Skip Klinefelter

Linco-Precision, El Paso, Texas

Brenan Schneidermann

Precision Farming Specialist,
Town & Country Implement, Rock Valley, Iowa

Pictured Above: “It’s a farm thing,” says Brenan Schneidermann (right) about the ease of talking with Skip Klinefelter (left) despite the two never meeting before the 2018 Precision Farming Dealer Summit. Klinefelter notes the delicate line between proving knowledge to a customer while still coming across as trustworthy and not overselling a product. Schneidermann adds that while staying up to date with evolving equipment is key for some customers, it’s equally important to cater to those who prefer earlier models.

Brenan Schneidermann: I see the industry and this up-and-coming generation as part of a learning curve, not just for the farmer, but for precision specialists as well. We’re going to training every month. It’s a never-ending process to keep up with the newest, latest and greatest. If your customers aren’t getting that, they’re going to go somewhere else for it. I see it as more of trying to keep them up to date, while also accounting for the guys that don’t use the newest stuff. Keep them happy by keeping them with the precision technology that they want, even though it may not be the newest. I see that as a big deal for them.

Skip Klinefelter: I believe that’s true. We say to sell our customer the quality the need in the quantity they need, as often as they need it. If you’re underselling customers, you’re not allowing them to take advantage of all the technology. If you’re overselling them, you’re charging them too much for what they’re getting.

Schneidermann: I think honesty is going to play a big role in that.

Klinefelter: A trusted advisor role.

Schneidermann: Right, and if a customer knows you’re not going to sell him something he doesn’t particularly need, then he’s going to trust you and come to you more often. I think that’s huge. You’re going to tell him what’s best for his farm, his ground, his crops. I see that as a huge factor.

Klinefelter: And you need the data to back it up, which you have the ability to attain with everything you do today. So, you need to make use of it and use it to prove your point with lot of things. When you’re trying to convince your older customers, you’ll need that especially. It’s not just a stack of maps, for example. It’s what the applicable value in it is.

Schneidermann: Right, right. With the older generations, you’ve got to show them where the return on their money is. If they’re just going to see a map with flashy colors on it and no tangible payoff, they’re going to turn around and dump it in the trash.

“It’s a never-ending process to keep up with the newest, latest and greatest. If your customers aren’t getting that, they’re going to go somewhere else for it…”
– Brenan Schneidermann

Klinefelter: Yet still, two of the most excited customers I’ve ever had –– one of them is still alive and one of them is gone –– they were both in their 90s when they bought their first piece of technology off of us. One was a Precision Planting 20/20 seeding monitor and the other was a Trimble EZ-Steer assist. Numbers are king, but you still have to show a need and value because it often comes down talking with people and presenting your case, regardless of age. Sitting back on the couch hoping people walk in the door and write you checks probably isn’t going to happen for a few more years to come.

Schneidermann: I had an instructor in college tell me that a lot of people who get into mechanics or precision aren’t just doing tech work, but they’re also part salesman, which can be a difficult concept to balance. And a lot of people won’t give precision ag the “3 years” that it takes to acclimate. Because you know, if you do it for a year and it’s a bad year, you’re going to get a bad taste in your mouth.

Klinefelter: With the “3 year” concept, we found out in our dealership no matter who we hire — I don’t care if it’s a technician or a salesperson — it’s the third year before they even come close to breaking even for us.

Schneidermann: Really?

Klinefelter: A technician can be one of your best salespeople, but not as an official salesman. Technicians and salespeople are two totally different diametrically opposed people. They have a different mindset and different set of strengths.