We sat down with Todd Bachman, president and CEO of Florida Coast Equipment LLC, a 6-store Kubota and Land Pride dealer in West Palm Beach, Fla., and got his thoughts on key factors driving buying habits, what the most innovative equipment advancements have been in the past decade, and more.
Rural Lifestyle Dealer: What key factors are currently driving buying habits in the market?
Bachman: We’re seeing a mass migration back to the rural lifestyle, even just for the weekend. People seem to be leaving cities for the countryside and outdoors. We’re seeing people looking for a way to unplug and enjoy their acreage with a tractor that has 70 horsepower or less or a utility vehicle.
RLD: What is one piece of advice that you’d give a younger version of yourself just entering the business?
Bachman: Your people matter more than anything. At some point, you as a person run out of horsepower, so you have to have a fleet of people around you who can deliver the experience you want to deliver. Yes, customer needs are really important, but you’ve got to take care of your people. Pay them well, give them the resources they need and train them before they can ever take good care of a customer. You can’t deliver the customer experience without people.
Todd Bachman is the president and CEO Florida Coast Equipment, a 6-store Kubota dealership based in West Palm Beach, Fla.
RLD: What is a good habit that you’ve put effort into building?
Bachman: I have two. First, paying attention to what’s going on in the world around me. I try to start every day with 5-10 minutes of news — whether that’s ag related or even Googling another manufacturer. The world and customer demands are changing so quickly, so we’ve got to be on the cutting edge. The second piece is that, like most people, I got into this business through sales, so I talk too much. I need to listen more — you can understand people’s beliefs and intentions if you listen. It’s a very hard thing to do.
RLD: Are you seeing any shifts in brand loyalty?
Bachman: I’m a Kubota guy, but John Deere is king because of brand awareness. Deere is one of the top 5 most recognized brands in the world. When first-time buyers go to buy a tractor, traditionally, they’re Googling John Deere. If you can become part of the conversation during the research period, then the brand loyalty isn’t as strong as it used to be. In production agriculture, I think brand loyalty is dying and on life support at this point.
RLD: What is your outlook on the outdoor power equipment market for this year and beyond?
Bachman: If you look at the growth, there is incredible sales volume running through all dealerships right now. However, that can’t go on forever. If you look at the fundamentals, it looks great. I wake up with the glass half full every day. I don’t see the hiccups that I’ve seen in the past. I think there is a correction coming at some point. For now, if you can get it, you are able to sell it.
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