Each monthly episode features a one-on-one dialog with an industry guest who brings market insights, business ideas, and best practices for the IEDA member. Listen in for a new perspective about trends, current events, financials and innovations affecting the sales and rentals of heavy construction equipment.
Episode 38 - Steve Fooy - Secrets to Fleet Management Excellence
No one goes to college to become a fleet manager and no one is just born with those skills, laughs fleet expert Steve Fooy. But once you’re in it, you discover there are basic protocols, knowledge, measurements, and skills that must be applied to ensure the company’s fleet itself runs like a well-oiled machine.
Fooy has managed many millions of dollars worth of assets throughout his 38-year equipment career, which included various fleet leadership positions for two national rental companies, two Caterpillar dealerships, two national construction companies, and a U.S.-based energy company. During that time, he managed fleets for public and private companies in multiple locations and with various levels of fleet investment.
It’s safe to say he’s seen it all. Once he retired, he began his next chapter as an instructor for the financial side of the Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP) certification program – that was 12 years ago and he’s still leading the popular two-day course that equips fleet managers with all the financial fundamentals for success.
And what does an independent dealer with a rental fleet need to know that his or her contractor customer also needs? Everything, says Fooy – from types of cost, depreciation, and cost recovery to physical/time/dollar/financial utilizations and budgets. “Equipment management is more than purchasing and maintaining equipment,” he says. “In most cases, these investments in equipment is one of the largest investments a company makes … and it required a trained equipment manager to manage those assets.”
Tune in and pick up some lasting lessons and tips – he even gives some clues about developing relationships with public/municipal-type customers.
Episode 37 - Troy Harrison: Sales Trends You Cannot Ignore
What do you think about when you consider the subject of AI and your business – or more specifically, AI and your sales team? No question, the latest mainstream artificial intelligence offerings like Chat GPT have “skills,” but they don’t outperform what your people can do in terms of empathy, building relationships, asking great questions, and intuitively thinking on the spot.
AI is just one of four huge trends that are altering the landscape of sales. Our guest this month, Troy Harrison – “the Sales Navigator” – is a truth-telling sales trainer who’s breaking down some realities that maybe you’re aware of but either don’t have time for or don’t want to think about. But ignoring them could mean you potentially get left behind, so here’s an opportunity to consider what’s going on today with technology, your current salespeople, prospective new sales recruits, and your buyers/renters.
Got some windshield time in the near future? Pull up the podcast on your car speaker and hear what Troy has to say!
This conversation is positively loaded with relevant and ingenious insight that you can totally swipe right now for your equipment business. We hope it whets your appetite for more, because Troy is a guest speaker at the IEDA Annual Meeting in Orlando, February 16-18, 2024. Registration opens October 25!
Episode 36 - Everything Speaks – So What Is It Saying? featuring Doug Johnson
Experiences happen to your customers, no matter what. They just do. But ask yourself: Are my customers’ experiences with my business happening by design … or by default. The choice is yours.
Customer experience expert Doug Johnson is this month’s featured podcast guest, and his wisdom, creativity, and stories will blow you away – or, more important, will hopefully inspire you to put fresh eyes on your equipment business and apply your own creativity in ways that could totally separate you from the crowd. Would anyone know the difference if a competitor’s name was swapped into your marketing phrases? What really makes you memorable, or even famous? These things are within your control, Johnson says, and he’s about to show you how.
Everything in your business speaks, he adds, so what’s it saying? And what do you want it to say? Johnson, who is currently the patient experience officer at a major Midwest hospital, has worked in major league sports, retail, restaurants, and has even trained Santas. He may not talk your equipment language, but he’s the ultimate universal translator of customer-speak – listen in for an eye-opening discussion that could change your business.
Episode 35 - Facebook Marketing That’s ‘Absolutely Astounding’ featuring Jared McGaffee
Independent dealers thrive on the pursuit of getting in front of more and more of the right people – expanding their reach to new people who buy what they’re selling. The bigger the relevant radius you can engage, the more you sell.
IEDA Member Jared McGaffee, owner at Skye Equipment, says he isn’t a marketing expert, but he will tell you that marketing equipment on Facebook has changed his business. Learning the Facebook tools that enable highly specific target marketing has been nothing short of “absolutely astounding,” he says, and in this episode, he talks about what he’s doing that has empowered his Asheboro, North Carolina, company to capture business up and down the whole East Coast and into Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
One effective strategy is daily updates, which have produced almost-immediate results. That’s because his content is being served to a demographic that wants to see it – something Facebook marketers are able to control.
