That’s what Mike McCrate, owner of Tulsa New Holland of Tulsa, Okla., says on his website. His dealership is celebrating 31 years in business. Today, he faces competition from Home Depot, Lowe’s and Tractor Supply — but he’s not worried about it. He believes his service philosophy helps him beat big box prices and he uses that service philosophy to compete head on with lower up-front prices.

“We think a better price is a long-term deal … not just the price you pay, but what it costs in time, convenience and dollars over the long run,” McCrate says. “We sell our product support to every customer.”

He makes sure customers know that support begins long before they come in the store, when his technicians do assembly and pre-delivery preparation on every machine. He touts his large parts inventory and makes sure they know they will be a priority customer over those who buy elsewhere and come to him for service.

Despite this take charge approach, McCrate knows he won’t get every sale. “No, you can’t win every customer and after 40 years in this industry, I have learned that there are customers out there we don’t want. I have ‘fired’ two or three customers over the past few years.”

But there is a new competition that McCrate is concerned about. “My biggest concern today is companies that sell mowers online and deliver the product to the end user in a crate. I can’t believe manufacturers allow their products to be sold that way. Even if they don’t care about their ‘brick and mortar’ dealers, what about liability issues with improperly assembled products?”

McCrate knows the importance of understanding the competition and dissecting their perceived advantages and turning them into his advantages. Consider doing the same for your dealership. The fall selling season provides lots of opportunities to study the competition. Watch their ads on TV and check out their mailers. Don’t shrug off their competitive advantages. Just make sure you can explain to a customer how you beat those selling points. And, if you can’t beat their advantage, counteract it with an advantage they don’t have, like this one from Tulsa New Holland, which they also advertise on their website. “Want to visit with the owner? Big Mike would love to meet you.”

What’s your take charge strategy for dealing with the competition? Share your comments below with our community of rural lifestyle dealers.