I had one such interaction with a senior person who has been taking care of tractor sales for a well known tractor company, and my discussion with him gave me many insights into process through which a farmer goes through before decides on which tractor to buy. Will try a share a few of those insights,
One of the things of interest is the time which a farmer takes to arrive at the final decision, which from the dealer perspective is the specific brand of tractor he buys. According to him the whole process from need identification to the final buying can take anywhere between 6-9 months, which is quite long even for a product like tractor which is both a expensive as well as a long lasting product for the buyer, making a very high involvement purchase .
And in his experience the 'one' thing which the farmer relies the most to come up with his final decision is WOM , which he gets from users of tractors of the same or the competing company. This infact is I would say the most important insight gleaned from my talk, because this has critical implications for both the marketer and sales people. Most of the dealers and sales people would like to move on from the last sale and look for new prospects, but the very fact that the new tractor buyer would base his 'buy' or 'No buy' decision on the feedback from earlier customers is sometimes lost in the haste to get more sale. It also has implications for service as the tractor would come keep coming back to the dealer for regular servicing which would mean new touch-points of good experience which the farmer can carry back.
Infact the farmer has become a true king with the number of companies offering him tractors close to 15-16 . Though it has also created a lot more confusion, from the earlier days of either M&M or Escorts sort of a situation. But then lack of competition does not mean loss for the consumer but even the company operating in a such protected environment also ends up becoming sterile??