Aftermarket Parts

It's More Than a Tractor...

Every so often we run into a heartwarming story about a tractor. That's what happened this morning as we were searching for some news about tractor parts. Farmall H It was a great restoration story out of Lawrence Township, Ohio. If you want to read...here you go.

Now to some folks who have lived all their lives in the city that might not click. However, for those of us who have spent time on the farm...we get it. Who among us doesn't remember their first tractor? Mine was a Farmall Model H. Every time I see one my mind races back some 40 years and I can smell the gas, oil and grease. It's like that for so many of us.

So, why write a piece that talks about memories and old tractors? Because we are the people who have helped countless restorations come to life. Sure, you can look out at your salvage area and you see rusted equipment lying there waiting for the weeds. But, look again. If you concentrate you can see a field of opportunity. Of course you'll sell some parts to people you've never met. You'll sell parts to farmers who come to you to get through another season. But, you'll also sell parts to folks who are bringing back a memory.

We'd like to hear your stories. We know that you've got 'em. Hook us up with a recent (or maybe not so recent) restoration project that your company helped with. We'd like to take some time and tell the story. Send me 50 words on your story and some contact names. We'll get it done.

You see, it's more than just parts...

Thanks for being a member of the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association...it matters.


Online Sales Smash Retail Sales

For years many of our National Tractor Parts Dealer Association members found value in adding e-commerce to their sales efforts. Sure, it was a difficult Online Add to Carttransition and it cost money to staff call centers and online chat professionals but it has paid off because online sales are crushing traditional retail efforts. How do we know?

Let's look at one example...Wal-Mart. 

Retail giant Wal-Mart reported solid fourth-quarter results last week with the U.S. business producing another quarter of comparable-sales growth. But the star of the show was e-commerce. Get this, U.S. online sales for Wal-Mart soared by 29% year-over-year, an acceleration driven by the company's investments in the acquisition of Jet.com. E-commerce is still small relative to Wal-Mart's brick-and-mortar operations, but that won't remain true for long.

According to the Department of Commerce in 2016 total e-commerce sales in the United States rose by 15.1%. And that is far faster than the overall 2.9% growth in total retail sales.

We understand that our members are not Wal-Mart however the trend is clear. Your customer is just as likely to come from five states away than five miles away and those numbers will continue to grow. Your challenge is finding a way to build your digital business while continuing to serve your local consumer. It can be done and many of our members have been very successful in their marketing efforts.

If you would like to share your thoughts...please do!

 


"Where Can I Get Parts?"

Recently Rachel Gingell wrote a blog piece for Farms.com and she said this truly was a key question before a person buys a used tractor. "Before you buy a used older model/antique tractor, ask yourself this single most important question: where can I get parts?" You can read that article here.

Woman QuestionsShe went on to say there are many different kinds of parts and many different outlets and she did mention salvage yards, "If something big like an axle breaks, a salvage yard is often the best place to get a replacement for an older-model tractor."

We wish she would have done a search for "Used Tractor Parts" or "Used Ag Parts" because the NTPDA website would have popped up and she (and any buyer of a used or older model tractor) would have learned more about our members and our association and the availability of parts.

Our National Tractor Parts Dealer Association (NTPDA) not only can find "something big" but we can also get aftermarket parts, rebuilt parts...you know...tractor parts.

In addition because of the wide range of member dealers and associate members we can put machinery owners in touch with the part they are looking for not only online but also in person. The members of NTPDA have talented and knowledgeable counter and phone staff that have been in the business for decades and can often answer the question before the caller gets the full question asked.

So, yes, Rachel is right, a buyer better have a place where he or she can be assured that the part is available. And that's why we exist. That buyer should come into contact with NTPDA. We've got you covered!


All My Bags Are Packed...

We know, it's going to be like an ear-worm when you sing just that line from "Leavin' on a Jet Plane". The National Tractor Parts Dealer Association 33rd  Jet
Annual Conference and Trade Show is just days away. Here are a couple of updates for you:

Shuttle Service - If you need a ride from the airport to the hotel we are using the Super Shuttle App head there for more information.

Wednesday 18 January - If you are displaying you can set up in the trade show area between 2pm and 5pm. Then it's on to our Early Arrival Party that will be held at Charlie Wants a Burger on the Riverwalk. This is always a great time and we'll even have live entertainment during our event.

