A Rural Lifestyle Dealer Staff Report

The rural equipment market is vibrant, with many of you telling us that your market has grown significantly over the last few years. That means there is lots for the Rural Lifestyle Dealer staff to cover as we keep you updated on new products, best practices, expert strategies and more. 

Rural Lifestyle Dealer’s digital media department (Michelle Drewek, Rachel Hanrahan, Joe Kuenzle and Laura Vietmeyer) tracked your viewing trends over this past year to uncover what matters most to you. The “most viewed” compilation shows that dealers were hungry for data this year — and our team delivered with stories about salary trends and costs of doing business. Other most viewed topics include hiring strategies, big box store competition, dealership marketing and management ideas and more. 

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, every day, of what’s happening in the industry. 

Most Viewed Print Article: Compensation Collective: Breaking Down the Pay-Grade Across U.S. Equipment Dealerships


Dealers continue to tell us that finding good employees is among their top concerns, so it tracks that an article related to employees and salaries ranked as the most viewed print issue article for 2017. “Compensation Collective: Breaking Down the Pay-Grade Across U.S. Equipment Dealerships,” written by Associate Editor James DeGraff, was featured in our fall issue and is the first time Rural Lifestyle Dealer has published a summary highlighting the results of the Equipment Dealers Assn.’s (EDA) Compensation & Benefits Report.

EDA collects survey data every 2 years from agriculture and outdoor power equipment dealers across North America. In 2016, EDA released a revised Compensation & Benefits Survey questionnaire to include wage data pertaining to office staff, parts, service and sales departments. 

The feature story highlighted descriptions for over 30 jobs and bonus structures. It also included additional analysis to help dealers use the data as a reference tool for hiring new employees and managing their existing teams.

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Most Viewed Online Feature: Measuring Up: Dealers Share Performance Data


Rural Lifestyle Dealer published a comprehensive analysis of the United Equipment Dealers Assn.’s Cost of Doing Business Study. The analysis, conducted by Executive Editor Dave Kanicki, found that erratic business levels in recent years have tested OPE dealers’ ability to perform. They’ve witnessed a swing in annual revenues of 31% on average between 2012 and 2016. But this wasn’t the worst of it. Between 2013 and 2015 alone, total revenues, on average, fluctuated by more than half. Fortunately, OPE dealers have seen some growth during the past 2 years.

The analysis provides valuable data to help you gauge your dealership’s own performance. The feature was broken down into 6 quick-read articles as well.

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Most Viewed Blog or Editorial: What if Walmart Started Selling Compact Tractors?

Last year, Rural King started private labeling TYM tractors and began selling models ranging from 19-55 horsepower at 7 pilot stores, with plans to sell throughout its 100-store network.

This editorial from Managing Editor Lynn Woolf offers this commentary: “You can’t blame mass retailers and manufacturers for taking advantage of a strong market. Some rural equipment manufacturers swear their allegiance to the independent dealer, while others have a history of selling through mass channel. Is it too far-fetched to think, then, that Walmart could someday offer at least subcompact tractors?”

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Most Viewed Webinar: The 7 Steps for Finding and Hiring the Right Employees 


Sara Hey

Dealers are always on the lookout for advice about hiring good employees. In the most viewed webinar, Sara Hey of Bob Clements International, offers a step-by-step process, including how to develop a job description, find candidates in non-traditional ways and interviewing techniques.

Hey says hiring the wrong employee can cost a dealership 1½ times the employee’s annual salary in just 6 months in terms of lost time from training, poor performance and other factors. “We talk about how we’re ‘walking over money’ in our parts and service departments, but the same thing comes down to our hiring as well,” says Hey. 

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Most Downloaded E-Book/Dealer Guide: Best Practices of Elite Dealerships Volume 3


This dealer guide developed by RLD’s marketing team, which includes Dallas Ziebell, Joanne Volkert and Jill Veenhuis, features a year-long profile of Heritage Tractor, a leading Midwestern dealership that serves a variety of rural and urban customers. The guide shows a behind-the-scenes look at how this elite dealership handles issues that many other dealers also face.

For instance, the dealership team shares how it develops and monitors its 5-year strategic plan, fills product gaps, boosted its online and customer-direct marketing, redesigned its website and improved efficiencies in its parts delivery processes. 

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Most Viewed Video: Mahindra North America Introduces Higher Horsepower Tractors

Rural Lifestyle Dealer attended Mahindra’s National Dealer Meeting and were there for new product introductions right alongside dealers. The company introduced more than 40 refreshed and new products, including subcompacts and higher horsepower tractors.

Ryan Pearcy, senior manager of product development for Mahindra North America, describes the features and functionalities of the new 6000, 7000, 8000 and 9000 series tractors in this most viewed video.

Mani Iyer, president & CEO for Mahindra North America, says, “We have a strategy to maintain our aggressive growth in the North American market and this new product portfolio is one of the drivers that will fuel our forward momentum.”

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Most Viewed Social Post


This “Do the Math On Propane” tweet on Oct. 21, 2017, was part of coverage about R.S. Hollinger & Sons, Mountville, Pa. The tweet referenced the Propane Education & Research Council’s online and application-based calculator for analyzing fuel costs. Contractors can set criteria, such as number of mowers and hours mowed per year, and add in the current cost of diesel, gasoline and propane.

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RLD Winter Contents