From tips and cautions to spending and the “who’s gonna manage this” question, McGaffee generously pours a solid foundation for those who want to get started. What’s the most important thing to do? Listen in for the big takeaways!
Episode 34 - Hang On To Your Rental Fleet – and Make Sure It’s Protected featuring Jayme Bates
Do you always know who you’re renting to? This month’s guest says vetting your rental customers is one of the most important things you can do to avoid serious losses from fraud and uninsured contractors.
Jayme Bates, CEO of JT Bates, has over 13 years of experience as an insurance producer and an extensive background in accounting and contracts. Her dedication to the dealers she works with sets her in this industry – join us for a first-hand look at what dealers in the equipment rental business need to prioritize to protect their assets and their business.
This includes a damage waiver – which has important revenue advantages – as well as the all-important management of customer insurance certificates. Listen in as she spells it all out.
Bates also discusses recent claims trends to be away of – including one simple, inexpensive item that should be attached to every piece of heavy machinery you rent. It could make the difference between minor damage and a total loss.
Episode 33 - A Look at the Market & A Look in the Mirror featuring James Hamilton
Is your dealership leaking leads?
This month’s IEDA podcast guest says data shows there’s a good chance your company is missing web inquiries and maybe even mishandling phone call inquiries. James Hamilton is the senior product manager at Randall Reilly, and his time with us in the virtual studio is jammed with great data and advice.
Pull up a chair (or your steering wheel) and listen in to fresh info about the customer mindset and buying and selling patterns, as well as rental market insights, dealer business opportunities, and some serious straight talk and best practices about creating excellent customer experience.
One of James’ favorite quotes comes from Mike Vorster, the author of Construction Equipment Economics, who said, “The best decisions occur when your intuition, your experience and your analytics jive.” James has used that philosophy to become intimately familiar with the needs of contractors when it comes to equipment ownership, operating costs, disposition and rent versus owning decisions. Lucky for us, he likes to share what he knows.
Randall Reilly Website: https://equipmentwatch.com
Episode 32 - Five Mistakes Sales Reps Make & How to Rescue Them Featuring Elliott Vigil
If your sales reps were sea lions, would you find them reclining at Sea World while gulping fish tossed into their mouths … or would they be out doing the hard work, hunting and surviving in the treacherous ocean depths? Tune in as our guest, Elliott Vigil, helps you think about how to help all your reps stay on their game.
Everyone makes mistakes – what you don’t want is for a sales rep’s mistake to turn into a rut or a bad habit. Of course, you have to see what’s happening before you can intervene, and that’s where Vigil comes in. He was a top performer with Ahern Rentals before it was acquired by United Rentals, and he’s seen it all. He knows the pitfalls, and as a past regional and general manager, he understands how to help reps keep growing.
In this episode, Vigil identifies five common mistakes salespeople can slip into – and what the sales manager can do to correct their course. Whether it’s getting too comfy and pumping the brakes, not following up with all their accounts, or perhaps struggling with good time management, unproductive thinking and behavior has no place in the sales team. Listen in and walk away with some positive ideas to coach reps into the best version of themselves. Vigil offers good resources for management, too.
Episode 31 - Performance Comparisons Make You Stronger featuring Garry Bartecki
Episode 30 - Used Demand & Pricing Holding Firm Featuring Jarrett Harris
In our third interview with Jarrett Harris, he fills us in on highlights from OTR’s latest Used Heavy Equipment Report. Harris, who is director of Cyclicals Research at Off the Record, provides fresh insight on used equipment supply and pricing, auction outcomes from February, plus a first-hand report from his personal interviews at ARA’s Rental Show last month.
What kind of pricing correction is likely to occur in Q2 – Q3 of 2023? Is rental overtaking market share from used equipment purchasing? Is new equipment supply loosening and how is used supply affected?
Find out what dealers, OEMs, and other channel players have been talking about as we explore the Q1 status and make educated guesses for the next couple of quarters. A visit with Harris never disappoints.
Episode 29 - Inside the Mind of a Future Service Tech Featuring Cody Bork
Meet the affable, insightful Cody Bork, the youngest member of the faculty at Western Technical College’s Diesel and Heavy Equipment program in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. In this episode, he talks about the motivations and expectations of students training to become the next generation of service techs in the construction equipment industry.
