Q. “What one improvement can you make to help your dealership be more successful in the next 5 years?”

A. “As the business grows, an owner needs to grow their employees with it. This means training in leadership skills, financial understanding and operational best practices. This type of training is required at multiple employee levels. With that, there needs to be employee acceptance of accountabilities in their respective positions. Many companies outgrow their employees skill sets, but this is more due to a lack of training vs. the belief that the employee cannot perform their duties.”

Trent Hummel, KeyAg Kubota, Red Deer, Alberta

A. “There is only one answer for me. I must improve how I lead my team. This is my 31st year in the business, starting at the age of 18. I now find myself, along with my wife, as managers of the dealership. I learned the business from the bottom up as most kids do in our line of work. The one thing never taught is leadership and it’s not learned through osmosis. I wish I would had learned about John Maxwell, Patrick Lencoini, Jon Gordon and others at a younger age. Along with the day-to- day tasks, I must invest time in my team. If my team is healthy, we can more than survive, we can dominate.”

Jimmy Smith, Wowco Equipment Co., Baytown, Texas

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Best Practices of Elite Dealerships Volume 4

Now is the time to see your dealership rise to the top. This report features three nationally recognized dealerships and reveals their strategies for success. These top dealership owners share their proven approaches on customer service, marketing and management. There’s a reason these dealerships have all earned Dealership of the Year status. Learn how these top businesses have radically grown their revenues and increased their market share. Download now »

A. “The quality and quantity of social media and web presence.”

Ambrose Seyller Buck Bros. Inc., Harvard, Ill.

A. “We have started the conversation with Kubota and building contractors to try to freshen up the building to follow corporate plans for the future. We also plan to expand the service shop. With our growth, we have found that the current shop is just getting too tight. In addition, redesigning the interior, from the parts department to the showroom, will make a great customer experience. Expansion will help our service, sales and parts departments work better. They will be able to get product out the door and, in turn, make the business more successful.”

Walter Steffler, Durham Kubota, Oshawa, Ontario

A. “First and foremost is treating every customer with respect. It’s a lost art in today’s business world and a policy we have adopted and require as we grow in the future. It pays for itself over and over. It beats any marketing plan or sales plan because customers want to do business with you when they are treated the way they want to be treated.

“It’s as simple as saying, ‘Thank you.’ I absolutely hate businesses that do not say thank you. When they reply ‘Have a good day’ or another closing statement, I say ‘You are welcome for my business.’ Those shocked looks are priceless. I normally am asked why I said that and I say, ‘It’s because you didn’t thank me for my business.’ Don’t overestimate the power of a simple ‘thank you.’”

Doug Vahrenberg, Vahrenberg Implement, Higginsville, Mo.

A. “One thing our industry strongly needs is for the younger generation to have interest in mechanics. In addition, the profession would be more desirable with financial backing to make it worthwhile for being a mechanic. We, as many other dealers, struggle in this area.”

Chuck Perrin, Perrin Farm Equipment, Tifton, Ga.