A Year of Transformation and Growth

Branson Tractor received the Equipment Dealers Association’s 2020 Dealer’s Choice Award in the Tractor Manufacturer category—their first time in the top position. “There is an immense amount of pride in winning this award,” says Cody Brock, business development manager, speaking on behalf of the Branson Tractor team, “And we’d like to thank all our dealers for making us No. 1.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic has put tremendous economic pressure on businesses across the United States, Branson Tractor has managed to thrive. April and May saw the company’s highest sales numbers in the U.S. since Kukje Machinery began Branson Tractor here 22 years ago. The company also hit the record for most tractors sold.

A Year of Transformation

This past year has been transformative for Branson for another important reason. It saw a management change mid 2019, with the appointment of a new president at Branson USA, Tony Bae. With his arrival, a new philosophy is unfolding and a keen eye on national advertising and the social-media world, something that is new to Branson’s dealer and customer outreach.

The new, however, is not replacing the old. Instead, it’s a melding of the new with what has always worked. Much of Branson’s success can be attributed to their “hands-on approach,” says Brock. It’s the new president engaging on social media and channeling a service question or request he may see to the appropriate person on the Branson team, for example.

Success is also found the fact that dealers can always call Branson and talk to the same person—they never have to go through a chain of people to get to the right person or the right answer. But it doesn’t just stop at a phone call. Bae is also there to listen to dealer feedback. “If dealer has a problem, he’ll talk to the dealer directly—one on one,” adds Brock. The goal of both new and old tactics is always the same: to ensure that every dealer and every customer is properly taken care of.

Based on Quality

There is more to the Branson win than just high-touch service. “The product quality is top notch,” says Brock. “That, and product knowledge that staff has.” Many on staff have more than a decade at the company, which is an important reason they are able to grow and stand behind what they sell.

For the coming year, Branson’s aim is to maintain its first-place position. Competition is fierce, Brock admits, especially given that they are much smaller than many of their competitors, so they “put a huge emphasis” on parts and service—parts ship same day.

In addition, the silver lining to the pandemic has been a streamlining of how many dealers work, changes that Brock sees as long-lasting. To handle business with no face-to-face interaction meant that dealers focused more of their business online and through email. Financing was done electronically instead of in person. Dealers delivered product straight to the customers. “I don’t see things going back to how they used to be. Dealers like how it’s been done virtually,” he adds.

And now that businesses are opening back up, Branson’s business is booming—up 20% over last year at this time—with many of their dealers selling out of their 20 to 40 horsepower tractors. In addition, the company is expecting a spike in new dealers onboarding, as they look to expand their businesses beyond power sports and lawnmowers to add more income to their current business.

About the Awards

The EDA Dealer’s Choice Awards are based on the results from the annual EDA Dealer-Manufacturer Relations Survey, which received input from 2,200 dealer participants in all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces to rate up to seven manufacturer lines they carry in 12 key business categories ranging from product quality to customer service. Manufacturers participating in the survey are classified in one of four different categories: full-line, short-line, tractor and outdoor power equipment.