I met a consultant a few years ago who had no set rates. His clients paid him what they thought his time was worth. Letting others determine your income is unpredictable at best and a risk many aren’t willing to take. But, think about his confidence in the value he was providing his clients, not because he thought so, but because they thought so.

This idea came to mind when a friend told me about a recent sales experience related to used equipment. He walked into a dealership and asked about equipment he had seen listed online. The salesperson pointed to the outside lot at the back of the dealership and my friend headed out there, thinking the salesperson would follow. He didn’t. My friend inspected the equipment and came back in to talk to the salesperson. When he said that he was interested in learning more about the machine, the salesperson just repeated the information in the ad. My friend could have pushed the salesperson for more information, but why put in more effort?

Now, equate that interchange with a monetary value. If you were the customer, how much would you pay for that expertise? Or, think about the owner of that dealership. Is he getting his money’s worth from his sales team?

We talk often about how your expertise sets you apart from the big box stores or the dealership across town. Put that expertise to the test and try to quantify it:

1. How much money can you save a customer in the long run — not from a manufacturer promotion — but by matching the right equipment the first time, based on their acreage, budget and long-term plans?

2. How much money and hassle can you eliminate by going through the service manual and highlighting “must-dos?” Then, how much in repair costs can you help them avoid with proper maintenance?

3. And, put a value on making a dream become a reality, one where a customer can both manage and enjoy their acreage?

Having good answers to questions like these changes the buying experience from customer vs. salesperson to customer vs. rural lifestyle consultant. This perspective is not a gimmick. It’s a way to make sure that every hour you spend with a customer provides information they think is valuable enough to pay you for it — and memorable enough that they’re willing to pay you the next time they need equipment. 

Lynn Woolf,
Managing Editor
Rural Lifestyle Dealer