Riding Shotgun – Be Concerned
Riding Shotgun…Be Concerned
Building a personal relationship with your customers is essential in the seedstock business and something we all claim we want to pursue. As we have hit on in the past, it is not enough to just be a great geneticist or a super feeder—you must market the product you raise in order to make it to your payday possible. But after we make a sale how many of us follow-up and find out if the bull or female really did what we said it would?
When I first moved to Iowa, I thought it was interesting that the ads for seed corn always ran in the fall, during harvest. So when I met my first professional seed corn dealer, I asked him what the idea was behind it? It boiled down to something simple, harvest was the time the corn farmers were already thinking about what to plant next year—analyzing the harvest and making future decisions. If the seed corn salesmen waited until planting time to sell a new number, it was to late, the decision had already been made—last fall.
Too many bull sellers wait until bull sale season to contact past customers. Calling two nights ahead of the sale is too late to sell a bull. It might be a good reminder that sale day is tomorrow, but it’s too late to get a potential customer to change his mind about your product or start researching your product.
When we study the professional operators that always seem to find buyers, they all have a similar personality trait…they care about and develop a year-round relationship with their customers. The first call should come in the middle or at the end of the breeding season. Questions to ask should include: Did your new bull work for you? Did he get all the cows covered? Have you thought about getting him up and feeding him back into shape? What can we do to help you?
The next call should be made around weaning. How did your calves come off the cows? Did they weigh up, are they tame, what are you plans for them?
Depending on the answers, professional operators start creating teamwork by solving problems and helping their client sell his product. Don’t try and sell him bulls at this time, just let him know you are there to work with him, be concerned, create a team.
If you have created a year-round structure with your clients…
A) You’ll create a better product;
B) You’ll solve problems before they arise; and
C) At sale time, when you call to see if they got a catalog and if they need any bulls, you will probably already know the answer.
At this point, you can spend your time, and theirs, picking out the best bulls for them, not apologizing and trying to correct things that could have a big impact on making a second sale.
Be concerned, you’ll have better customers and make friends in the process.
See you on the road.
CONTACT THE AUTHOR
Mark A Smith