Having returned from the second Precision Farming Dealer Summit last week in St. Louis, I’ve had an opportunity to reflect on a few of the highlights.

The sold-out conference drew nearly 200 attendees including representatives from 92 dealerships throughout 27 states, along with Canada and Australia. With a theme of Proven Business Blueprints, the event featured discussions on tips for transitioning a precision business, improving staff accountability and the real ROI of service packages.

Here are 3 of the top takeaways from speaker sessions at this year’s Summit:

  1. Find your HABU as a precision business owner to shape direction and focus on future goals.

I’d encourage you to write these four letters down and think about them. HABU stands for highest and best use. Highest and best use. You need to think about where you’re going to invest your 168 hours (each week) to have the highest and best use. That’s really your job.”

— Arlin Sorensen, CEO, HTS Ag

  1. To accurately measure margin on precision service plans, understanding and meeting the needs of different customers is required homework.

“On average, we realize an 8-10% margin on service plans. So is it a huge profit center? No, but as you look at your geography, you’ll find that the early adopters and the innovators are the ones who are going to call and you’re going to be doing reactive phone calls and running to put fires out when you’re trying to do something else and it turned out to be something rather simple.”

— Colin Hlavinka, precision farming manager, Hlavinka Equipment Co.

  1. Consider the core purpose of your precision farming and how it can effectively integrate with other areas of the dealership.

If you guys really want to know what our customers want when you are building these (service) packages, get your parts, your service and a salesperson together and go sit down with one of your key customers and have a 2 or 3 hour discussion about their pressures, their plans and their problems. You’ll find our real quick what you need to build a package around.”

— Matt Eldridge, director of aftermarket sales, Smith Implements       

Look for extended coverage of these takeaways and more from the Summit in the Winter issue of Precision Farming Dealer and the March edition of Farm Equipment magazine.