With the used equipment issue upon us and dealers and OEM's struggling to solve this issue, I would ask all of us if our sales staff is properly trained to sell used equipment?

The OEM's do a fantastic job on product training on the new product because they realize that the respective sales staffs need this knowledge to go out and retail new. Do we ask of ourselves or provide this type of used equipment product training for our staff.

Do we know the features and benefits of a unit that we just "bought" on the sale of a new piece?

By features and benefits; I do not mean Make-Model-Years-Hours; but rather Engine HP-type of engine-type of transmission-advantages of this particular piece over competition, etc. With a glut of used equipment inventory, if we do not, then it all reverts back to one common denominator-price.

If we do not have what I call a "Blue Zebra"-something that stands out in our used equipment sales process-then we are the same as the rest of the industry.

Train your team to become as comfortable with used as new. Once they are trained-recognize them and market them as "Used Equipment Specialists."

Can they sell a 10 year old machine as confidently as a new machine in products and features?

This knowledge is invaluable in both buying and selling used machines. There are sales individuals out there that are intimidated to go out and drive a competitive piece in the field because they lack product knowledge and training, but yet we empower them to purchase this equipment with organizational funds for thousands of dollars.

The other issue I commonly see is compensation packages that treat New/Used equipment sales the same.

In my training programs, I ask dealers what is your commission plan? X% of gross margin is common regardless of new vs. used.

Why would a dealer do that?

If your organization is facing a used equipment inventory challenge, then structure your compensation program and reward program to drive these sales. Recognize and reward the activity that is good and benefits your organization.

If a salesman is faced with a choice of selling a new machine vs. a late model low hour used, they will follow the path of least resistance and sell the new if compensated equally. However, if their compensation is DRAMATICALLY higher on the used-sit back and watch what happens.

Bear in mind, you always need to keep your salary expenses in check, but altering the commission plan to a plan that compliments your organization's goals is one step in reducing this industry wide problem.

We are a unique industry due to the fact that we actively purchase pieces of used equipment that were sold 2-3 generations ago or more.

Due to attrition, maturity of the industry, and the progress in technology, we have forgotten how to sell our used in a way that is different from our competition.

Low interest rates — everyone has them. Used equipment warranty — everyone has some version ... but product knowledge of our used?

What type of impression would be left on the customer if our salesperson drove into the yard or received a phone call and was fully prepared to explain the benefits and features of a 15 year combine or tractor and how that USED piece will be beneficial to his yard?

Just some thoughts.

Dave Teigen