“One of the strengths here is a willingness to look long-term,” says Doug Neufeld, CEO of PrairieLand Partners, the 2014 Large Multi-Store Category recipient of Dealership of the Year. “That took some time to develop.”

That longer horizon allows the company to invest in overhead that might be thwarted by a short-term view. Some examples are full-time marketing specialists, an HR director, agronomist, warranty administrators and product specialists. As Loren Balzer, director of aftermarket says, “These are things we are doing with focused positions to multiply the skills of our other people — to give them the capacity to be the best they can be in their job.”

Additionally, two of the more recent additions were the formation of an entire 9-person Integrated Solutions Department and a dedicated position for product training and demonstrations. “It’s becoming more challenging with today’s higher-spec machinery for our sales team to stay on top of things with just a little bit of training with all the products we sell,” says Darrell Pankratz, director of sales. “This position brings us effective training within the organization and more effective demonstrations.”

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PrairieLand Partners, Hutchinson, Kan.