Rural Lifestyle Dealer recently announced our new partnership with Bob Clements, who is recognized as the premier management consultant for outdoor power equipment, agriculture and power sports dealerships. We’re teaming up with Bob and his company, Bob Clements Intl., to provide real world and “must do” strategies for making your dealership more profitable.

Bob brings a direct approach that is needed for communicating with dealers, such as yourself, who don’t have a moment to spare. Here’s an example of a comment Bob shared when I asked him about the top 3 issues dealers are facing today: “Far too many rural lifestyle dealers are nothing more than poorly paid employees.”

There’s no need or time for “sugar coating” in an industry that’s moving fast. Here’s how he ranks the top issues and see if you agree:

1. The need for good service technicians

2. Dealers acting more as an employee rather than an owner

3. Dealers handling too many lines

Bob also shared what many of the more profitable dealerships are doing right in meeting these challenges. Regarding the issue of service techs, Bob says, “We are finding that more and more dealers have a better understanding of the importance of their service department in terms of both the customer experience with their store and the profitability it can add to their bottom line.”

He says that through coaching, dealership owners are elevating themselves to their proper role and empowering their teams. “We are able to move most to the point where they can begin running the business instead of the business running them,” Bob says.

The issue of too many lines is a tough one. Dealers on the ag side are being forced to address the issue because manufacturers are pushing “dealer purity.” Bob says many dealers think the more lines you carry, the better chance you’ll capture every sale. Not true, he says. “While it may look like you made some money by selling a few of this line or a few of that line, when you evaluate the total profit vs. the support costs, it becomes obvious that carrying complementary lines, not competitive lines, makes more sense and will improve profit.”

There is much more to explore regarding these and other issues you’re facing and there’s no better time to do it than right now, when the rural lifestyle market is providing so much opportunity. Plus, our market is not hampered by the obstacles ag dealers face, such as weather, commodity prices, etc. “Rural lifestylers want what they want — and they want to be cared for by a dealer who will make their headaches go away,” Bob says.

Bob uses the term “joining forces” when he refers to the power of the partnership with his company and our magazine as well as our newsletters, online tools and more. We look forward to working together to not only make your own headaches go away, but to help you achieve higher levels of success.