Jay Pickrel, General Manager, Jamestown Implement, Jamestown, N.D.

2005 Dealership of the Year Winner

I believe that too often success in business is parlayed as a complicated recipe of vague items that sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t work. Instead, the success recipe is comprised of three basic items. The three most important aspects of the dealership business are employees, customers and products.

Employees. Everything begins and ends with the capabilities of the employees who work with you. Make the most of this one area and you will ensure your success. Always hire capable people that demonstrate a desire to work and a commitment to the success of the business. All too often, we as leaders forget that our customers interface with our employees on a daily basis and that the perception of our business is developed from the interactions between our customers and our associates. It is not the facility that will ultimately establish the quality of service and support that a customer will receive and remember. Think of the many success stories of businesses that suffered devastation due to Mother Nature only to quickly rebuild and continue toward success. These remarkable success stories are only possible where there are high numbers of quality employees in organizations. Quality people will ensure the success and profitability of your business.

Customers. Customers are the lifeblood of our business! Take time to learn your customer base and to understand what is important to the success of their business. Then design services and products that support the success of your customers. While this sounds basic, and it is, businesses all too often forget this principle and attempt to forcefeed the customer by attempting to sell the customer products or services that are not important to the customer’s success. Speak often to and obtain input from your customers regarding your ability to support them in their business. Customers will not only represent the lifeblood of your organization, but they will represent a tremendous resource of information that allows your business to adapt and change to the ever-changing business landscape.

Products. Align yourself with quality suppliers. Please remember that you will only be able to support your customer at a high level if your supplier supports you. Find quality manufacturers and cultivate the relationship as dealer and supplier. In the ever-increasing demand for innovation and change, both the dealer and the manufacturer must work closely together to support the needs of the customer. While this will be a difficult task at times, never tire of working to increase the relationship between you and the manufacturer. Each of you — dealer and manufacturer — must focus on fulfilling the demands of the customer in ways and means that separate you from the competition.

Read the "The Dealer's 16 Commandments," a summary article of all "Dealers of the Year" and their views on the cornerstones of running a farm equipment business.