The harvesting season is a busy time for John Deere dealers. Store floors become flooded with customers looking for new equipment, parts, service, and additional information that could benefit their operation. If it weren’t for these dealerships, and their hard-working employees, our nation’s crop producers would likely face a number of insurmountable challenges.
To learn a little bit about the role of John Deere dealerships (and their personnel), during the harvesting season, we’ve reached out to a few professionals that were kind enough to take some time out of their busy schedules, and share some of their experiences and industry knowledge. Today, we will provide a recap of a conversation we had with Eric McCready, who works as a used equipment manager at the Pacific Junction, IA, AgriVision location. Excerpts from our conversation are as follows:
Q: Can you provide us with a bit of background about yourself as well as AgriVision?
A: “I’m a fifth generation member of the family that started what the company has turned into today back in 1899. When it came time for me to get out of college, I never really thought about doing anything different from working for the family business. The company went through mergers in both 2006 and 2008, and that’s where we stand today. I’ve had numerous roles (used equipment manager, sales manager, and regional manager), so, I’ve done a little bit of everything but I’m now more focused on the sales side of our business.”
Q: What sort of crops are harvested in the Pacific Junction, IA area?
A: “Mostly corn and soybeans. They represent probably 99% of what is harvested out here.”
Q: What does your role as used equipment manager consist of on a daily basis?
A: “At my location, six sales guys report directly to me on the ag side and then I work with some of the turf salesmen as well. This time of year, we do a lot support work with the parts and services department because of the harvest and the fact that we’ve fulfilled most of our duty as salesmen getting the equipment out in the fields. During the harvest we play a big support role in helping to get customers started in the field and we spend a lot of our time updating software for AMS products.”
Q: What are some of the biggest challenges and rewards you and your team face?
A: “The biggest challenges seem to all be software-related this time of year. For our team, the harvest season usually progresses along pretty smoothly, outside of breakdowns. As far as rewards, it’s just fun to get everything up and going, communicating with the producers and doing ride-alongs just to make sure everything’s going well.”
Q: What specific actions does your team, and AgriVision as a whole, take to get customers ready for the harvest as it approaches and how do you support them as the season rolls on?
A: “Each of my sales people typically have about 30 accounts, so as planting season and harvesting season nears, we urge our customers to get their inspections taken care of with us. Also, when the harvest begins, we visit our customers in the fields to help them get their equipment started. Usually, a salesman would go along with a technician just to make sure there are no problems and to make sure our customer is totally satisfied with what they were sold.”
Q: Does AgriVision run any promotional or community-involved events leading up to harvesting season?
A: “On the parts side, we have a one day event where we offer big discounts on a majority of harvest parts. We also run some “green carpet” events where we showcase some new products.”
Q: At your location, do you recognize any specific pieces of harvesting equipment that are “hotter sellers” than others?
A: “In our neighborhood, platforms have become real big, specifically, flex draper platforms. Flex drapers are a lot higher priced compared to traditional platforms so we do a lot of demos with them.”
Q: Do you have a personal favorite piece of Deere harvesting equipment?
A: “I like running the combines. That’s really neat to me. I’m also fascinated with the emergence of drones. I see a lot of people flying drones while harvesting corn and soybeans, I need to get one of my own.”
Q: Do you have a John Deere dealership specific story or anything else you’d like to share with us?
A: “We had a situation where a customer wrecked a head and we weren’t his “home” dealership, but he came to us for assistance after his dealer said he would probably have to be down for a couple days (this was unacceptable to him). We were probably about 30 miles further away than his original dealership and we were able to get the head in by noon and back to him by 5 in the evening so he could get back to running beans again. It was all hands on deck, and it ended up being a win for the dealership as this customer now calls us for everything.”
Take a look at all of AgriVision’s locations, and be sure to stop in next time you’re in the area of one of their 13 stores! A special thanks to Eric McCready, for taking the time to shed some behind-the-scenes light on the John Deere dealership business during the harvesting season! If you have any comments about this post, feel free to connect with us on Facebook or Google+!