This time of year, I preach to my young children the benefits of good behavior and the impact their decisions can have on holiday rewards. The threat of consequences can be a powerful tool, but it also offers a valuable teaching opportunity.

High on my 7-year old’s wish list this year is a rabbit. I’ve gradually warmed to the idea and set the expectation that should Santa deliver a furry friend, my son will share the responsibility of caring for it.

I’m not expecting it to be easy, but it comes down to trust.

As we move into a somewhat uncertain 2015 for sales of farm equipment, trust is going to be a valuable commodity for dealers. For precision farming technology, selling return on investment and quality service are going to be the difference makers.

Talking with one dealer about the upcoming year, he is striving to be a “partner” with farm customers, not just an advisor or retailer. “We’re responsible for keeping our customers profitable,” he says. “But we also don’t just want to sell products. We want to sell ourselves.”

It would be easy to sell farmers technology, for the sake of a sale, but that’s not necessarily a tactic that is going to forge long-term trust. Sitting in on a sales conversation a Midwest precision dealer had with a customer, the discussion drifted from what the farmer thought he wanted to what he really needed.

Ironically, the product the dealer was pitching isn’t what sold the customer; it was the dealer’s honesty. “I couldn’t sell him something he didn’t need, even if he would have bought it,” the dealer told me.

While precision technology offers some growth potential in the coming year — we get a sales outlook from three specialists in this issue — it will be interesting to see how the market evolves during the next 12 months.

Dealers talk of being more creative with their precision programs, while at the same time making sure they are efficient and productive year-round. Ultimately, they want to make decisions that will be most beneficial to their customers and the dealership.

What farmer’s may have on their “wish lists” may not provide the most value for their operation, and dealers have the responsibility to know and sell customers what they do need.