Whether looking for a small tractor line to meet their customers’ needs or searching for a tractor for their own operations, Massey Ferguson®, a global brand of AGCO Corporation (NYSE:AGCO), was the choice of four businesses that recently joined the Massey Ferguson compact and utility equipment (CUE) distribution network. Though distinctly different from one another in their product offerings, business structure and clientele, the businesses each found Massey Ferguson products offer the business growth opportunity they were seeking.
Product quality and brand reputation were attractive to all four, but that’s where most of their similarities end. Service after the sale was the No.1 criteria of Chris Travis, owner of Bobcat of Kane, in Kane, Pa. Travis owns and operates five truck towing and repair shops throughout the region. With many contractors among his clientele, he added skid steers and other light construction products to his offering in 2009, but always struggled with finding a line of small tractors that met his standards for service after the sale.
“With today’s technology and computerized equipment, we needed to find a supplier and a product line that could give us service after the sale so we can take care of our customers,” explains Travis. “We found that Massey Ferguson had a good array of support personnel, and they have been super helpful with sales, after the sale, parts and service.” Travis points out the tractors’ appearance, quality and customer reviews were impressive as well. He began selling Massey Ferguson tractors in January 2017 at his Olean, N.Y., location where the tractors have been met by an enthusiastic and interested clientele. More than 500 people attended an open house for the Massey Ferguson line’s debut.
Tractor shopping trip nets tractor dealership
In the case of East Tennessee ATV and Tractor, the need for a small tractor for their own use led Jason and Amber Clawson to become Massey Ferguson dealers. After researching available machines, they drove an hour and 30 minutes to look at a Model MF4610. They liked the tractor’s power, fit and finish, visibility from the cab, handy controls and small-frame stability that is important in their Tennessee mountains.
“I really wanted the tractor, but I didn’t want to make a three-hour round trip each time we needed parts or service,” Jason remembers. With 13 years of experience in the ATV and powersports equipment dealership shared with his parents, Jason and Amber were looking for an opportunity to expand beyond their Polaris® utility vehicles, Can-Am® motorcycles and Sea-Doo® watercraft offerings, so Jason contacted AGCO Corporation about becoming a dealer.
“We were already doing business with crop and hay farmers, horse owners, cattle producers and hobby farmers who all need small equipment, so it seemed like a good fit. And there are already many Massey Ferguson tractors throughout our area, so parts and service also were opportunities,” he adds.
Early in 2017 the deal was final. The Clawsons are off to a great start, selling 11 tractors in the first 75 days the machines were on their lot. Their first-year sales goal quickly went from 25 to 75 units.
“We’re excited and we’re still learning, but the reaction from our customers has been very positive,” says Jason. “We did a little sneak-peek preview on our Facebook page and when we announced the Massey Ferguson line was coming, our page Likes went from around 800 to 1,100 in no time. We also plan to have people demo tractors and balers because we’ve had good sales when customers actually get experience with the machines we sell.”
Right products, parts and personal touch
There’s no social media promotion or even a website for Watt Equipment LLC in De Kalb, Miss. Ernie and Janet Watts’ reputation for treating their customers as they want to be treated, and doing just that for 32 years, brings customers through the door simply via word-of-mouth recommendations from customers and suppliers alike.
“We try to provide a good product and good service at a reasonable price. We’ve made a lot of friends over the years, and I like the personal touch that comes with being friends,” Janet explains. “Being located on a very busy highway also helps.”
While the couple has been successfully marketing tractors over 100 HP for many years, including AGCO’s Valtra® brand when available in North America, matching their customers’ needs for small tractors has been an ongoing challenge.
“The small tractor manufacturers we worked with came and went, so keeping small tractors for our customers has been a struggle,” explains Janet. “We maintained a relationship with AGCO all through the years because we wanted to have parts for our Valtra tractor customers. We asked if we could be Massey Ferguson dealers, and that was it.” In addition to the compact and utility tractors, Watt Equipment will offer conventional hay equipment from Hesston by Massey Ferguson®.
Janet is very excited about the opportunity in their five- to six-county trade area where more than 300 tractors less than 100 HP sold in 2016. “Because we didn’t have the right size tractors, we didn’t get any of that market, which hurts. Now we’ll be able to compete. We’ve had a lot of traffic and interest in just the first 30 days.”
Manufacturer commitment and available support
In December 2016, Vieth Tractor and Implement dropped the compact and utility tractor line they had been selling since 2005. The farm-focused equipment dealership quickly became “the most eligible dealership” in north-central Texas as manufacturers heard the news.
“Somehow, everybody figured it out, and our phone rang off the wall before the end of the year,” says Trey Veitenheimer, sales manager at the Wichita Falls, Texas, business. “So, we looked at what everyone had to offer. As former Valtra dealers, we were pleased to see AGCO’s focus on building the compact and utility market. The fit and finish of the Massey Ferguson tractors was quite a bit better than some of the others. And, if you’ve got a question, there’s plenty of support. I can talk to pretty much anyone at AGCO, and they’ll call me back.”
Vieth Tractor and Implement became a Massey Ferguson dealer, and the first tractors arrived in early March. Three were sold within the first 45 days and two of those went to new customers. “That’s a plus, and what we’re looking for,” Veitenheimer adds.
“We’ve found Massey Ferguson’s brand equity and the high quality of our tractors from 22.5 to 130 engine horsepower are two of the biggest attractions for businesses who want to expand their current offering of lawn and garden or utility vehicles to attract more customers,” says Anthony Burkes, director, distribution development and strategy at AGCO.
New dealers benefit from Massey Ferguson’s comprehensive and competitively priced product lineup, along with AGCO’s strong offering of dealer support tools, including parts sales; product service; sales and marketing materials; assistance with inventory management and ordering; distribution management; dealer systems support; staff training; and financing through AGCO Finance. Onboarding takes as little as 30 to 90 days, depending on the dealership’s preference. Each of these new dealerships also receives ongoing, on-site support from a business development specialist, a new role created within AGCO specifically to support new compact and utility equipment dealers