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Agrimarketing : September 2008
SUCCESSFUL DEALERSHIP/continued from page 41 continue to sponsor local events and not just buy a booth. Sponsoring horse-type events is particularly effective.” In addition to the events sponsor- ships, the dealership also places full- page color ads in the local Nickel Saver. “We run a big ad on the front or back page about every other week. We often see people with a copy folded up in their pocket when they come in. So it’s worked pretty well.” Then, Dave’s Tractor began to feel its first slowdown. As in most parts of the country, the housing market in northern California took a huge downturn. “It was tempting when sales started to stop advertis- ing. I wanted to, but I was told, ‘No. Don’t do that. You have to keep the people coming in.’ So, we’ve done that and we’ve also started running TV ads for the last few months. It’s expensive, but the alternative is to sit and be lonely.” CUSTOMER CARE IS NO. 1 Beyond everything else Dave’s Trac- tor has done right in its first years, Siemens credits his early success to being able to empathize with customers. “When we started up the business, no one seemed to care to sell compacts to the average home- owner. We had a free pass for a couple of years,” he says. Even with more competition, Dave’s Tractor con- tinues making inroads because it sticks to doing what it does best. That’s understand- ing what his tractor customers need and want, how they live and work, and having the patience to work through a sales process that creates customers for life. “Probably the most important thing is we really understand our customer,” says Siemens. For Siemens, making friends with his Part of the Dave’s Tractor crew include (l to r) Jeff McFarlen, Rob McFarlen, Dave Siemens, Carla Siemens, Laurel Siemens, Lee Siemens and Jason Myers. customers is imperative. “By the time we deliver a tractor, we know our customers very well. Then if they have a problem, we get a ‘friendly’ call. If we see any sort of issue we try to jump on it immediately.” STILL DEBT FREE Besides receiving the 2007 Rural Lifestyle Dealer award Dave’s Tractor has also earned outstanding dealer awards from both Mahindra and Branson Tractors. But what the dealer is most proud of after six years of growth is that he remains debt free. Since opening the store, Siemens purchased an additional 7.5 acres of land and built — and paid for — a new 6,000 square-foot facility with offices and full service shop. “Coming into this, we set money aside and made sure we had zero debt,” he says. “Now, we’re getting calls from people who bought a cou- ple of years ago who are saying, ‘Things are getting kind of slow and I’m selling my tractor and trailer,’ and we’re able to buy some good used tractors. “We take trades whenever we can, which sets us apart from some dealers because they’re so cash strapped they can’t do it.” STILL LEARNING Siemens still sees plenty of opportu- nity down the road. “I hear some guys grumble because farms are being bought up and broken down into smaller parcels. When you break a 640-acre section into 5-acre plots, what I see is 128 potential customers. If I only get 20% of those, it’s still a lot of tractors.” AM 42 AgriMarketing ¦ September 2008
CAMA 2008 Canada