Targeted Producer Meetings Offer Unique Approach

Livestock producers get a lot of postcards and invitations to producer meetings, sales meetings and educational meetings through the winter months. It seems like there is always something on their calendars, and sometimes they can’t make every meeting they would like to. As dealers, we need a fresh approach to reach these customers and potential customers where we can leverage our time while gathering an audience, but still take time to have one-on-one conversations that are key to relationship building.

Salem Veterinary Service in South Dakota recently tried a different tactic to reach its customers through smaller, more targeted producer meetings. Guy Rusche, ASM, said the lunch-time meetings were more conversational where he could talk about products with a handful of producers with similar needs over a sandwich and answer their questions, much like he might if he was visiting with them at their own kitchen table.

“The producers were all like-minded so I could fine-tune my presentation, which wasn’t a PowerPoint, but more like a one-on-one producer encounter with several people with similar needs at the same time and place,” Rusche said.

Salem Veterinary Service planned the meetings for Mondays throughout February, and customized the invitation list of its clients by those with similar needs and decision making processes. Because the dealer has established a good rapport with its producers, all invitations came directly from the dealer, and Rusche said 6-12 producers attended each of the four meetings. Topics of the meetings included VitaFerm® Concept•Aid® and looking more in-depth to the advantages of Amaferm®.

“Because the group was smaller, they felt more comfortable asking questions that they might not have asked in a larger producer meeting. I spent time answering those in-depth, technical questions without sounding like I was giving a college lecture,” Rusche said.

Rusche said Salem Vet doesn’t have much space for inventory, but at least one producer from every meeting stopped by the vet clinic to order or purchase product following the meetings, and after one meeting, seven of the nine attendees purchased product, a sure sign of success for the dealer.

Although these small targeted meetings worked well for this dealer and its clients prior to calving, Rusche said they will continue to host a more traditional producer meeting in the fall to discuss other products. The smaller, targeted meetings are just one more way to share the BioZyme® message with a group of current and potential customers.

Proper Employee Training Leads to Increased Sales

There are a lot of animal nutrition products out there, and in some parts of the country, more feed and supplement dealers than there are grocery stores. This means it is vital for your sales staff to keep current on all the products you offer.

“People buy from people, and our company owners have done a great job hiring quality people that care about the products and our customers all the way from the sales staff to the delivery drivers,” said Scott Hardman, Marketing Specialist with Earlybird Feed & Fertilizer, Goodfield, Illinois.

Hardman says the literature that BioZyme® sends out when a new product is introduced is distributed to all sales people, both externally and in the store. He said that they usually can’t get the literature fast enough since customers see information about new products on social media, and start contacting the dealer often before they have the new products on hand.

Another great resource is their ASM, Shandy Bertolino. Hardman said that their sales staff typically meets with Shandy twice a year to learn about new products and brush up on their knowledge of existing products. In addition to offering kudos to the ASM in their area, Hardman also praised the entire BioZyme® staff.

“One of the strengths of the company is there are not a lot of layers if we need answers. Shandy will make the link, but the accessibility of the technical and marketing staff is great,” Hardman said.

And finally, he said the sales staff who attend the dealer retreat each summer come back with a wealth of information to share with others who didn’t attend.

Adele Halsall, a researcher and writer for Customer Service Guru, addressed some key training tips in a recent blog post. Here are three of her tips.

  1. Keep Training Consistent. Be sure to give each employee the same message and resources so the information shared with customers is reliable. Halsall said, “Product knowledge training must also be consistent, engaging and customized. There is no point in re-using the same material twice or giving unnecessary information to those who do not need it.”
  2. Allow Hands-on Experience. While it isn’t realistic that your entire sales force will have a need for a particular product, chances are someone on staff feeds one or more of the products. Get their feedback about the pros and cons of that particular product so you can offer more information to prospective customers.

    Hardman said their sales staff isn’t expected to know absolutely everything about every product; however, they have specific people that are experts about particular species. Earlybird relies on those experts to provide information about particular products to the rest of its sales force.

  3. Take Training out of the Office. Hardman mentioned the bi-annual meetings with Shandy and the dealer retreat were two of their valuable training tools. Halsall agrees that it is always good to give employees a fresh perspective and allow them the opportunity to network with others to learn helpful sales insight.

Making the sale is imperative to your bottom line. Keep your staff knowledgeable and excited about your products, and the sales will come readily.

How to Use Promos Effectively

Everyone is looking for a deal, but does that mean you need to offer regular “deals” or promotions on your BioZyme® products? No, there is a definite time and place to use promotions, and having a regular sale isn’t always the best way to make a sale.

The value of BioZyme products is that they are high quality products that do exactly what they say they do. The products keep your animals healthy, and healthy animals grow faster and more efficiently. If a potential customer is skeptical, share the research or other customer testimonials with them. Chances are, you are going to gain a new customer who becomes a repeat customer.

But, your competitors down the road offer regular sales on their supplement products, and your lack of a “good deal” is the topic of conversation at the local coffee shop. Here are few ways to offer smart promotions, should you feel the need to do so.

Offer a short-term discount on something everyone can use. Most of your customers have a dog, so offer a discount on dog food with the purchase of a certain amount of VitaFerm® or Vitalize® mineral. This gives them the opportunity to try something new they might not have even known BioZyme offers, and makes you look like the good guy for offering a promotion.