And he should know. Not only does he spend five days a week with his students for two years, but he himself graduated from this program – he brings an insider look into the skilled workforce shortage and how independent equipment dealers can play an active role in both supporting students and steering them toward their own companies after graduation.
Bork was formerly the night shift lead mechanic for a national fleet of tractor/trailers. He then taught at Western part-time and was soon hired on as a full-time instructor.
Visit Western Technical College: https://www.westerntc.edu/
Episode 28 - Make Your Website a Sales Rep Superstar Featuring Jessica Galfas
Is your website doing its job, pulling its weight as a member of your sales team? Is it meeting your goals? Before you answer that, consider first of all: Do you have identifiable, measurable objectives for your website? Does it have a job description – do you know what you want it to do for your equipment business?
Whether you answer yes or no, you’re going to pull valuable advice and ideas from this month’s guest, Jessica Galfas, founder of Galfas Media LLC. We asked her to review 10 IEDA member websites, and her assessment, coupled with her web and marketing proficiency, provide the foundation for a rich conversation about how to take your website to the next level, no matter where it is today.
We’re talking practical, doable, logical stuff that makes a positive, professional impression on website visitors and gives them what they’re looking for fast. Galfas, one of IEDA’s “I Know A Pro” expert at iedagroup.com who works with many IEDA members, gives you food for thought about branding, how your website functions and looks on mobile devices, how to be a value- giver, and much more.
Got some windshield time coming up? Play this podcast on your phone and listen to something that can strengthen your digital sales bench in 2023.
Galfas Media Website: https://jessicagalfas.com/
Connect with Jessica on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jgalfas/
Episode 27 - Do’s and Don’ts of Section 179 Featuring Steve Pierson
Section 179 of the IRS tax code has been around for decades, and it can be an effective strategy for lowering your tax liability year to year. In this program, find out what the deduction limit is for the 2022 tax year, and learn the nuances of Bonus Depreciation and how it differs from Section 179.
Using these tools comes with rules, and it can get confusing – that’s why we’re talking to tax expert, Steve Pierson, shareholder/partner at Selden Fox accounting firm in Oak Brook, Illinois. He’s been educating equipment dealers for decades … and was a featured panelist at IEDA’s 2022 Annual Meeting last February.
Section 179 has great implications for an independent dealer’s rental fleet, and it can be a great incentive to drive year-end sales this month. Do your customers know that the equipment they buy from you is tax deductible? Learn what’s new, what kind of equipment qualifies, and how to take advantage of this small business tax benefit.
Episode 26 - Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst Featuring James Waite
The Fed has far from finished adjusting interest rates to slow the economy and stave off recession, but a downturn has already begun, says attorney James Waite, our guest on this thought-provoking episode. He may specialize in law, but he’s about to give your business a lesson in self-defense.
Waite’s practice in the Denver, Colorado, area is the premier resource for contractual law in the construction equipment industry, and during our interview he raises several strategic considerations that could protect you when customers begin to struggle financially or go bankrupt, which he expects will occur in a wave in 2023. What you don’t know about new laws, litigation, and liens could cost you entire pieces of equipment, so pull up a seat and listen in.
He’s also providing insight about Rental Purchase Options, underscoring benefits to both contractors and independent dealers during economic turmoil, as well as insight to make sure your RPO contracts protect you in the worst-case scenario.
Bottom line, as conditions decline overall and for the construction industry specifically, and people become more desperate in the coming quarters of ’23, new and unexpected ways of taking what’s yours or leaving you holding the bag will crop up. Right now is the time to plan and get your house in order, including all your business’s contracts.
James Waite Law: https://www.jameswaitelaw.com/
Episode 25 - Sales Tax Nasties featuring Jim Margner
State sales tax laws are numerous and complex, and when January 2023 rolls in, every state in the country will officially have its own economic nexus laws on the books when Missouri’s statutes come into effect. What’s even more concerning is the gusto with which states are aggressively enforcing nexus tax legislation, which means if you don’t know if you’re in compliance and you’re hoping they don’t find out, you could be in for some unpleasant surprises.
Enter the state sales tax pro who can shed light on this complicated area of the used equipment business – he’s Jim Margner, and he’s known for educating equipment dealers and helping to get them out of state tax messes.
In this month’s show, Jim defines things like nexus, Wayfair, exemption certificates, and tax liability issues surrounding drop-shippers. If it sounds like Greek to you, tune in for a clear explanation and the FYIs that can keep your business out of tax penalty doo-doo.
