What factors do you take into consideration when deciding to add a new product or brand to your mix?


A. “The first thing to consider is the impact the new line will have on sales of your existing line or lines. Will the additional line bring in new customers and additional business or will it compete with existing lines for the same customers? Next, you need to consider the impact that adding the line will have on your relationship with your current vendors. Finally, you need to consider what adding the new line says to your established customer base. Will it strengthen your dealership’s image and reputation or diminish it?”

— Mike McCrate, Tulsa New Holland, Tulsa, Okla.

A. “We look at whether it increases our ability to achieve 100% customer share. When we took on Bobcat, we believed the Bobcat customer would help us grow our Massey Ferguson products. Bobcat offers different products than Massey Ferguson, but the customer demographics are similar. A Bobcat customer would have some interest in Massey Ferguson products. That allows us to gain market share within Massey Ferguson products.”

— Mitch Merz, Merz Farm Equipment, Falls City, Neb.

A. “Today, it comes down to a couple of factors. What is the need for the product? Is the product option better than current options? What is the motivation to select the new option over the current offering? What will be the ‘fall out’ of selecting the new over current products? What is the potential for growth? Will the product require unique promotion? What is the ‘critical mass’ for the product (sales/year/inventory)? What is the aftermarket impact for the producer and the store location (parts and service)? Is the product available for the complete store location group? It must be ‘needs based’ for a significant number of sales and not a conflicting product to our major line.”

— Lee Rogness, RDO Equipment, Fargo, N.D.

A.“We look at the following factors: Is there a need for the product by our core customer base? Is the need long term? Will the product distract us from our core business? Can we sell/service the product with current facilities, rolling stock, tools, personnel and training? Is there sufficient volume to justify the investment? Is there adequate product support by the manufacturer? Do we currently have products that fill the need? Will the new line increase the sales volume or will the sales be in lieu of a current product?”

— Ross Morgan, H&R Agri-Power, Hopkinsville, Ky.

A. “There are so many things to consider when adding equipment to your lineup. On the plus side, new trends and possibly a more complete product lineup. Looking at it from the other side, the minus of the initial cashflow and training — the most important part of success! Every successful dealership is different and fills different needs in the marketplace. Too many brands often confuse customers as well as untrained salespeople, so even though the brand may have great recognition, it may not give you the results you expect. If there is a void in your lineup, then you have a better chance of success and it may also be a plus for your other offerings. Where it all ends depends on the driving force of the dealership’s owners as well as the employees.”

— Arthur White, White’s Farm Supply, Waterville, N.Y.

A. “Does the product complement or compete with our present product lines? Where are the current dealers located? Can the product be purchased at a big box store? Can we get parts in a very timely manner?”

— Ray Reilly, Pamlico Parts Co., Alliance, N.C.

A. “We always do our homework by researching the company and their products first. We can also get a lot of input by talking with a few of the local farmers who spend all of their time doing research on the new products. Pricing and availability are also considerations. It also would make a difference on the manufacturer’s dealer support, floorplanning, cash discounts, territory size and neighboring territories.”

— David Hanger, Lawrence Ag Equipment, Bridgewater, Va.

A. “Product support: parts availability and warranty policy. Market saturation: Is there an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage with this product? Profit potential: Does this product have the potential to have a good return on investment?”

— Bruce Novak, Martin Implement Sales, Orland Park, Ill.

A. “I know my boss looks for quality, parts and service availability, as well as track records. That being said, he is not afraid to test the waters with a line that’s new in the field. One recent example is the Avant compact wheel loader lineup, a high-end multi-use unit. We recently added this unit and it has been a very interesting item.”

— Mike Kauffman, Nolt’s Power, Shippensburg, Pa.

A. “Keeping track of and offering new products is critical to having what customers want. At least once or twice a month something new is introduced to our dealership or the marketplace. Some good, some not so good. You can’t add products too fast or you risk becoming unimportant to your existing suppliers. You also run the risk of diluting the basics of what is done at the dealership.”

—Steven DeRycke, American Equipment, Farmington, N.Y.

A. “First of all, there needs to be a gap in our current lineup for us to consider any additional new products or brands. After that it needs to be a quality product, with strong backing from the supplier for parts and service and the ability to make a decent return.”

— Mark Foster, Birkey’s Farm Store, Lafayette, Ind.

A. “Is it a branded line with customer identity? Manufacturing expertise, reputation and quality of equipment. Dealer programs, including floorplans. OEM sponsored retail financing (no dealer charges). Competitive with other brands. Margin opportunity at retail (huge difference between manufacturer suggested retail price and actual market minimum advertised price). Parts inventory requirements.”

— David Wood, Smitty’s Lawn & Garden Equipment, Olathe, Kan.

A. “One of the first hints to consider a new line is how many in-service units and parts/service requests we are receiving for the line. We will then explore the surrounding dealer network to see if an open market exists. Finally, we will check on the distributor/manufacturer for ease of dealing, floorplan programs, financing, etc.”

— Martin Flemming, County Line Hardware, Jackson, N.J.

A. “The quick answer would be the reputation of the manufacturer and reputation for supplying parts and service training. On the retail end, we are only as good as the supply line that supports the product. If we cannot get parts to service a product, it reflects on us.’”

— John Adams, Coeur d’Alene Tractor Co., Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

A. “Customer demand and profitability.”

— Bill Redman, Modern Farm Equipment, Gordon, Neb.