Portland, OR - One of the top John Deere dealerships in the nation, 12-location Everglades Farm Equipment in Florida started in 1963. Like most great successes, the dealership started with humble beginnings – the original founder owned the Schlechter radish farm in Glades County. The decision to sell that farm and form a tractor dealership led to the business that is still run today by members of the third-generation Schlechter family.
Bo Schlechter, grandson of the company's founder, is the Internet Sales Coordinator.
"We treat our customers right, and we work hard from top to bottom, in any every department of our business," Schlechter says of the dealership's culture. "Those values stem from our family values. We treat everyone like family."
That strategy has clearly worked for them. Achieving their notable status came at a cost – they made sacrifices and chose to constantly re-invest their finances in order to grow the dealership for future generations.
Schlechter, unlike many others in the agricultural trade, understands that his dealership needs to adapt. While others in his industry are accustomed to doing things "the old way," in person or by phone, Schlechter knows that won't always be the case.
"The industry is changing dramatically, and our website is quickly becoming much more important," Schlechter explains.
It took convincing among managers to invest in the dealership's web presence. Schlechter calls it a "cultural change" – understanding that more people are shopping for agricultural equipment online.
The Florida dealer's previous website was not a contributing factor to success in sales. Corporate Sales Manager Josh Coffman contacted Dealer Spike for help just over one year ago. "The rest of our team was not very in tune with what we needed back then," Schlechter says.
His team chose Dealer Spike particularly due to specialized knowledge in serving dealerships, in addition to other Dealer Spike/John Deere dealer websites that they were impressed with.
"There is absolutely a noticeable change we've seen. Lead generation is number one," Schlechter says of the new website. "Now it's a place to do business, rather than just gain information."
Schlechter credits the site's lead forms and call-to-action buttons for communication with customers they would have otherwise lost. He also commended Dealer Spike's support team, citing excellent service and saying there is "nothing like it."
"Our team works hard to apply industry-specific knowledge and dealership-focused digital tools," says Jay Mason, CEO of Dealer Spike. "We are proud and honored to be working with one of the largest and most successful agricultural equipment dealers in the country."
The dealership has implement additional services as well, such as Search Engine Optimization and Reputation Management, to further enhance results. "Our monthly reports are always positive," Schlechter says. "Dealer Spike is always eager to help us get things done."
Although there was no way of tracking leads on the old website, Schlechter says that he has seen a dramatic increase in leads as a result of Everglades Farm Equipment's partnership with Dealer Spike.