M & A Tax Solutions: http://www.mnataxsolutions.com/jim-margner.html
Episode 24 - Equipment Theft and the 'Shrek Effect' Featuring Melissa Somers
Stolen cars, on average, are recovered at a rate of over 85%. Conversely, only about 20% of stolen construction equipment is recovered. Additionally, equipment theft is on the rise. Typically a crime of opportunity, stealing equipment became a new pastime for idle hands during the pandemic, and now that economic downturn is upon us, more machines are disappearing. Now’s the time to get vigilant about protecting your own fleet.
In this month’s interview, Melissa Somers, executive director of the Crime Prevention Program of Southern California, goes over the many tools and strategies of theft prevention every dealer should have in place––what she calls the Shrek Effect. Just as ogres have layers, it’s the combination of multiple layers of technology, machine marking, developing the right relationships, and common sense protocols that makes your equipment a harder target.
Think you know what to do if your machine is stolen while on rent to your customer? There may be some surprises that you’ll be wise to think through before it ever happens. Somers will get you thinking about your rental contracts and what you might want to check and modify to more thoroughly protect your rental assets.
Episode 23 - Get Control of Your Balance Sheet Featuring Garry Bartecki
Construction equipment industry financial guru Garry Bartecki is the Category-of-One expert you want to pay attention to in times like these – soaring inflation, rising interest rates, crazy fuel prices, a labor market in crisis, and a recessionary economic environment, not to mention Washington’s alarming focus on adding a small army of armed IRS agents. Even if you’re not feeling pain yet, warnings from 2008 echo from the grave: Everything is fine, until it isn’t.
Here’s the conversation that puts you and your balance sheet under the microscope as a way to proactively keep your equipment business in business. We’re talking cash, bank covenants, budgets, tax issues, rentals, new lease accounting rules that will affect you this year, and lots more. Garry did his homework and brings all his timely notes, lists and cautions to help you plan right now. Don’t kid yourself – doing nothing means you’re doing the wrong thing.
Get some wise competitive, strategic survival advice ahead of the storm and batten down the hatches – or in non-sailor layman’s terms, CYA!
Episode 22 - Shysters Will Find The Dirt Featuring Mike Bell
Got company vehicles on the road? Then don’t miss this month’s conversation about a serious but preventable problem that could cost you a bundle- or even put you out of business.
Insurance broker Mike Bell, CEO of Robert Bell Insurance, cautions IEDA members on the potential fallout of a blemished DOT record, which starts with voracious injury lawyers who are prepared to pounce if one of your delivery vehicles is involved in an accident, but it doesn’t stop there. Since prospective customers can access your DOT record, any violations could even result in lost rental business or sales.
What kinds of violations do you need to guard against? And how far can an ounce of prevention really go? Find out how to protect yourself from enormous jury awards, even if you don’t have a big administrative staff or HR department.
Episode 21 - Would You Buy Someone Out To Gain Rental Units and Parts? Featuring Jarrett Harris
Along with the rest of the world, the equipment business is becoming a strange twilight zone in which independents are experiencing price euphoria on the one hand and evaporating inventory to sell and rent on the other, not to mention the scarcity of parts and labor.
Jarrett Harris, director of Cyclicals Research at OTR (Off the Record), returns to the program to put some perspective on what’s happening in terms of pace of sales, zany pricing, global events, contractor behavior, and more.
Throughout the distribution channel, OE dealers, rental houses, and independents are doing what they must to survive, and that invariably is beginning to drive some consolidation––for example, we may see more occurrences of a rental company or independent dealer being acquired so the buyer can gain some assets to rent and machines to cannibalize for parts.
Listen in for some food for thought on whether you’ll eat or be eaten if the supply chain remains unchanged a year from now.
Episode 20 - We Need to Talk...To Each Other Featuring Marlin Smith
What does IEDA need more of? IDEA SHARING. So says IEDA founding board member Marlin Smith, owner of TKO Equipment.
Listen in as he discusses some of the big challenges independent dealers are wrestling with today, from customer rental expectations to machine and part shortages––as well as perhaps the most formidable obstacle: being handcuffed by OEMs and authorized dealers when it comes to independents’ ability to repair their own rental units.
With limited political and financial clout compared to the deep pockets of manufacturers that are fighting to be exempt from any Right to Repair legislation or executive orders, IEDA members’ best tool right now is each other. Smith opines on today’s issues and why––despite members’ entrepreneurial tendency to keep their cards to the vest––it’s more important than ever for independent dealers to get together, stick together, and share information.
