Our MAC advisors regularly publish articles in various capital goods industry publications.  Here are the most recent  articles from these publications, including Farm Equipment in the People & Profits and/or the Leadership Lessons columns.  You can find more of our dealership improvement publications grouped into high-level topics.  Many of these articles are available on the Farm Equipment Magazine website.   If you are unable to find them at their site, especially ones from 2010 and before, please contact us and we will provide you with a copy.

Leadership Lessons — Drive a Culture of T.E.A.M. Work to Stay Customer Centered as Generations Change

Farm Equipment, October 8, 2021 by Daniel Surprenant & George Russell

MAC Advisors Daniel Surprenant and George Russell ask, How will your people take care of your customer?" Their answer: it's T.E.A.M. - work! They review the characteristics of each generation focusing on your people and their  the behaviors and expectations.





Leadership Lessons — Creating a Customer Centric Culture: Defining Customer Retention Turning a Good Concept into Reality

Farm Equipment, March 6, 2021 by Bill Hoeg

A MAC colleague, Bill Mayes, has a way with words His article last month sets up our 2021 theme of “Creating a Customer Centric Culture” and is a great concept. But how do we get there? Given that you can’t manage what you don’t measure, we define here how to measure customer retention.


Leadership Lessons — Focus on Satisfied Customers, Not Customer Satisfaction

Farm Equipment, January 28, 2021 by George Russell & Bill Mayes

The customer is king! The customer is always right! The customer pays all our paychecks! You’ve heard these things and you’ve probably said them many times. I know I have. So, how can I possibly hate customer satisfaction?




Leadership Lessons — Catch & Release or Catch & Keep

Farm Equipment, March 26, 2021 by George Russell & Daniel Surprenant


Can fishing help you appreciate the value of customer retention? If you’re “just fishin’,” catch and release is OK. But if you want to eat or sell the fish you catch, you want to do the things that hook the biggest fish. That’s the way to think about changing from conquest sales to a focus on keeping the customers you have. Retained customers are the most profitable.




Leadership Lessons — 7 Step Customer Service Process — Creating the Right Culture & Attitudes

Farm Equipment, May 30, 2021 by Daniel Surprenant & Bill Hoeg


Can fishing help you appreciate the value of customer retention? If you’re “just fishin’,” catch and release is OK. But if you want to eat or sell the fish you catch, you want to do the things that hook the biggest fish. That’s the way to think about changing from conquest sales to a focus on keeping the customers you have. Retained customers are the most profitable.




Leadership Lessons — The Customer-Centric Dealership of 2030?

Farm Equipment, July 6, 2021 by Jim Henderson

MAC Advisor Jim Henderson discusses what customers see when they look at a dealership and what the right way for the future is. Is “customer-centric,” helping the customer? And does it lead to a more effective, profitable dealership in 5-10 years?.





Leadership Lessons — How Will Your People Take Care of Your Customer? It’s T.E.A.M. (Work)

Farm Equipment, August 27, 2021 by Daniel Surprenant & Russ Green

MAC Advisors Daniel Surprenant and Russ Green describe the skills and knowledge your front-line employees need to help you achieve your goal to go from "Good to Great." It's T.E.A.M. (Work)!





Leadership Lessons — Creating a Customer Centered Culture - Lesson #1: Repeat Customers is the Objective

Farm Equipment, December 14, 2020 George Russell

What have you learned since the Spring amidst the chaos of COVID-19? As a dealership leader, how will you apply those lessons to position your company to be relevant, sustainable and growing — how will you build your dealership’s momentum to move from good to great?

A Note from George Russell, Machinery Advisors (MAC)
We begin the 12th year of writing this column and look forward to the theme of Creating a Customer Centric Culture. With almost 100 articles written since 2009, readers may find value in previous articles available on the Farm Equipment website and with links from the Machinery Advisors Consortium (MAC) site.  MAC Advisor Bill Mayes should spark your thinking by questioning customer satisfaction as a metric and promoting use of your own data instead.
Leadership Lessons — Good to Great Dealership Flywheel – Spoke #5, Robust Marketing Process Drives Segment Sales

Farm Equipment, October 11, 2020 George Russell

The fifth spoke in the upper right completes the Good to Great Flywheel — “Building your dealership brand with all segments” by employing a robust marketing process.  

