A Rural Lifestyle Dealer Staff Report

2018 was a big news year for the rural equipment market, including a few bombshells. The Rural Lifestyle Dealer team works to track down the news and stories that matter most to you as well as connect you to industry influencers. And, our digital team of Rachel Hanrahan, Michelle Drewek and Laura Vietmeyer work behind the scenes to get you information quickly through our website, e-newsletters and social channels.

Here’s a look at some of our top stories from this past year, but we also wanted to start the new year with a thank you for being loyal, engaged readers. Your comments and industry insights help us uncover news, product developments, trends and issues. We value your feedback and input, so keep those comments, emails and calls coming.

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 creates a running list of the top trending stories to give you a quick view, every day, of what’s happening in the industry. And, if you’re not a subscriber to our digital content, go to the Subscribe tab at www.RuralLifestyleDealer.com.

Most Viewed Print Article: The UTV Buying Experience: Which Dealerships Do It Better & Why

Utility vehicles are one of the market’s most promising product categories. They reach across numerous demographics and market segments and offer manufacturers dozens of ways to carve out their own niche.

However, the process of selling and buying UTVs has distinct challenges related to the converging of the outdoor power equipment and powersports markets, says Fran O’Hagan president of Pied Piper Management Co. The company released the first-of-its- kind prospect satisfaction index for the U.S. UTV industry. BRP’s Can-Am brand ranked No. 1 among 19 manufacturers. Kawasaki and Honda ranked second and third, while Bobcat, Kubota and Textron were tied for fourth.

“Our advice to the manufacturer is that the retailers need to have a very simple sales process in writing. I’m talking maybe 3-5 steps, something that’s easy for salespeople to remember,” O’Hagan says.

Most Viewed Online Feature: Mani Iyer Talks About His Time as Mahindra North America President & CEO

Mani Iyer resigned in October 2018 after serving as president & CEO of Mahindra in North America since 2009. Iyer led the company’s trajectory, growing from 236 dealers when he took over as president to nearly 550 dealers.

The growth was not without some discontent, expressed by dealers in the Equipment Dealers Assn.’s annual Dealer-Manufacturers Relations survey. In this exclusive interview with Rural Lifestyle Dealer, Iyer talks freely about the company’s fast growth, what he might have done differently and many other topics.

The feature also includes comments from Viren Popli, the new president & CEO of Mahindra North America and Richard Johnson of J5 Tractors, chair of Mahindra’s Dealer Advisory Council. Read an excerpt starting on page 24 .

Most Viewed Blog or Editorial: Opposing Views on Automatic Inventory Replenishment

Dealers were in touch with Rural Lifestyle Dealer about Mahindra North America’s new automatic inventory replenishment program. The company’s goal was to transition from annual ordering of inventory toward more of a retail focus.

One dealer shared this, “I don’t need someone managing my inventory. I can do that myself. It is one of the basic jobs of an owner/manager.”

Mani Iyer, then president and CEO of Mahindra North America, explained, “We need to move to more retail-based programs rather than billing programs. This market is so impulsive. We can’t make them wait for a tractor.”

Most Viewed Webinar: Negotiating and Closing the Sale

Industry consultant and Rural Lifestyle Dealer columnist Bob Clements says most salespeople struggle with how to bring a sale to a close without giving away important profit margins. “In most cases, they are pushovers to customers that are more skilled at negotiating than they are,” Clements says.

He shares specific ideas on how to overcome the price objections that salespeople stumble over, the importance of developing negotiation packages using service and parts, and two simple techniques that will help close most sales. 

Most Listened to Podcast: Dealing with Conflicting Personalities & Difficult Situations

In this podcast, Sara Hey, vice president of operations and business development at Bob Clements International, explains what contributes to conflicts, including differing personality types, and what you can do about it, such as understanding what motivates a person. “It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if people just did things your way, everything would be better. The reality is that you may change people for the short-term, but it’s not a long-term fix,” says Hey. 

Most Downloaded E-Book/Dealer Guide: Create a High Performance Dealership with Bob Clements: Service Department Volume 1 

Rural Lifestyle Dealer launched a series of eGuides featuring industry consultant Bob Clements. The first in the service department series was the most downloaded eGuide of the year and the series continues, addressing the sales, parts and management departments as well.

The eGuide outlines the importance of professionalism — and how to achieve it — in the service department. “Your service department employees will potentially touch more customers than just about anyone else in the dealership. This is why it’s so important that each customer you touch has a positive experience and walks away with a ‘wow’ moment,” says Clements.

Most Viewed Video: TYM Tractor Announcing Three New Value Model Families for 2019

Rural Lifestyle Dealer’s video interview with Carl Peterson, national marketing manager for TYM, topped the list of a slew of videos posted in 2018. The company introduced its three new value models, which will be available in the first quarter.

Peterson says the company first introduced economy models about 3 years ago. The new models add back in features that were requested by dealers and by customers, including third function auxiliary hydraulics, telescopic lower link arms and outside adjustable 3-point hitches.

Most Viewed Social Posts

A post from the floor of the 2018 GIE+Expo about Kubota Tractor’s entrance into the stand-on mower market was shared 114 times, had 3,169 engagements and reached 32,547 people. The SZ Series mowers, available in 36-, 48- and 52-inch widths, are equipped with Kawasaki FX and FT Electronic Fuel Injection commercial engines and Hydro-Gear transmissions; designed with a low center of gravity; and can travel up to 11 mph. Philip Song, Kubota Tractor’s assistant product manager for turf and utility vehicles, says the stand-on mowers were a natural progression from its commercial walk-behind mowers.


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. Textron Specialized Vehicles Ceases Production of Dixie Chopper, Jacobsen Zero-Turn Mowers
  2. Dixie Chopper to Move Manufacturing Out of Indiana
  3. Greenworks Expands Distribution Nationwide, Now Offering Zero-Turn Mowers
  4. Mahindra Dealers Comment on Mani Iyer’s Resignation as President
  5. Briggs & Stratton Shows Off Concept ZTR at GIE+Expo
  6. Kubota Completes Land Purchase for Future Logistics Campus, Midwest Division Office in Kansas
  7. Kubota Introduces Competitively Priced RTV-X1120 Series
  8. John Deere Releases New Lawn Tractors with 30-Second Oil Change System
  9. Kubota’s Plans for U.S. Engine Production to Include 3 New Plants
  10. Why Kubota Developed its RTV-XG850 Sidekick UTV