Now is undoubtedly a good time to be a precision farming dealer, given the ravenous customer appetite for technology.
At the recent Raven Innovation Summit in Sioux Falls, S.D., several dealer attendees told me their precision business is doubling or even tripling each year and their biggest challenge is keeping up with customer demand.
“If that’s our biggest problem right now, it’s a good one to have,” a precision farming salesperson from Wisconsin says.
But I also heard from a few dealers who have been in the precision game long enough to know that with as rapidly as technology is evolving today, it’s better to look before you leap when selling products.
At the Raven Summit, the manufacturer showcased eight new precision products and many other companies have events planned this summer to showcase their latest innovations. Customers have so many more choices with precision products today, compared to just 3 years ago and dealers are sometimes faced with the dilemma of deciding when and how to promote products to customers.
“Sometimes, you want to wait and see how these products pan out and sometimes you want to jump on them right away and try to be the leader,” a precision farming manager from Minnesota told me.
Beating the competition, especially nowadays, is an incentive to start selling a new product from the start. But if dealers don’t have a firm handle on how the technology works, this strategy can easily backfire.
The Minnesota precision farming manager ran into this situation when the dealership began selling a new line of displays, based on pent-up customer demand. One customer purchased a system and had plans to add two more, but the dealership’s precision technicians had trouble getting the first monitor to work properly.
“Then our salespeople heard about it and they backed off because we didn’t want to sell a bunch of units that were unproven,” the manager says. “That can be a scary situation.”
Precision dealers certainly don’t want to jeopardize long-term relationships with customers, but it can sometimes be difficult to look beyond the allure of a quick sale, especially when customers are hungry for new technology.
Premature promotion and inability service an attractive new product could sour customers on a dealership’s reliability when it comes to precision equipment. Taking the time for training and hands-on testing is the advice offered by the Minnesota precision manager.
As he says, “There are plenty of opportunities out there to make money with precision farming. It’s a matter of choosing the right ones at the right time.”