Big Valley Tractor of Stockton, Calif., had to come up with a strategy to convince farmers to take a chance on a new tractor line and Brian Lagorio, sales manager, turned to harvest rentals. “The first thing we did was to really go after the farmers with the harvest rental program, which is really a paid demonstration. As the growers started seeing the dependability and the price, they started purchasing them," Lagorio says.
“The rentals that came back in were then right for the homeowners and the ‘sundowners,’ who were looking for a more affordable way toward tractor ownership. So from a nonexistent market share, we achieved a superior market share in about 6 years. In the first 8 years, we sold over 1,500 units,” Lagorio says. The rental tractors are generally only rented for a season and return to the dealership with low hours, so Big Valley Tractor is able to maintain a good margin when selling them to rural buyers and they still qualify for Kubota’s programs and warranty. About 85% of Big Valley’s tractor inventory is in the rental program. The dealership achieves a 1.2 inventory turn rate on wholegoods.
Referral incentives have been another successful sales strategy. Early on, Lagorio began rewarding customers with a $100 in-store credit if they gave a referral that resulted in a sale. Over the course of 2 years, one customer had 18 referrals that he then applied toward an attachment. Within 5 years, the dealership was achieving more than 20% referrals. “When you start seeing the referrals, you know you’re doing something right. It became a big part of our business and that’s when we really took off and grew,” Lagorio says.
Read more about Big Valley Tractor and how they earned Dealership of the Year.