Thursday 19 January - If you are not yet finished setting up your display in the trade show area you've got time between 7am and 3pm. We'll kick things off with breakfast (remember your breakfast ticket) at 8am and then it's off to learn some valuable information from D.J. Harrington who is going to give us a "Check Up From the Neck Up" really critical things that can help your business grow and prosper. Then Mel Kleiman will hold our San Antonio Speakersfeet to the fire with his program, "Hire Tough - Manage Easy". The entire program is based on how to better recruit and retain employees...you asked for it!  Spouses who have come to San Antonio get to head out for "Art & Dine". Yes! Then we'll focus on digital marketing with Crystal Washington. What is it and how does it work and how can you track effectiveness. Crystal is with us between 2pm and 3pm. We'll kick up our heels a bit at the "Welcome to San Antonio Party" and celebrate the opening of our Trade Show. The action gets underway at 5pm and rolls through the evening!

Friday 20 January - We'll so some networking over coffee (much needed) starting at 8am and then our trade show doors open at 9am to give you a full day of "Meet & Greet" with our supply members. We'll break at 11am for our Annual Meeting and election of Board Members and then have lunch in the trade show area. The trade show winds up and we'll have our Display Meeting at 3:30pm. We hope our Board Members will attend. Next you'll get to take some time off and get ready for our cocktails, dinner and entertainment by the Jackie Myers Band!

It's all about education, meeting friends, doing business and having a great time.

Wheels up!  See you in San Antonio!


A Perfect Storm for Used Parts?

A "perfect storm" may be brewing in farming communities that could have a direct impact on the used agricultural parts industry. In a report published by the Perfect Storm Road USDA this month we learn that, once again, farmland values in the "Farm Belt" have slipped. Lenders have seen another 2% drop in the value of an acre of farm ground. The reason is low commodity prices which, in Iowa alone, will cost farmers $2 billion in income this crop year. The other issue is the rise in oil prices. In just the past week we've seen a barrel of crude go from near $40 to knocking on the door of $50. We are all aware that agriculture uses an abundance of petroleum products from fertilizer to fuel.

All of this, if we pay attention, may signal an opportunity for the used, rebuilt, re-manufactured parts business.

When farmers see the economic reality of lower prices and higher inputs they begin to re-think their spending patterns. If, for example, they can save several thousand dollars on repairs this fall it's money in their pocket.

This has a direct impact on members of NTPDA if we start telling our story. Farmers have long been independent do-it-yourself experts. And when they realize the economics of doing business with you...you are more likely to increase your business.

But, they have to know about you and how you can help so here are three things you might consider over the next several weeks.

  • Share the Story - If you are using social media you should start telling your story about being an independent business who can assist the agricultural community through this economic downturn;
  • Your Website - If you have, and you should have, a call to action on your website you should use that space to highlight the savings and benefits of doing business with you and how you can provide high quality service at lower prices. If you have a business blog (and you should) consider pointing that call to action to the story about how you can help;
  • Media Connections - We all have local newspapers or radio stations. You should consider writing a quick piece about the economics of the farm economy and then pitch that to the media outlets. They are always looking for solid stories that impact their listeners or readers.

You have an excellent story to tell and people are seeking answers.  Go get 'em!


Using All the Tools

We enjoy finding news about our NTPDA Members and when we were checking the Internet came across this great article from The Detroit News about our
Steiner Logoassociate member Steiner Tractor Parts.  If you want to go and read the article go ahead but promise to come back!

What we liked about this was how well the article focused on the lifestyle of repairing old tractors and how that hobby has grown into a huge business: "What started as a four-page flyer...has grown into a 616 page phone-book size catalog..."  This is also a great example of something called "Earned Media" or sharing a story with reporters and then following up to make sure it's carried.  Remember this is in The Detroit News, not a rural publication but valuable in helping them build their brand.

And that's not all. A visit to the Steiner Tractor Parts website told us their crew is using all the marketing tools they can to increase their "findability". From Pinterest (Yes...Pinterest!) to Facebook and YouTube our friends at Steiner understand that marketing to multiple segments of the community pays off.

We just thought you might find it interesting and helpful as you continue to build your online and in person business.

Hope you had a fantastic Independence Day Holiday!


