Steve DeBaun went from auction rookie to professional by attending auctions with his father-in-law.
In the process he has built a lasting relationship with Ritchie Bros. because of its dedication to quality customer service.
Ritchie Bros. has gone far and above as far as customer service. That's something that I will always remember and something I always think about when I go to a sale.
In the world of sales, customer service is king. It's a cliché but it's true.
"Nowadays it seems like customer service is a thing of the past. I can remember when fl ying used to be a good experience and now it's like getting on a bus," says Steve DeBaun, president and owner of Track II Corporation. "Ritchie Bros. has gone far and above as far as customer service. That's something that I will always remember and something I always think about when I go to a sale."
Steve initially became an equipment salesman for Track II in 1988. The Lakeville, Minnesota-based company was founded by Steve's father-in-law, Ken Olson, 10 years prior by spinning off of another equipment dealership, where he was vice president. Ken left the dealership without a single piece of equipment, starting from scratch. Thirty years later Track II is still going strong.
Track II specializes in purchasing, selling and renting used equipment, primarily the Caterpillar brand. Going to auctions has become an essential part of their business.
"I go to a lot of different auctions by various auction companies, but there are none that even come close to Ritchie Bros.," says Steve. "At a Ritchie Bros. auction you can count on the auction to run smoothly, professionally and quickly."
Steve visited his fi rst Ritchie Bros. auction with Ken; and made his first purchase in 1988 in St. Paul, Minnesota. He still remembers the experience clearly.
"Ken handed me all his numbers and gave me limits for how much I should pay for certain items, but I was really nervous. It can be pretty
intimidating when you don't really know what's going on, but it all worked out. It always has," says Steve. "Once I bought that first machine, I was bitten by the auction bug. Now, I really don't like to come home from an auction empty handed."
Ken decided to retire in 2001, selling the company to Steve. By this time, Steve was traveling to Ritchie Bros. auctions all over the United States.
"No matter where I go, whatever sale I am at, whatever part of the country, the crew is always very accommodating," he says. "I enjoy dealing with Ritchie Bros. because everything is done top notch."
But Steve didn't always have to travel far to get the equipment he needed. In fact, for a number of years Ritchie Bros. and Track II were neighbors. The former Lakeville auction site was located across the street from Track II.
"Ritchie Bros. was good to have in town and after all these years, I can honestly say everyone from the Minneapolis crew is a personal friend of mine," Steve says.
Ultimately, Steve understands that great customer service builds great customer relationships. "We have been here for over 30 years now and we have established a great customer base," says Steve. "We are still dealing with the same people we have been dealing with for years."
Written and published: 2009