Don’t offer a discount on in-season products. Did you order too much VitaFerm® HEAT™ mineral and you are approaching the cooler months? That would be a good time to discount that inventory to get it out of the warehouse, and perhaps customers will want to order more at regular price next summer.

Remember to advertise a “limited time promotion.” If you don’t, your customer might actually like the dog the food they bought last time with their supplement order, and will want you to honor that same price again. Remind the customer that it was a one-time promotion, but you are glad he/she liked the product, and will be glad to sell it to him/her at regular price.

Add value in other ways. Host a producer meeting to share the latest industry information. Invite your customers to a special VIP open house with refreshments and door prizes after store hours. Offer delivery. There are many ways of adding value to your products that won’t hurt your profit potential.

If conducted properly, promotions can be a good marketing tool. But plan them when they will help you, the dealer, boost sales, and use them wisely.

March 2017 – Letters from Lisa

At BioZyme®, we track our market share in all the different markets where we are trying to grow. While the sales team would tell you that I use market share as a part of my slave driver approach to growth; it is actually not true. I use market share to motivate our entire team (you too) around the significant opportunity that still awaits us.

Our growth has been impressive and would not be possible without each of you. This growth makes it easy to ask how many more years is this really possible? The answer to that is objective and easy when you assess it from the market share perspective. At the end of 2016, our market share in the cow-calf sector was 1.5%. On a state-by-state basis it ranges from 10% in Indiana down to 0.2% in Texas. Just to give you some comparative perspective, McDonalds has 17% market share in the fast food industry, while the strongly misguided Chipotle has 2.2%.

Increasing market share is one of the most important objectives of business. The main advantage of using market share as a measure of business performance is that it is less dependent upon variables such as the state of the economy or changes in tax policy. Market share is said to be a key indicator of market competitiveness—that is, how well a firm is doing against its competitors. Similarly, within a firm’s product line, market share trends for individual products are considered early indicators of future opportunities.

I am sure by now, you are thinking let’s go grow market share. And because you are thinking that right now, I am hugging you. It is my job to keep the team focused on how to continue to grow that market share. It’s actually not that easy, but there are a few things one should constantly consider:

Stay relevant through innovation. One great way to gain market share is to spot new trends ahead of competitors. Listen carefully when you’re chatting with friends, watching the news or listening to kids talk about what they like. There may be a change in the wind your business can jump on.

Respond to customers – fast. Remember when leaving a voicemail recording that said, “I’ll get back to you within 24 hours” seemed responsive? Not anymore. In this age of real-time, shoppers are increasingly loyal to the company that can fix their problem right now. Check out how fast your competitors respond, and then be faster; customers will take notice.

Keep an open channel for customer ideas. One of those ideas might be your next hit product. So, let’s hear from all of you. What should we be considering as an add-on to our product line up??

Snap up competitors. Sometimes the easiest way to get more customers is to simply buy them. Watch for competitors that might be up for sale and purchase them or their customer lists.

Let’s go get that market share – our BioZyme goal is to get to 2.5% in the next 2 years. WE CAN DO THIS!!

Tips to Reduce and Handle Heat in Your Stock

Warmer temperatures are quickly approaching, and that means producers should start considering how to help their animals handle the heat. Heat stress is almost inevitable, but some management practices can be implemented to help animals better cope with rising temperatures.

All mammals regulate their internal body temperature involuntarily. Heat stress occurs when the animal’s ability to self-regulate and lower core body temperature is overwhelmed and the animal’s performance and/or health is compromised.

Signs of heat stress:

  • Bunching in the shade
  • Excessive salivation
  • Foam around the mouth
  • Panting
  • Lack of coordination or trembling

Effects of heat stress:

  • Reduced feed intake and weight gain
  • Poor breeding efficiency
  • Lower milk production
  • Increased disease susceptibility
  • Death in severe cases

Being proactive is the best approach to helping animals deal with heat stress. Having a solid management plan in place to combat heat stress could play a crucial role in an operation’s ability to maintain animal performance during periods of increased heat. Some management options include:

Shade: Temperature can be lowered by providing areas where animals can get out of direct sunlight.

Improved ventilation: Providing fans or allowing for adequate air movement helps alleviate heat stress.

Clean, cool drinking water: Water is necessary to keep the animal’s core body temperature within normal limits. Providing cool water will also help cool the animal’s core.

Wetting: Gradually wetting an animal with cool water from sprinklers or hoses is an effective way to cool an animal suffering from heat stress. Wetting the ground can also cool the area where animals lay and reduce the effects of heat stress.

Timing of feeding: By moving the animal’s feeding time to late afternoon or evening will allow rumen fermentation (which creates heat) to take place during cooler temperatures.

It is nothing new that BioZyme® is committed to improving the well-being of animals through nutrition. To help our customers better manage heat stress within their herds, we have developed two products that specifically address heat abatement; VitaFerm® HEAT and Sure Champ® Climate Control Paste. These products contain an extract that helps livestock handle heat stress by lowering core body temperature in a safe, fast, and natural way. Not to mention, the Amaferm® advantage found in both these products is research-proven to lower body temperature.