Invest in Your Team to Grow Your Business

You’ve got product, and you’ve got a sales staff. But according to your accounting records, your product sales haven’t shown much growth lately. Perhaps it’s time to invest some resources into training your team, and start seeing an increase in your business.

According to a Dale Carnegie Training Center study, 40% of employees who receive minimal to no training will leave their job during the first year, stating that they are dissatisfied with their position in the company and overall lack of training, so they don’t feel like part of the team. The same study revealed that employee turnover costs U.S. business owners $11 billion annually.

You can see from those figures that making a small investment in training can save you money and potentially grow your business, as it costs less to hire and keep employees than it does to rehire employees on a regular basis. Your business will be more organized, and your employees will feel more knowledgeable and appreciated.

To put the advantages of a well-trained sales force into perspective, one study showed that once a group of Kinko’s employees were properly trained, that sales force generated three times as many sales of a new product compared to their peers who did not receive training. If you could increase your bottom line by three times, wouldn’t that make the investment of employee training worth it?

Your business will also benefit from training employees through overall productivity. Employees will know more about the products they are selling and how to engage with potential and current customers while being able to comfortably talk about those products. In addition, the employees will be happier, and feel more like part of the team and not just a robot that you’ve got on the staff.

Once you have your sales force trained and start to see sales grow, be sure to let your employees know you value them and their efforts. You might think that a pay check twice a month is appreciation enough. However, a study by the International Society of Performance Improvement on performance improvement, found that incentive programs could increase employee performance by 22% in individuals. There are several inexpensive ways to offer employees incentives for meeting pre-specified goals without cutting into your increased profits.

A few ideas include pre-set commission for predetermined sales above a certain benchmark; paid time-off or flextime for exceptional work or increased sales; host a luncheon in their honor for a big sale or a new customer you’ve been working hard to get – most everyone enjoys pizza or a burger and the added camaraderie is a bonus too; provide them with a gift card to their favorite store or restaurant. Don’t forget the value of the employee’s family. Bonuses and incentives that keep the family in mind include gift cards to the bowling alley or movie theater, a family gym membership or tickets to the rodeo or an entertainer that is coming to town.

Perhaps the biggest incentive for employees to perform to their ultimate ability won’t cost you a dime, but are two simple words our parents taught us long ago:

THANK YOU.

Customers are the #1 Player on the Team

How many times have you seen a football team win by a last-second field goal? The kicker has paced the sideline for most of the game practicing his kicks and keeping that leg ready to go. Although he might not have as much playing time as the quarterback, his participation on the team is of utmost importance.

The same can be said for your customers. You might not see them every day or even communicate with them on a regular basis. Their “on-field” time might seem minimal in comparison with your employees and vendors, but without customers on your team, you’re not even in the game.

Oftentimes you only hear from a customer if he or she needs product or if the customer is disgruntled with a product or service – and that isn’t what you want to hear. It is important to follow up with every customer and ask for feedback, and let the customer know that positive or negative, the feedback they provide is important to your team.

The book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team states that “when people don’t unload their opinions and feel like they have been listened to, they won’t really get on board.” The first step is to begin the conversation, which you or your sales team can do in a follow-up conversation after the sale. Here are three things that companies can do to bring customers into the conversation and engage them as part of the team:

Always be receptive and responsive to feedback. Regardless of the timing or channel, organizations who are prepared to receive and acknowledge customer feedback will have more loyal and engaged customers. This includes phone calls, letters, emails and even social media.

Create an environment built on trust. This means when asking for feedback, clearly state why you want the feedback and what you intend to do with it. In the agricultural world, trust is the foundation of all we do. If your customers don’t trust you, they likely won’t be a part of your team for too long.

Empower customer service teams to solve problems and seek feedback simultaneously. Since most dealers are smaller and not staffed by a sales team and a customer service team, training all employees about the products and how to work with people is more important than ever. A great way to do this is through the new Master Dealer program. For more information about this program, visit www.biozymedealer.com and click “Master Dealer” in the menu.