Not So Rosy Down on the Farm

The numbers are staggering.  According to the USDA Farm sector profitability is forecast to decline for the Harvest Imagethird straight year. U.S. net cash farm income is forecast at $90.9 billion, down about 2.5 percent from the 2015 forecast levels. Net farm income is forecast to be $54.8 billion in 2016, down 3 percent. If realized, 2016 net farm income would be the lowest since 2002 (in both real and nominal terms) and a drop of 56 percent from its recent high of $123.3 billion in 2013.

So what?

Farmers all across the United States will be seeking ways in which to hold down their costs just to break even with last year. There isn't much they can do when it comes to seed and inputs but there is plenty they can do when it comes to fixing and repairing their equipment.

This is a golden opportunity to increase your sales and your standing in the agricultural community.  How? It may take some work but here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Let Farmers Know - Don't expect that all farmers know about you and your business. Take some time, and some cash, and let farmers know that you exist. That can come in the form of paid advertising or in social media; 
  • Focus on Cost Benefit - If you offer free shipping, quick delivery or any number of added value options make sure your customers are aware;
  • Create a Call to Action - Not every visitor coming to your website knows exactly what to do. Make it easy for the visitor to go to the right place. Tell the visitor if you have live chat or a message service where you can answer their questions quickly and accurately. Consumers often need to be told "what to do".

The downturn in farm income is real and when you reach out to your customers and let them know you understand and you are willing to help...you'll boost your brand and your sales.

 


It's Time to Save Money!

The month is going by quickly and that means the opportunity for NTPDA Members to save some money is Man Throwing Moneyalso fading.  The Kansas City Annual Meeting and Trade Show promises to be one of the best values we've ever provided. Each day of the event is full of useful information and step-by-step ways to help you increase your business revenue.

From networking tools to a full fledged seminar on increasing business income the trip to Kansas City is going to be exciting.

Something that you may not realize...your association has been working for months on the programming. We've not hired expensive talent that will charm you with stories but we have reached out to professionals who have been working on the program for months.

And you get it with your registration.  Oh...and save some money if you register before November 30th. So, don't wait...put some money in your pocket by registering early and then build your business to higher levels with the information and take-a-way products you'll receive in Kansas City.

Oh...did we mention...fun?

Here, once again, is the link for Early Bird Registration.  Go on...click through.

Thanks for reading and we look forward to seeing you in Kansas City!


Sometimes New is Scary!

We understand, trying something "new" can be scary. But, what if that new KC Picture oneexperience helped you become a better manager, business owner, salesperson?  That's what we've got in store for you in Kansas City during our Annual Meeting and Trade Show

All summer long we've been working on bringing our members the highest quality training in things like:

  • Networking - Sure we've all "done it" but our kick-off speaker Danny Beyer knows how to MAXIMIZE your networking experience and make it worthwhile;
  • Sales - What if you were able to add 50% to your bottom line? OK, how about 30% if you try. We'll share proven methods on how to get there;
  • Marketing - Yes, we know you already know how to do that but if you had a plan might you be able to do it better? We'll help you write that marketing plan...on the spot.

OK so it all looks like work right?  Not exactly. We've got some fun scheduled for you as well.

NTPDA_Logo_CamoBut, right now...SAVE the DATE of January 20 - 23, 2016 because we're going to meet up in Kansas City!

And...nope, we're not spilling the BOOT CAMP beans just...yet.

 


How Can We Help?

Man ExclaimYou've no doubt heard it said, "People do business with people they know and trust!" and it's true. That's one of the reasons the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association exists.  We're here to help create a relationship between people; with the goal being business growth.

That effort, now decades old, has provided positive business to business relationships all across the globe. Folks in countries, states and provinces now, because of NTPDA, are friends, business partners and sometimes competitors.

When we link our common goal of increasing business to each other we all are better off. So, this year, let's make it a point to respond to membership in the NTPDA not as an expense but as an investment in doing business...better.

Soon we'll be gathering for the Summer Board Meeting, this year in Sioux Falls, South Dakota to plan for the coming months and our Annual Training and Trade Show in 2016.  Between now and then let us help you in making connections, learning more about the industry and building relationships with each other.

Sound like a plan?

If you have not yet joined us on Facebook do so today?  And you can also follow us on Twitter @NTPDA.  Easy huh?