Podcast 19 - Build Your List, Sell Your Brand! Featuring Bret Creech
Look over the shoulder of fellow IEDA member Bret Creech to see some simple tools and ideas he uses to widen his prospect net and make it easier for equipment buyers to find and communicate with him. He’s got a funky business name – Mr. Machinaria– and his business card reflects a daredevil level of creative branding.
Early in his career, Creech worked for two different Cat dealers’ used equipment departments. He also spent about six years in South America, which has played nicely into defining some of his niche target audience today. He quickly adopted a mindset of capturing every contact and keeping in front of prospects digitally on a regular basis. You’ll hear how and why he segments his list, too.
Savvy and strategic, he shares his tactics and preferences for selling equipment using social media and selling his brand with email marketing, plus some website tips. And if you want his help, you’ll also find out about his consulting work with dealers.
Podcast 18 - Are You a Student of the Game? Featuring Larry Kaye
Winning deals, rental contracts, parts and service sales, and customer loyalty does not happen accidentally. Rental entrepreneur and dealer consultant Larry Kaye says if you want to win consistently, you need to follow the example of pro coaches who remarkably and consistently win – no matter how many times they move from team to team. They do so because they committed to being a student of the game.
All things being equal, the equipment dealer who becomes the go-to source in his market is the dealer who possesses full visibility of his business, has continuous access to the Voice of the Customer, and can clearly define his operation’s Unique Selling Proposition (aka his value in the marketplace). Listen in as Kaye raises important points about getting your team involved and harnessing your own data. He’s also got one of the best Trojan Horse ideas ever for getting your customers to do some powerful marketing for you … and they don’t even know it.
Kaye is CEO of the consulting firm Script Intl, and he has over 30 years of experience in the construction equipment industry.
Episode 17 - The Dealer’s Easiest Tool to Retain Customers and Grow Business Featuring Steve Clegg
How can you slow the continuous churn-and-burn loss of customers this year? Simple, says digital marketing expert Steve Clegg: Start using a third-party service to conduct telephone Customer Satisfaction Surveys. Dealers who embrace this system can cut customer defection by over 30% while actually doubling customer transactions!
In this episode, Steve tells you not only why surveys work, he explains the top reasons customers leave you, the most important questions to ask, what to do if you receive negative feedback, and how to easily implement this vital process into your business immediately.
Ignorance isn’t bliss when it comes to how you’ve disappointed customers – in fact, what you don’t know can expedite their departure over to your competitors. Make this the year of solving problems and keeping them fixed.
Episode 16 - Take Ownership of Your People Shortage Featuring Ron Slee
The No. 1 ranking issue keeping business owners across all industries awake at night is still the problem of finding enough skilled people to fill available positions.
In this edition, renowned industry educator Ron Slee provides practical, actionable takeaways for solving the labor shortage under your own roof. Ron is one of the foremost global authorities on dealer product support and operations, so listening to him is like drinking from a fire hose – but he’s thoughtful and methodical enough to make all his ideas easy to comprehend and apply to your business.
Ron even offers clear, concise steps on how to prepare for a successful 2022. You might want to keep a pen and paper handy for this one!
Episode 15 - November Podcast Digs Into Rental Realities
Hear the lively discussion covering rental fleet replenishment challenges, labor retention and even some predictions about winter auctions.
While equipment shortages continue, what are the biggest pain points from a rental perspective? Is anyone letting go of low-hour machines from their rental fleets these days? Jarrett Harris, director of Cyclicals Research, OTR, rejoins host Kim Phelan for a Part 2 dialogue about the present markets and their supply chains––and what it all means for IEDA equipment dealers. There might not be answers yet, but Jarrett’s insights will help you see the bigger picture and think strategically for 2022.
Episode 14 - Please Stop Saying ‘Unprecedented’ (Give Me Something Useful...Like a Machine to Sell)
Episode 13 - Contractor Straight Talk: What Dealers Must Do to Earn My Rental Business
Clay Padilla is a second-generation heavy construction contractor based near Albuquerque, N.M., and a rental customer of an IEDA member dealer.
He started his Native American-owned firm at the age of 23 and has built it into a stable, growing company serving heavy civil and utility sectors, predominantly working under federal contracts on tribal land.
He graciously accepted our invitation for an interview, and while the conversation went a little longer than usual, his first-hand customer perspectives are worth every minute. Listen and learn from his likes and dislikes, priorities and pet peeves in this open, honest dialog – and ask yourself, ‘Do some of my customers feel the same way?’