Once you receive customer feedback and review it, follow up. Customers offer a fresh perspective, and perhaps their idea will help increase sales or bring in a new customer. At the very least, knowing that you acknowledged their feedback will help encourage a positive business relationship and should help your team keep a winning record.

Source: http://blog.macquarium.com/are-your-customers-on-your-team/

Transitioning Around Stress

Before, during and after stress there are transition periods. Things may seem normal and smooth sailing, but we all know that gradual or sudden changes are going to occur that will challenge an animal’s health and/or performance. And, after the challenge there is a period of recovery that we need to manage. Stress management can be summed up as two P’s and an R: Prediction, Prevention, and Recovery.

Prediction

If you know stress is coming, your management system should try to reduce or eliminate its effects ahead of time. An example of predicting a stress is knowing that you are going to transport, wean or work animals. If we know when animals will be moved, we can prepare not only the animals but also our equipment. Equipment should have a maintenance schedule. Changing oil, checking tires and filling with fuel are all items we should check off our “to do” list. And, we should have a “to do” list for our animals as well. Making sure they are well rested, well fed, comfortable and protected from injury will reduce stress.

Prevention

Feeding programs that take advantage of feeding Amaferm® daily will help animals combat stress, whether it is predicted or unexpected. Animals that have been supplied a balanced diet have the building blocks available to grow, mount an immune response and have the best chances of meeting any stress challenge that can come their way.

Amaferm has several key impacts on animal nutrition. First, it influences INTAKE. Healthy, stress-free animals eat and drink normal amounts at regular intervals. One of the first signs an animal is experiencing stress is they go “off feed” and change their eating patterns and reduce their intakes. Amaferm has been shown to modulate feed intake and increase water intake which will stabilize and increase the efficiency of the GI tract. Amaferm will also improve DIGESTIBILITY. When diets are being efficiently broken down into nutrients, the health of the animal shines through with outward signs of thrift and well-being. Animals properly digesting their food have shiny hair coats, bright eyes, show signs of happiness and display vigor. Finally, Amaferm assists with nutrient ABSORPTION. Nutrients are only effective when they are absorbed and transported throughout the body. These three items: intake, digestibility and absorption make Amaferm one of the most beneficial components of an animals diet.

All BioZyme products contain Amaferm and aid in stress prevention when used as part of daily feeding program. The Sure Champ® line of products is ideal for helping exhibitors develop a stress preventive program through proper nutrition. Climate Control® is one of BioZyme®’s newest commitments to aid in heat stress prevention. VitaFerm® Concept•Aid® and HEAT® minerals help cow-calf operations prevent and prepare their herds to reach performance goals and take optimum advantage of their feed resources. The Gain Smart® mineral line is ideal for growing and keeping young cattle healthy.

Recovery

Recovery management after a stress event is also a very important part of animal care giving. Stimulating the gut’s microflora make animals stronger, healthier, and ready to perform at their best. That is the number one reason why implementing recovery programs as quickly as possible are vital to the animal. BioZyme has developed a full line of Vita Charge® products specifically for stress recovery. Using Vita Charge products as quickly as possible after the stress will shorten the time it takes for the animals to get back to normal. Our newest product in this line, Vita Charge® Neonatal, designed for young calves, is being used by operations to grow stronger, healthier animals.

The mission of BioZyme focuses on making animals perform at their best. Using Amaferm is one of the easiest and most cost-effective management decisions producers can invest in to help their animals recover from stress.

September 2017 – Letters From Lisa

Location, location, location, or is it relationships, relationships, relationships? Definitely relationships. Find them, nurture them and watch sales soar.

At BioZyme®, that last sentence is key to how we view our responsibility to each of you. This is what really differentiates us from the many options you have in selecting a company’s mineral program to bring into your dealership.

At BioZyme, we believe our relationships will become your relationships and vice versa if we find, nurture and soar.

