Yesterday, we featured part one of our two-part interview with Mark Robertson of Quality Equipment, where we learned a bit about Mark’s background, his job responsibilities, Quality Equipment’s locations, and their customers. Today, we will continue on with our interview with Mark, taking a deeper dive into life at a John Deere dealership during peak planting season, enjoy!
Q: What’s life like at the dealership during planting season?
A: “During the season, one of the biggest things that goes on is questions focused around integrated solutions. Our integrated solutions department is very busy at this time of the year.
On the equipment side, we have components and parts for planters, as hopefully we have previously got their equipment needs satisfied. However, we will always have people that decide at the last minute that they want to plant a certain crop and they need a last-minute planter. That’s what causes the biggest challenges on the equipment side, being able to find a good used piece of equipment to satisfy their needs. It’s a constant battle trying to utilize solutions like MachineFinder Pro to see what other dealers have in their inventory and to see if it’s a fit for our customer. We constantly look at MachineFinder to find equipment to fill our needs.”
Q: At your location, do you recognize certain pieces of equipment that are hot sellers during planting season?
A: “The 1720 has been the most popular planter in our area. We’re looking for several used eight and 12 row units now. We also have a pretty strong need for no-till drills. 1560s and 1590s are very popular in this area so we’re constantly looking to find good used pieces of those. We have new inventory on the ground but sometimes if we can find a good used piece for the customer we will do that.”
Q: We see Deere customers and the Ag industry in generally seem to be big on AMS products. How prevalent are Ag Management Solutions in the area and at your dealership?
A: “AMS has become a very important piece of our business. In the past it was thought of as something that was for just the Midwest, the areas that had real large fields and large acreage. However, we have found that most of the farmers in our geographical area that are any size, are now looking to go to some kind of agriculture management system.
They’re looking to control input costs in terms of fuel, overspray of sprayers, anything they can do to cut costs on the input side that will relate to an additional profit at crop harvest time. Right now, with where commodity prices are and input costs where they are, the only way they can save is to increase yield or reduce input costs. For this reason, AMS components in our area have become very popular, leading to double-digit growth at our dealership this year over last year.”
Q: Do you run any specific events, promotional or informative, at the dealership focused around planting season? Does the dealership get involved with the community at all during the planting season?
A: “We do. We had three AMS clinics earlier in the spring before planting season, strategically located throughout our territory. We have our sales staff come in as well as producers and growers to learn about what AMS can do and give them the opportunity to physically see the solutions in action. The idea is to educate farmers that may not have AMS products but are looking to go in that direction. This concept aided us in selling to two or three different customers in each geographical area.
We also have planter clinics, a combine clinic before harvest, so we’re trying to do more clinics in our territories to try to get people to promote our various programs before planting and harvest season. We’re just trying to utilize everything we have to aid the farmer and assist them virtually zero downtime when they’re in the middle of peak seasons.”
Q: Do you have any unique customer stories that come to mind that you would be willing to share with us?
A: “My role doesn’t specifically involve me in the service side of things but I know for a fact that some of our producers have gone down in the middle of planting and we will go and provide them with a tractor or piece of equipment to use in order to continue planting while we repair theirs. Our goal is to have our customers with zero downtime as much as possible because the only thing that we have that will distinguish us from any other dealer is the customer service that we provide. We also run a customer service program 24/7 that will put our customers in contact with a professional for assistance at any time.”
If you’re in the area of any Quality Equipment locations, be sure to stop by, as they will be more than happy to assist with any of your needs. A special thanks to Mark Robertson, for taking the time to shed some behind-the-scenes light on the John Deere dealership business during the planting season! If you have any comments about this post, feel free to connect with us on Facebook or Google+! Also, be sure to keep an eye out for additional John Deere Dealer Spotlight posts in the upcoming weeks!