“Our customer base is livestock oriented. It includes small hay farmers, custom hay farmers, dairies and hobby farmers. We are beginning to see a growing number of absentee owners as well. A majority of them have no real agricultural experience, kind of like me, and they hire people to look after their land.

“Because of the Internet, and so much information at peoples’ fingertips, we’re getting more people who know a lot about our products before they ever come in to the store. We have people walk in and they can tell you the exact size of a fuel tank on a tractor that is 3 years old and no longer in production. Occasionally, they know more about the products we carry as well as competitive brands than we do.

“This means we need stay ahead of them constantly. For example, my grandma’s on Facebook a lot and I guarantee she can navigate Facebook better than I can. When she digs into things she’s interested in, she knows everything about it. She doesn’t have to get in the car and go look at this or order that. She’s getting real-time updates on just about anything she wants to know about. We’re seeing this with our customers, too. It seems they know every single thing about our equipment, especially information that is important to them.

“Our industry needs a lot of continuous training going forward in all parts of the business. This means more accessible training from the dealership and manufacturers as a whole on new products and refreshers on the aging equipment. As the customer base becomes more knowledgeable, we’ve got to become more knowledgeable and that means continuous learning.”