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The latest episode of the Rural Lifestyle Dealer Podcast series features an interview with Cleo Franklin, a senior business executive, who is retiring after 8 years with Mahindra North America. Franklin has more than 30 years in the industry, previously working for John Deere and New Holland. Cleo is now founder of Franklin Strategic Solutions,, a new global business strategy and brand management consulting company.

I’ve interviewed Cleo several times, but his retirement gave us a chance for a more candid conversation to gain his perspective on changes in the rural equipment segment.

For instance, Cleo talks about the gains and losses from dealer consolidation along with comments about working with dealers and things he should have done differently. He also covers the topics of dealer-manufacturer relationships, partnerships, customers as advocates and data-driven business.

“Being able to be in tune with real-time data allows you to become more agile and shift and turn your business on a dime,” Franklin says.

He also urges you to seek out partnerships, which will provide opportunities you won’t find going it alone.

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Intro Music: Adam Selzer - Opening Up
Interlude Music: Alialujah Choir - No Need To Know