If it’s true that we learn more from our failures than our successes, then dealers, who attended last week’s Precision Farming Dealer Summit in Indianapolis, learned plenty from their colleagues who are pioneering ways to make selling precision farming equipment and services profitable.
As is the case with all of the Dealer Summits that we’ve put together over the past few years, it involved dealers talking to dealers. It’s what set this conference apart from all of the other industry meetings on the subject of precision farming. No technology. No newest developments. It was just dealers talking to dealers about the business aspects of implementing a precision farming operation — what strategies have worked, which ones haven’t worked and why.
Jack Zemlicka, technology editor for Farm Equipment, and managing editor of our Precision Farming Dealer publication, deserves a big pat on the back for pulling the conference program together. In all, 13 dealers told their stories, ranging from tracking employee ROI, to structuring a profitable precision farming business, to establishing a standalone precision profit center, as well as recruiting and retaining the next generation of precision specialists.
Before I go any further, I need to correct myself. All of the speakers were not dealers. In addition to the 13 dealers who made presentations, the summit also featured two attorneys who specialize in the business of agriculture. They spoke on “Keeping Customer Data Safe & Secure.”
The fact of the matter is, for a great majority of North American farm equipment dealership, establishing a profitable precision farming business has been a matter of trial and error. While discussing how they’ve had to alter their original business models, most of the dealers admitted they were still learning how to make money by selling precision product and services.
What I found most interesting was that among the attendees were some of North America’s largest and most progressive dealerships. During private conversations with several of them it was clear that they, too, were on steep learning curve when it comes to precision farming. And none of them had all of the answers.
If you weren’t able to make it, you will be able to hear the audio and see the slides within the next few weeks on the PrecisionFarmingDealer.com website. In the meantime, Jack will cover the Top 5 Takeaways during our On the Record broadcast later this week.
One other thing, some of the best information of the conference was shared during the informal roundtable sessions and over dinner. Unfortunately, these will not be available for review.