In 1990 Ken Nelson took a chance. He parked a tractor at the edge of the road with a “For Sale” sign in the window, sold it, and then gave up the steady paycheck that came with his full-time job to start TAC Enterprises. TAC stands for “Take a Chance”, and today, that chance has paid off.
TAC, located in Moulton, AL, has grown into one of the U.S. Southeast’s largest consignment tractor and equipment auction houses, in addition to selling and servicing a full line of new equipment. TAC generates several million dollars in annual sales.
For 14 years, Nelson focused solely on selling used equipment, but took another chance in 2005. “We took on the Kioti line, which wasn’t well-known in our area, but I felt it to be the best value tractor on the market,” says Nelson. Today, TAC is one of Kioti’s most successful dealers. 2010 marked the first year the company received Kioti’s 5-Paw Dealer and Million Dollar Dealer awards, and they are on track to receive both again in 2011. “This is a big deal for us because we have a small workforce: myself, my son who manages the shop, my daughter who works part time and one other part-time employee,” says Nelson. He keeps his workforce small to provide better customer service, ensuring that when a customer has a problem, he or she will speak to a Nelson. “People love that about us,” says Nelson.
Auctions lead to sales. Consignment auctions, a cornerstone of TAC’s business, often lead to the sale of new Kioti equipment. In the early years, TAC held two auctions a year. But they grew so large that today the auctions take place each quarter, with attendance ranging from 400 to 1,000 per auction. “Customers might come to our auction looking for a used four wheel-drive tractor with a loader. If they don’t find what they are looking for, we can lead them into purchasing a new Kioti. This has worked very well as advertising for us.”
Become a “destination.” Nelson notes that TAC is located in a rural area, with very few drive-by customers. A combination of TAC’s reputation and consistent Kioti advertising in his region makes his dealership a destination for customers who are ready to buy. “If someone drives onto our lot, they are looking for something and we want to find out what it is and furnish it if at all possible,” says Nelson. “If you can sell it, load it and follow the customer home, they will tend to buy while there. The idea of finding them a tractor and delivering it at a later date doesn’t work for us.”
Tricks to selling tractors. TAC carries a wide variety of new Kioti tractors. The CK series, with its free loader program, has been the dealer’s best seller this year. Nelson says his company has done well with Kioti by keeping a large inventory on hand at a time when most dealers have scaled back. “When a customer drives by our lot and sees 25 to 35 tractors in stock, he or she knows we are serious about selling them,” says Nelson. “If you only have four or five, customers might get the idea that you don’t think you can sell them or don’t stand behind the brand.”
In addition to the consistent advertising and the free loader program, Nelson attributes his success to Kioti’s warranty. TAC has five dealers located within one hour or less of its location that sell a competitive tractor brand. “We can say ‘Four-Year Warranty vs. their three-year’, and it’s a great selling point,” says Nelson. Nelson also appreciates that Kioti doesn’t put its dealers “on top of each other” the way some manufacturers tend to. “With the competition, customers can spend a day shopping all of the dealers that carry the same brand, and whoever does get the sale ends up making a very small profit. It’s tough to stay in business that way.”