A missing link in your sales process may be costing you future business with rural lifestyle customers, and I have YouTube analytics to prove it. It doesn’t cost a penny to provide, and it will set your dealership apart from your competitors.

This step came as a revelation to me through my work on my website and YouTube channel that trains novice tractor customers about equipment, www.AskTractorMike.com.

About a year ago, I received a viewer message asking me to produce a video about how to take a ‘brush hog’ attachment off a tractor. I have posted several popular videos on how to hook up attachments, so I wondered why a video would be needed about taking one off. The only reason could be that this particular viewer was delivered a tractor and cutter and had no clue how to separate them. Here’s the more alarming news: For whatever reason, they were not contacting the business that sold them the package for assistance.

So, I did a step-by step video about removing an implement. Here’s the link: youtu.be/ebmksUZPjY0. I didn’t expect it to get much attention when I posted it in late January. However, in the last 9 months, the video has received 13,000 views. The popularity of the video reveals the missing link in the sales process is communication with our customers after the sale.

Educating Customers

If you’re a veteran dealer, the traditional sales model has been to sell the product, deliver it and wait for a call when the equipment needs a repair. You likely have the capabilities, with your factory-trained technicians and parts on the shelf, to get the equipment back to work.

If that call doesn’t come, it’s easy to assume things are fine and the product is performing as it’s intended. This approach works with farm customers, who often have a long history with our products and don’t require much training, unlike “weekend farmers.” It’s easy to negotiate the sale, deliver the tractor, send a thank you card and think all is well.

Over and over again, I see dealers who are trying to grow in the rural lifestyle market using this same model and unintentionally leaving customers “high and dry.”

The first-time buyer lacks experience and needs basic tractor education. It may not seem that way if they ask, for example, about hydraulic flow and lift capacity of the tractor we carry vs. that of our competitor’s. However, more often than not, a farmer friend or another salesperson told them those features were important. They really don’t know what they mean and are afraid to ask.

We end up with a customer who buys a new toy with no idea how to play with it. After a day or two of operation, the frustration grows. It may prompt a call to the dealership that sounds like a service issue. The call gets routed to a service manager who has little patience for someone who doesn’t know the product and the fiasco begins. They end up on YouTube searching for advice and watching videos.

Following Up

If you fill in that missing link in the sales process — by just making a follow-up phone call — you can prevent this situation and have a customer for life. It’s simple and doesn’t cost you anything. Each salesperson needs to proactively contact the first-time compact tractor customer a week after delivery. If the customer is experiencing frustration, you’ll be able to address the issue before it turns into something much worse, while your dealership becomes the go-to source for education about equipment. Some of these customers will require a lot of “hand-holding,” but ongoing follow-up calls help you build relationships and encourage future sales.

You may be thinking, “I’m spread too thin now. When would there be time to call these people?” Remember, we’re only talking about new customers. The folks who need assistance are the ones who have never owned equipment and have no farming background.

When they’re back at your dealership to trade for a bigger or later model, they’ll be seasoned users and the contact becomes less important. It’s still a good idea, but not as critical to the relationship. So, all you’re committing to is for each of your salespeople to make one or two calls a week to novice tractor owners.

Make the call and you maintain customer loyalty. Fail to make it and you turn your customers over to YouTube and the internet. Then, when it’s time to buy attachments or other high-margin products you offer, you may be out of the loop. Personal contact after the sale ensures you’re with them on the journey and that the journey doesn’t end after the first tractor purchase.