Done right the process grows sales with all types/segments of buyers and generates momentum for the new to used cascade described in spoke 1.

We’ll define the 5 steps of marketing and then the 3 critical elements of a robust process in a “great” marketing dealership. We’ll focus on element 1 in this article and will tackle elements 2 and 3 next time. 

Leadership Lessons — Good to Great Dealership Flywheel – Leveraging Technology Assessing Technology as a Force Multiplier

Farm Equipment, June 30, 2020 George Russell

Technology is a “Force Multiplier” for your dealership. The force multiplier concept comes from the military but to explain it simply, think of a hammer. A hammer amplifies your effort to produce more output. 

This idea fits exactly with the flywheel analogy for building a good to great (G2G) dealership as the leveraging of technology tools exert forces, speed and connection to increase a dealership’s momentum.

Leadership Lessons — Good to Great Dealership Flywheel Spoke #4 - Build a Balanced Dealership that Sells Solutions and Earns Trust

Farm Equipment, September 1, 2020 George Russell

How your entire dealership hears and serves the customer is at the core of the 4th spoke of the flywheel. Dealerships that are built with balance and whose people are trusted to deliver and serve consistently will retain those customers and attract more new customers. The new and repeat customers give a huge boost in momentum to a dealership.

Coping with COVID-19 – Be Scared & Be Calm

Farm Equipment, April 3, 2020 George Russell

The COVID-19 pandemic has been called a “black swan,” a metaphor for an extremely rare event that is unforeseen, but which can have enormous impacts. Examples of black swans were the 9/11 attacks which had bad impacts, and the development of the internet which has had a generally good impact.

The animal analogy is wrong here, says Michele Wuker. In her book, The Gray Rhino, rather than a black swan she calls COVID-19 a “Gray Rhino” — gray like an elephant in the room and a rhino because of how it attacks. She writes:

"Given what we know about pandemics and their increasing likelihood, outbreaks are highly probable and high impact. I coined the term 'gray rhino' for exactly such events: obvious, visible, coming right at you, with large potential impact and highly probable consequences."

Every dealership and small business can be affected by the COVID-19 crisis. With what we see around the world and given the nature of pandemics, the full impact may not have hit your dealership — yet. But it will and when it does, it will hit fast and hard like a charging rhino. So be scared.

To lead a business into and through an impending crisis, you must also be calm.

Bridging the two — being scared and being calm — creates tension that will challenge your leadership.

Leadership Lessons — Good to Great Dealership Flywheel Spoke #3 Build a Strong Culture & Leverage Vital Processes

Farm Equipment, March 27, 2020 George Russell

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” — a quote attributed to management guru Peter Drucker defines the core idea of this spoke. The best plans fail without a strong culture to support them. On the flip side a strong culture means your dealership is more likely to overcome setbacks and changes even without a strong strategy.

To grow from good to great requires more than a strong culture — being great requires a culture of performance. 

Leadership Lessons — Good to Great Dealership Flywheel Spoke #2 Invest to Grow: High Absorption

Farm Equipment, February 28, 2020 George Russell

Absorption is simple to calculate, but to understand its “Good to Great” power in a dealership is complicated. 

Absorption is both a defensive and offensive strategy, and, although it is a financial metric that contributes to a high return on assets (one of two goals of a dealership), better absorption also contributes to creating repeat customers (the second main goal).

Leadership Lessons — Good to Great Dealership Flywheel, Leveraging the New to Used Cascade

Farm Equipment, February 7, 2020 George Russell

What is the New to Used Cascade and why is it important as the first spoke to describe in the Good to Great Dealership Flywheel?

There are many implications for leveraging the New to Used Cascade, which is why I choose to start our journey here. The biggest implication is the fundamental approach a dealership makes to selling machines.

Leadership Lessons — From Good to Great – The Sustainable Dealership Flywheel

Farm Equipment, December 25, 2019 by George Russell

What makes a dealership good? And what does it take to move a dealership from good to great? These questions are our subject for this column in 2020. Over the year, we’ll discuss each element of the Sustainable Dealership Flywheel, and how they link to build the momentum that distinguishes a “Good to Great” dealership.

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