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Why to Demo Equipment before Buying

The Value in Demoing Equipment Before Buying

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Consumers are able to try out many products before buying. Test drives are available for cars. Supermarkets offer samples of new foods. Even winter enthusiasts have the opportunity to demo a pair of skis before committing to the purchase. Why should construction equipment be any different?

Many trusted dealerships like RDO Equipment Co. offer the opportunity for interested equipment-seekers to see, learn about, and test machines before buying. Here’s why you should take advantage of the opportunity to demo equipment, how to make the experience successful, and what to expect at a demo.

The Full Machine Picture
An operator who has worked with certain machines before, whether John Deere excavators or Vermeer mini skid steers, knows them inside and out – there’s no need to demo a new piece of equipment, right? Wrong.

1. Model Variations
While previous machine experience is great, different models, especially newer ones, might have a different design, features, upgrades, or other unique characteristics that even the most veteran operator is unfamiliar with. Demoing equipment is a chance to learn about new aspects of a machine.

Personal preference becomes a consideration as well, as these new features and upgrades may be ones an operator likes – or, conversely, things he or she doesn’t like, in which case the demo experience can be even more valuable in finding the right machine.

2. Unknown Options
From backhoe loaders to HDD drills, compact and heavy equipment comes with numerous options for customization. Experience with a previous machine, particularly one that was rented, likely provided only a snapshot of what it could offer in terms of comfort and operational features.

With an equipment demo, a dealership’s representative can discuss the full breadth of options available on a machine and let an interested buyer test them out, then order a piece of equipment that meets the customer’s unique criteria.

3. The Ideal Fit
There are several reasons a company may have purchased a certain piece of yellow iron in the past. Maybe there was a great price, special financing, or a certain project for which the machine seemed to be a good fit. But does that mean it was the ideal choice?

An equipment demo is a chance to discuss the needs and criteria that are ideally-suited to a customer – and the jobsites on which the machine will be working – ensuring the opportunity to see and try out a unit that will best suit needs, not one that happens to be available.  

Now that the value in demoing equipment is clear, here’s how to get the most out of the experience.

Prepare to Share and Ask
A potential customer doesn’t have to be well-versed in all a machine’s specs or have a formal list of questions prepared to have a successful demo. Coming ready to discuss a few things will help ensure best results.

1. Past Experience
An individual demoing the machine, whether equipment operator or the company owner, should share with the dealer’s product or demo specialist any similar machines that are currently being used or have been used in the past for similar jobs. This will help the product or demo specialist understand what worked well or didn’t.

2. Future Expectations
Also, every potential buyer should be prepared to discuss expectations from the machine in terms of jobsite performance, demands, and even the number of hours anticipated for use each year. Again, this will give the dealer’s representative an idea of what features, size, power, or other options are needed.

3. Service and Support
Finally, it’s a good idea for interested buyers to ask about the demo machine’s preventative maintenance (PM) requirements, as well as what the dealership offers in terms of service. Not only is this especially valuable for potential new customers to get a better sense of the after-sale support the dealer provides, knowing the basics needed for PM will help ensure it gets done and protect the equipment investment in the event of a purchase.

Being ready for a discussion is the first step in a successful equipment demo. Also valuable – and what most potential buyers are really interested in – is being prepared for what the demo will be like.

What to Expect
Every dealer is different, so here are a few examples of what RDO Equipment Co. representatives go through on every equipment demo.

1. Walk Around
The RDO Equipment Co. sales or demo specialist will point out key aspects of the machine, including specific features or materials designed for higher quality, safety, or a better operator experience. He or she will also go through the primary maintenance areas, as well as show the ease of accessibility for service.

2. Get Inside
A demo wouldn’t be a demo without some hands-on experience with the machine. In addition to getting in the cab and showing a few operational tips, the RDO Equipment Co. team member will allow a potential customer to get behind the wheel, too, to go through different control options, see both front and rear visibility, and get a sense of comfort with how the machine operates.

3. Deliver and Demo
In addition to testing the machine at a designated demo site, RDO Equipment Co. will let most interested buyers try a piece of equipment on their actual jobsite. The machine will be delivered and picked up by RDO Equipment Co. in the previously agreed-upon date range.

In addition to the onsite demo, expect a through follow-up from the team. They’ll make sure the experience was good, answer any additional questions, or proceed with next steps in the purchase process.

From the opportunity for a first-time customer to learn about everything a machine offers to the chance for a veteran operator to get in the cab of a new machine and ensure it feels right, an equipment demo is a great option for every potential buyer.


About The Author
Rob Mommsen is a CWP Sales Professional with RDO Equipment Co. and based in Phoenix, AZ.

To schedule an equipment demo near you, contact your local RDO Equipment Co. store.