How a Mahindra Dealer Broke Sales Records During the Pandemic
In 2020, the pandemic hit dealers hard. Supply chain disruptions, labor shortages and even natural disasters meant that many dealers weren’t able to move as much product as they normally would.
But despite the difficulties, one dealership managed to still have a record-breaking year. Goff’s Equipment Services, Inc., a family-owned dealership in Litchfield, CT, reached a long-term sales goal—and have continued to grow since.
We spoke with Tim Goff, General Manager at Goff’s Equipment Services, Inc. to learn how they have grown their business despite challenges and changes in the market.
Can you tell us a bit about Goff’s Equipment Service, Inc. and what sets it apart from the competition?
Tim: My father and I started the business in September of 2007. We bought an existing farm and power equipment dealership. Within two and a half years we had outgrown that location and we were seeking a bigger location, in the next town over of Litchfield. So, we bought the property and moved the store up here in March of 2010, and we’ve been here since.
Every year we’ve seen progressive growth. We’ve added new lines to help sustain that growth.
What sets us apart from our local competition is our aggressive advertising. Customer service is also huge, and we’ve got excellent people here that really go above and beyond for our customers in inventory. In today’s world where you can go on Amazon, and you can order and have it in two days. People like that quick turnaround. We have the ability to do so because we stock so deep on our inventory with the different lines we have here.
Mahindra was a line that we had added in 2016 and that’s been a great addition.
Tell me a bit about the Mahindra products you sell. Why did you decide to focus on this manufacturer?
Tim: We were and still are a Massey Ferguson dealer, but we were looking for a brand that would help us grow. We wanted to consistently sell well over 100 compact tractors a year. So, in an effort to try to get to that point, we needed a line that could provide us with more product. And I had a friend that had taken Mahindra on a few years earlier, and he suggested that we do the same.
It’s been a great addition to our lineup. Mahindra has supported us well and the product has really held up well. What we found was if you do a good pre-delivery inspection on the equipment before it heads out to the customer, we found very few issues after they leave. It’s been a great partnership between the two of us.
We grabbed a lot of inventory and put a lot on display and consequently, it helped us last year to sell over 100 tractors.
What were you looking for when shopping around for a DMS? Why did you pick Ideal?
Tim: We chose Ideal in 2011. The dealership we bought was basically from the 80s. They had no computer system, and the parts manager would sit there every day for hours on end, keeping track of inventory through a card system.
When we moved up here, we were using QuickBooks point of sale at the time but we just outgrew that program and its capabilities. So, we started investigating different business systems and Ideal was easy for us to plug-and-play with what we were doing here.
We’ve been growing with Ideal, adding users. My staff really likes it because it makes life so much easier for them. It’s easy to keep track of inventory customer history and the speed of it has been fantastic. Adding Mahindra into our lineup has made things very easy for my guys to be able to look up parts and whole goods and plug them into Ideal.
What are some ways that Ideal helps you manage your Mahindra product line?
Tim: All the Mahindra products are already entered into Ideal for us when we load up a new price list, and it’s up to date with current pricing. So, it’s really easy for my guys to plug in a part number and give the current, up-to-date price—which has been very difficult over the last several months with COVID. It’s nice knowing that Ideal is there for us, to keep us up to date with current pricing, and current part numbers.
On the work order side, it’s been fantastic because it allows us to plug in the whole good and keep track of it when it comes in for service. My technicians love the program. I just hired a new technician, who came from another dealer. They were very paper-based. They didn’t do a lot with work orders on a computer. He was nervous about coming into a computer program where he would have to punch in and out every day and find work orders. But in a matter of two and a half days of working here, he picked it up. He was very impressed with how quickly he was able to acclimate to Ideal. So, it’s a testament to how easy Ideal really is to use.
Can you tell us more about the advertising tactics you use?
Tim: Every ad nowadays is the same stuff. It’s the same car ad with the same dollar-per-month payment. It’s boring and you gotta do something to stand out. So, we do a lot of ridiculous, funny ads, and we use friends of the family that do our acting for us. It has really helped us stand out. Of course, we’re on Facebook, Instagram, Google AdWords – we do a lot of online advertising as well.
We didn’t do a lot of advertising for years and then when we did, we got into it and thought, boy we spent a lot of money on this, and we should scale it back. But it was the biggest mistake we ever made. So, we got into doing heavy advertising several years ago and it has worked out tenfold for us. It speaks volumes about how much advertising can really change your company.
Through Ideal we can track our co-op reimbursements, our inventory statements. We have several charts of accounts for our advertising and the different places that we advertise. So, it’s made my life a lot easier. I don’t have to stress about buying, I don’t have to stress about co-op submissions, and I can easily look at the income statement at the end of the month and know okay, we’re spending what we should be spending, and we’re getting the money back from our vendors that we’re supposed to be.
Why made you decide to go all-in on advertising?
Tim: Years ago, I was told by a dealer improvement company that you should spend two to four percent of your gross annual sales on advertising. I thought that was a huge number. But I went for it. I said, we’re going to give it a shot. I spent three and a half percent my first year of our gross and it was a lot of money but consequently, our business grew like you couldn’t believe.
I’ve been following that since and every year we have grown. In uncertain years like last year especially, the beginning of COVID, we didn’t know what to expect. But it has just been absolutely incredible as far as what it has done for our company. Sure, there are some months where paying that advertising bill can be difficult but I know in the long run it has completely changed our business.
Do you have any advice for other dealers shopping for a dealer management system?
Tim: My advice for anybody else who’s shopping around is, definitely give Ideal a good look into and if you do decide to go with Ideal, invest in the training. I would equate it to the same thing with our advertising. You may be scared to spend that money to bring somebody in and do the training. But I think the times that we have had training with Ideal have been amazing for how much you absorb in that short amount of time.
We’ve been using Ideal for close to 10 years now and I feel like we haven’t even scratched the surface as far as the capabilities of what Ideal could do for our business. Every day, I learn something new using Ideal and I know my guys do too.
Ready to learn more about how Ideal can help you hit your sales goal? Reach out and we’ll be happy to talk to you.