programs 10-20 times a year.

Stop changing models every year. Keep the core lineup of equipment the same for at least 4 years. This would help tremendously in managing our inventory. We will stock more units if we know the equipment isn’t changing constantly.

Early order and volume programs should reflect different floorplan terms. The larger manufacturers are putting too much non-revenue administration costs on their dealers. We are expected to do all of the manufacturers’ administration jobs.”

— Melanie Leckler, Leckler’s, La Salle, Mich.

A.“The biggest changes that would make the most impact to my dealership would be marketing and product availability.

This year we’ve seen a drastic increase in tractor sales above our planned forecasting and inventory levels that exceeded prior year sales, but the inventory was not enough to satisfy the growth due mainly to increased consumer confidence and above average winter storms. Additional corporate inventory or relocating inventory to dealers exceeding growth expectations would be mutually beneficial to growing my business as a dealer and the parent companies.

The number 1 change that would make the most impact for my rural lifestyle customers would be better marketing. A more focused national advertising program that can help me locate these customers and find the prospects would help direct my marketing efforts better.

I see huge growth potential with the rural lifestyle customer if we can get marketing support for this market. It’s as easy to sell 10 $20,000 tractors as it is to sell one $200,000 tractor and I’ve added 9 additional customers to my business. But marketing dollars seem to get gobbled up first by selling the high-cost machines.”

— Doug Vahrenberg, Vahrenberg Implement, Higginsville, Mo.