805 E. Howard St. Pontiac, IL 61764 Phone: 815-842-1149 Pontiac
29987 N. 300 East Rd. Streator, IL 61364 815-673-4320 Streator
1501 5th St. Lacon, IL 61540 309-246-2645 Lacon
BUILDING UNIQUE, LASTING CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS Why I Love Working at the Dealership
I ’m thankful to be where I am. Very, very thankful. Sure, I have my days of frustration on the job just like anyone, but I am convinced there are not many jobs that provide the variety of activity and personal relationships that I experience. From customers I’ve known for years to a homeowner who’s never owned a John Deere before, each day brings a set of fresh faces and different and interesting personalities that all have various reasons for coming to the store. One minute you’ll be selling a small lawn mower, and the next you’ll turn around and sell a $400,000 4WD tractor. But beyond the variety of my job, I take a lot of satisfaction in the long-lasting relationships we form with the people we serve. The repeat customers we have, and the mutual trust we share as we do business, make up one of the two greatest parts about what I do for a living. I get to deal with down-to-earth Midwestern homeowners — multi- generational farming operations. Many who have dealt with my dad and grandfather. How many people are fortunate enough to say that today? Then (and I’ll admit I’m biased here) to be able to live in the best place in the world to raise corn and soybeans and to sell the best products to do it with? Yep … I’m truly blessed. Growing up, I had little interest in being a part of the Sauder Implement. As a kid, I watched my dad put in those long hours and Saturdays and thought, “No way.” In high school and college, I’d come up to the store and wash combines, plant trees (the windbreak I thought was ridiculous as I planted it in the early to mid-‘90s, I now really appreciate!), deliver mowers, then leave as soon as I could. I never saw myself doing this for a living. I’d get a degree, marry my high school sweetheart, get a job, and figure it out. Out of college, I did corporate insurance life for a few years as my wife and I lived in Normal. It was a comfortable life, paid decently, with no Saturdays and no stress, but on Sunday nights, I had a sense of dread. I was bored out of my mind. It just wasn’t for me. I saw my future when I looked at co-workers in their 40s and knew I had to get out of there. I
wanted to get into sales and had a few options I was considering. Once, while talking with my dad, he said, “Dick Nevin (a long-time salesman) is going to retire soon. If there was ever a time to give the John Deere
Zack, his wife Caesy, and their children Luke, Shea, and Reese
business a shot, it would be now.” Then he followed up with, “But I’d be careful, it’s awful tough right now.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement from your old man to switch careers! But in my mid-20s with no kids, I figured if I didn’t try it now, I’d always wonder “What if?” Eighteen years later, here I am. I n the top paragraph, I mentioned two great parts of what I do for a living, customers being one. The other, and probably the most important for me, is the quality people I get to work with every day. No business succeeds without quality people making it happen. And folks, I work with some Grade A, top-of-the-line folks each day. Absolute top-shelf. As we celebrate 15 years as KSR this July, I also marvel at how our partnership has flourished. It’s quality partners who make that happen. I’m humbled to be a part of an organization where leadership is in the trenches every day, in touch with our customers and employees, personally maintaining those relationships that span decades. There are not many John Deere groups left today with hands-on ownership active at the ground level. As for me, being front and center in the store every day is my way to connect with the two things I enjoy the most about my job: my customers and my co-workers.
Yep, it’s safe to say I’m glad I “gave the John Deere business a shot” 18 years ago.
–Zack Sauder ksrequipment.com | P1
May - June 2018
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