While all dealers agree that the one-on-one demos are the most successful, it’s not always practical due to the expense of transporting equipment between locations.
Straub International picks a central location when the timing is right and sends out an invitation and makes a follow up call to get the customers there.
“We provide food on location so they can come on their lunch break,” says Ron Straub. “This also gives us a chance for some conversation while they are waiting for their turn to drive.”
2008 Farm Equipment Dealership of the Year Vincennes Tractor reserves the one-on-one demos to close an active deal and gain a commitment for a specific machine. The dealership also hosts group demos to promote new products or new farming practices.
“The salesperson hand-delivers invitations to customers that have the most potential to purchase or the greatest need for the items being demonstrated,” says Rick Linenburg. “We will then use mass mailings, radio ads, our website, parts counter flyers and email to attract others.”
Mark Foster, Birkey’s Farm Stores, says group demos work best for products that don’t require a great deal of time to understand the benefits and features, such as precision farming equipment. Don Van Houweling, Van Wall Equipment, finds that group demos are best for introducing a new-to-the-world product into a market.
Field days and equipment-specific clinics with demos in the field with a lunch are also used to gain attention from both current and prospective customers. “We always get sales after these events,” says Cathy Henson-Allen, Henson Tractor.
A strong advocate for the one-on-one demo, however, Corwin Mang, 2009 Farm Equipment Dealership of the Year Young’s Equipment, reiterates, “On group demos, the least-interested farmer is always the one wasting most of your time.”