Having returned from the third Precision Farming Dealer Summit last week in Louisville, I’ve had an opportunity to reflect on a few of the highlights.
The sold-out conference drew nearly 170 attendees including representatives from more than 70 dealerships throughout 26 states, along with Australia, Canada and South Africa. With a theme of Bridging the Precision Profitability Gap, the event featured conversations on how to incorporate agronomic offerings for profit, reinforcing the return on investment approach to selling services and leveraging long-term trust of customers for recurring revenue.
One of the most talked-about sessions looked at prioritizing the people side of a precision business. Precision recruiter T.J. Stauffer emphasized the value of developing an internal pipeline of talent, something he called a “You University” to prevent knowledge gaps in service and support.
“Training is something we continue to fail at because we don’t realize that becoming a precision farming specialist takes time. It takes an average of about 3 years on the job before a precision farming specialist is going to become what I consider, pretty competent. It takes about 5 years before then start attaining Jedi status. And anyone who has been here longer than 5 years, is a demigod in the precision farming world. The problem is we don’t have many people who make it to the 2 year mark. Those who make it to the 5 year mark or the 6 year mark, their talent is irreplaceable. Their knowledge and experience is irreplaceable. If you think you are going to replace a 5 year veteran with a new hire, it is not going to happen. It will never happen. So that’s the ultimate answer to that question. How do you replace a million dollar earner that walks away from your organization? You can’t. You can’t do it. All you can do is make sure you have a company and you’ve created an organization where you have your own internal pipeline of developing, mentoring and training so when one steps out, there’s another one ready to step in.”
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.