What do I, dealer principal Chris Wackman and a cartoon beaver have in common? We all have “face value.” Allow me to explain.
This week, I was down in Waco, Texas, to visit Kubota dealer WCTractor, who has been named Rural Lifestyle Dealer’s 2024 Dealership of the Year. I was excited, not only because this was my first time giving out the award myself, but to a lesser extent, because I’d never really experienced Texas before. As I set out from the Dallas airport and headed south toward Waco, I couldn’t wait to see what the drive had to offer.
Cut to 90 minutes later, and my wife calls to see how my trip is going. I responded that I had never seen so many billboards for a gas station in my entire life. I am, of course, referring to Buc-ee’s billboards. I was vaguely aware of this string of massive gas stations and the status they had in the South and was only just now understanding how large its presence was. I saw probably 20 billboards advertising that there was a Buc-ee’s in Temple, Texas, on that drive. Every single billboard featured their iconic beaver mascot.
The sheer number of billboards has guaranteed I will never forget about Buc-ee’s or my time visiting one — they are impressively large, if not a bit overwhelming. The beaver’s face is burned into my brain. This is the power of good advertising and the value in getting a literal face in front of potential customers.
During our visit, I learned that WCTractor has taken a similar approach with its own advertising, putting Wackman’s face on some of its billboards. Wackman told me during my visit that he’s been approached in public by folks who know his face from those signs. These interactions build the company’s brand and add a human element the dealership might not otherwise achieve.
Chris Wackman featured on a WCTractor billboard
To these people, WCTractor isn’t just a dealership. It’s Chris Wackman’s dealership, and he shook their hand in line at the gas station when they recognized him. When they need a tractor, they’ll think of him and those signs.
I’ve experienced this myself to some degree. At the 2023 Equip Expo in Louisville last year, while I was visiting Bobcat’s booth, a gentleman walked up to me and shook my hand, having recognized me from Ag Equipment Intelligence’s twice monthly newscast On The Record. This man — Mac Payne — was the Tractor and Mower Market Specialist for Bobcat dealer Berry Companies and that interaction was the catalyst for his appearance at the upcoming 2024 Dealer Success Academy. Had I not spent the last few years getting my face out there, I might have never met Mac or had the privilege of bringing him in as a speaker.
What are you, as a dealer, doing to get your “face” into the community? Are you fully utilizing and building your “face value?”
You need not necessarily plaster your owner’s face all over billboards (though it certainly has that “wow” factor), but many dealers do a good job taking opportunities with local farm shows, highschool and community college events, etc. Shaking hands and simply showing up in your community can go a long way toward making potential customers remember you in the future when they need a piece of equipment vs. going to your competitor.
Have you found a unique way to interact with your community and get your faces out there? Tell me about it at email@example.com.
And to all our Texas readers: I must say that I prefer Wisconsin’s own Kwik Trip line of gas stations over Buc-ee’s. Feel free to email me if you disagree, and I'll be happy to discuss.