Any conversation with Mark and Kent Buchholz about what led Kennedy Implement to be selected as Farm Equipment's 2012 Dealership of the Year in the under $50 million in annual revenue category starts and ends with customer service. Kent likes to say, "Mark and I make the first sale, but it's the guys in back that make the second and third sales."
Mark makes it clear that everything the dealership achieves is a joint effort and they all live by the motto: "If one fails, we all fail."
He adds, "We didn't get this far because I'm a genius. We got here because each one of us supports each other. We are not and never will be the cheapest dealership in our sales territory because we're not selling equipment. We're selling the people who take care of the customer and keep them coming back to the dealership. If that level of service is important to a customer, he understands he needs to pay something for it."
Mike Miller, Technician, 35 Years
"Everything is getting better for techs like me and for our customers. The new electronics has made my job easier. Like the farmers, we get a lot more done in a shorter time with less fatigue and without getting dirty from head to toe. I remember they used to advertise how the new equipment would let the farmer get through 20 acres a day. Today, they start up a tractor go through 20 acres in 20 minutes. I'm going to hang in here for as long they'll let me. In this job, I'm learning every day. I don't care what it is, you get in there and if you don't know anything about it, you've got to find out something about it. So you either get the answer from somebody you know or get on the phone with the company."
Roger Miller, Technician, 39 Years
"It's a computer world anymore. It's pretty neat that everything's so efficient now, but you got to either stay with it or quit it. You just need to stay up on everything. I get all of the work on the older Internationals because there are not a lot of people around to work on them and we still have a pile of them out there. I also do all the combine work, and most of the New Hollands. I just went to school there, then I did 6050s, very interesting. So much to learn on this, it's just amazing. My cellphone usually goes in the tractor after it's repaired. It rings weekends and I just tell everybody don't worry about calling me if you got troubles. I don't have a problem with that. If they need something done we'll come in on a Sunday or whatever and fix it. It's just how it is and they know it."
Darin Naescher, Technician, 10 Years
"I work on all the New Holland tractors and hay equipment. I started out in the bailers, worked my way up to the windrowers now and taking care of all the blue front-wheel and four-wheel drive tractors. I also help out in the office filing warranty claims, so I see a little bit of both sides. I'm also involved with the precision technology equipment. We started with planting systems and now we're pushing auto-steer on windrowers and hay equipment much further than I ever figured we would. My dad's a farmer and he said he'd never have auto-steer. We got him to try it and he's got a couple of them now and he uses them for absolutely everything. We've got monitors now that communicate back and forth with each other. It's pretty exciting and scary."