Precision specialists often wear many hats these days — technician, manager, salesperson, farmer. The long hours can lead to burnout. Several attendees at the 2024 Precision Farming Dealer Summit in Indianapolis, gathered for a roundtable discussion on ways to alleviate stress and lighten the load. Here are some top takeaways I jotted down in my notes app.
Training everybody — sales staff and customers — is the first big step to cutting down on burnout, one person suggested. "You need to manage the customer's expectations," he said.
"Everybody at our dealership is expected to know the technology," another person said. "Salespeople should be able to install retrofit kits. If you have the experience of doing it, you can help customers. You better be able to get the equipment set up in the field, or you won't be able to sell it."
Another precision manager agreed that the sales staff should be able to handle the technical side of the business. "The sales department is a huge part of it, especially during busy season," he said. "I had one guy who was a hot dog salesman. He could sell it, but he couldn't support it. I fired him because I'm not putting up with that BS."
One person countered that the generational gap between salespeople is an important factor management should consider. "Younger guys can handle the installations, but some of our older guys won't do that," he said. "I don't know if I can put pressure on the older guys because they are responsible for such a large chunk of our customer base."
Here are some other noteworthy comments from the discussion:
"We charge for phone support. Our precision department is not making money, so we want to at least break even."
"Have defined roles in the offseason so that your top tier people don't get burned out. Bring in younger people to train."
"A lot of burnout is self inflicted. We have a passion for our jobs, and it's hard to say no to people."
"Is our process wrong, or is this just the nature of the beast?"
Click here to relieve the "best of the best" ideas from the Precision Farming Dealer Summit through replays of the 2024 conference presentations, made possible with the support of Susterre.