It’s the season for setting goals, so how about this for a suggestion: Your dealership is named Rural Lifestyle Dealer’s 2014 Dealership of the Year. Nominations are now being accepted online and by email, mail or fax. Nominations can come from anyone, including your manufacturer, an employee or customer — and even you. Here are my Top 3 reasons for why you should nominate yourself:

1. Take pride and be bold.

The nomination process includes this one main question: “Why should this dealer be chosen as Rural Lifestyle Dealer’s  Dealership of the Year?” As the leader of your company, you know your business better than anyone and know what makes you worthy.

2. Claim it to make it a reality.

It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Believe something to make it happen. Putting that goal on paper brings it one step closer to reality.

3. You deserve it. 

Summer King of Kingline Equipment in Cantonment, Fla., says this: “I would not have entered our dealership had it not been for New Holland Agriculture nudging us to do so. We certainly didn’t think we’d stand a chance.” They did. Kingline Equipment was our 2010 Dealership of the Year.

Humility is an honorable trait. However, sometimes you need to move beyond an “under the radar” or even a “nose to the grindstone” approach when you’re trying to build your reputation and expand your customer base.

“It’s easy for dealerships to get up caught up in daily activities — trying to make sales, serve customers and make sure employees are getting all the attention they need. They may not take the time to identify all the great activities they are doing to make their dealership successful and how they are contributing to the surrounding community,” says Lisa Bocklage, director at Osborn Barr, an agriculture-focused, full-service marketing agency. “Whether or not the dealership wins the award, taking the time to recognize what’s been done internally shows employees that you appreciate the hard work they do day in and day out. It helps elevate employees’ pride.”

And, here’s an “ROI” reason, you should consider seeking the Dealership of the Year award. You are featured in our fall issue as well as in a video series on, in social media and we also share the news with your local news media to let your customers and prospects know you’re an industry leader.

“It gives customers another angle of how they look at a dealership. Information may come to them through sales or marketing, but if they see the announcement in the newspaper, they can say, ‘I agree. I’m proud to do business with them,’ ” Bocklage says.

So, I encourage you to take the first step and fill out the nomination form. I can’t guarantee that you will win, but I can guarantee you’ll get a boost of pride for your dealership.

Good luck! And, I look forward to presenting the award to your dealership.