A Rural Lifestyle Dealer Staff Report

Over the course of a year, you’ll see thousands of bits of information. Which of these stories, videos, news posts and other content rose to the surface as being most important, as ranked by you, our dealer-readers?

Rural Lifestyle Dealer’s digital media department, our team behind-the-scenes, analyzed online statistics to uncover the trending rural equipment stories for 2016. The “most viewed” includes a mix of commentary, business strategies and industry news.

To view the original stories on www.RuralLifestyleDealer.com, enter the title in the search bar at the top of the site. You can also search using keywords. Our website technology also creates a running list of the top trending stories to give you a quick view everyday of what’s happening in the industry.

Most Viewed Print Article: Upward Trend Continues for Rural Equipment Market


Our 2016 Business Trends & Outlook Report ranked highest last year among all the stories we covered and with good reason. Revenue forecasts and sales opportunities drive the survival and future of dealerships. Dealers were willing to share what they were seeing at home and the collective answers indicated another strong year for the North American rural equipment market. Last year, more than 88% of dealers expected 2016 to be as good as or better than 2015 for total revenues and more than 90% expected aftermarket revenues to be as good as or better than 2015. (Compare the forecasts for 2017 in the feature "Rural Equipment Market Remains Strong".)

The 2016 Business Trends & Outlook Report was part of Rural Lifestyle Dealer’s special 10th anniversary issue.

Most Viewed Online Feature: 6 Positions You Need in Your Service Department


Dealership management consultant and Rural Lifestyle Dealer columnist Bob Clements shared in May 2016 how dealers can “transform an average service department into a high performance money machine.” He says all shops should fill these positions: service writer; warranty writer; shop foreman; service technicians; and service coordinator. He says the shop foreman position has largely been abandoned, which is a mistake. “For a shop to reach its highest potential, a shop foreman is a must-have position,” Clements says.

Most Viewed Blog or Editorial: Leading During a Crisis: The Shootings at Excel Industries


This Feb. 25, 2016, blog from Managing Editor Lynn Woolf highlighted the leadership displayed by Excel Industries President & CEO Paul Mullet after a tragic shooting at the company’s Hesston, Kan., facility, in which 4 employees were killed.

“No leadership seminar or book or even years of experience can prepare a company owner for such a tragedy. Mullet’s response was borne from a sense of responsibility for his employees, no matter what the situation,” Woolf says.

Most Viewed Webinar: The Secrets to Negotiating and Closing More Sales


It’s all about meeting those revenue goals and strategies from Bob Clements again ranked high with dealers in this June 2016 webinar on best sales techniques. The bottom line regarding sales, according to Clements: Don’t start negotiations until the customer has made a commitment to move forward and never negotiate with price.

Another webinar that ranked high was shared from RLD’s sister publication Farm Equipment: Drivers of the Business: Financial Metrics for the Non-CPA, which first broadcast in April 2016. Mike Hedge, a CPA and president/CEO of Birkey’s Farm Store, an 18-store dealership with locations in Illinois and Indiana, outlines key ratios and financial/capital principles dealers should be tracking as well as how basic financial statements fit together and what they measure.

Most Downloaded E-Book: Dealer Marketing Strategies


In this special report, dealers and experts share what it takes to break away from the competition. Do-Cut Sales & Service of Boardman, Ohio, reaches customers nationwide with online marketing. PrairieLand Partners of Emporia, Kan., builds community awareness and goodwill through its annual Gator Rally. And, marketing expert Lisa Bocklage from Osborn Barr, an agriculture-focused full-service marketing agency, outlines a step-by-step approach for developing a marketing plan as well as shares the importance of keeping customer data secure.

Most Viewed Video: Robert Foster Introduces the New Spartan RZ Zero-Turn Mower


This video was recorded during the 2016 GIE+Expo in Louisville, Ky. Just a year earlier, Robert Foster, founder of Spartan Mowers, unveiled his new mower line. Foster shared this with Rural Lifestyle Dealer at its launch in 2015: “The mission behind this mower was to change the turf industry by raising the bar on simplicity and functionality in a top-of-the-line mower.”

Most Viewed Social Posts


A question posed to dealers on Twitter captured the most views on that social network: “Are you prepared to be a dealership of the future?” The post included a link to a Bob Clements’ column about what he forecasts dealers will need to stay competitive in the next decade, including understanding what makes your customers loyal; in-store technology for self check-outs; and service departments that can adapt to the latest equipment.

On Facebook, the most viewed post was a video of Scott Brush, Kioti Tractor’s territory manager, sending a hello to dealers from Kioti’s booth at GIE+Expo. The video proved that authentic messages ring truer than slick marketing with social media audiences.

Top 10 RuralLifestyleDealer.com Stories

Here is a list of the top viewed news items for last year that were posted in the Industry News section of www.RuralLifestyleDealer.com.

  1. Branson Tractors’ Parent Company Being Sold to TYM, April 18, 2016
  2. Shooting at Excel Industries: 4 Dead, 14 Injured, Feb. 25, 2016
  3. Kubota Recalls Utility Vehicles Due to Injury, Collision, May 19, 2016
  4. Briggs & Stratton Loses $50 Million Patent Suit to Exmark, May 18, 2016
  5. Spartan Mowers Beats Revenue Projections by 300%, Nov. 14, 2016
  6. Cuba’s First American-Owned Manufacturer Will Make Tractors, June 10, 2016
  7. Branson’s Goal: Double Business in 5 Years, Feb. 29, 2016
  8. Kubota Corp. Expands Long-Time Partnership with Land Pride, Enters into Agreement to Purchase Great Plains, May 13, 2016
  9. Why John Deere Measures Employee Morale Every Two Weeks, May 25, 2016
  10. Massey Ferguson Launches New National Ad Campaign, ‘The Last Tractor You’ll Ever, March 24, 2016


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