Find

To reach our full potential we all need to find meaningful connections with a very broad palette of folks who see things differently than we do, ask very different questions and imagine very different possibilities. BioZyme is committed to finding these meaningful connections so we can connect you. Our exclusive partnership with Superior is one of those connections. As the data continues to roll in and the exclusive value-added nutrition VitaFerm® Raised and Gain Smart® emblems equate to significantly more per pound (currently a 7 cent per pound advantage), the connection will help sales soar.

Nurture

Eighty-one to 90% of customers research your business before they make a purchase. Researching your business means that they go out of their way to learn about who you are and what you do, try to figure out if they can trust you enough to solve their pain points and watch your ‘moves’ to see if you truly deliver on the results you promise. In today’s business, it is important to establish and nurture a relationship from the very first contact through a carefully crafted process, up until the customer is ready to trust the products enough to make a purchase. BioZyme is committed to making sure at every one of these touch points information is easily and readily available, the products do exactly what we say they do and new products are added that assist with their pain points. We strive to help make business more sustainable – yours and theirs.

Do you have a nurturing process in your business that leads your customer up to a sale and other repeat businesses? If not, take the time, find a way.

Soar

An important ingredient in business is celebrating each and every triumph—and forgetting about each and every failure—both with the people around you and with yourself, too. BioZyme is committed to helping you remember just how amazing you are each and every day.

The defining attribute of a great business relationship is when each party has an emotional stake in the other’s success. That defines this team. So all we need to do is . . . .  Take the Time.  Find a Way.

“You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”-Zig Ziglar

Featured Dealer: W.T. Carnes

W.T. Carnes Grows His Business with Sub-dealers

In the heart of the Ozarks, there’s a BioZyme® dealer enthusiastic about the product he sells and the people he works with. W.T. Carnes said he’d been feeding the products to his dairy cattle for several years, and in the fall of 2013, decided to become a dealer.

He has taken initiative to grow his business, and says his sales have doubled every year since he started selling products. As an on-farm dealer, he embraces a basic business principle – making a sale is as much about who you know as it is the products you’re selling.

“People buy from people they know,” Carnes said. “My sub-dealers know more people than just the people I know. They can help me move more tonnage.”

Carnes currently works with five sub-dealers, friends that he said used and believed in the products, just as he did. Two of them live within 30 miles of him, but the others are quite a distance from him, expanding his network and opportunity for growth even more.

“The products really sell themselves. Once a producer hears about the products and tries them, they are usually hooked,” he said.

Carnes said he didn’t always have a network of sub-dealers, but his former ASM, and now Key Accounts Manager, Ken Gillig suggested sub-dealers would be a good way for him to grow his business after being a dealer for almost two years.

Carnes, who recently completed the Master Dealer Training Program, said another valuable tool to growing sales is hosting a producer meeting. He hosted his first meeting last fall, and sold a semi-load of mineral that night. He said that everyone that attended the meeting became a customer or has continued buying from him. The producers appreciated hearing from Mike Wadle, Director of National Sales – North, and being able to ask questions to further understand the products.

Currently, VitaFerm® HEAT®, Concept•Aid® and Gain Smart® Stocker mineral are his best-selling products. He offers two pieces of advice to newer dealers and their sub-dealers looking to grow their business, “If you can get producers to try the product, it will sell itself.” And he suggests keeping inventory low to promote freshness of the product.

A sub-dealer network has helped W.T. continue to grow his sales the past few years by multiplying his efforts and his reach all because of relationships he had with others who use and believe in the products. Are you ready to expand? Perhaps creating a sub-dealer system is the next step for you. For more information about reaching out and working with sub-dealers, contact your ASM.

Use Social Media to Boost Your Business

You’ve built your company’s Facebook page, and hopefully you found the tips in last month’s VISION useful as you begin or enhance your social media presence. But did you know for pennies a day, you can boost the amount of exposure your company gets on Facebook?

One of the most effective tools on Facebook is a button that allows you to “boost” a post or geo target specific customers with specific messages. Once you have created a post, you can click the “boost post” button, which allows you to create parameters to target a very specific audience including:

LOCATION: You can add the specific town or zip code you want to target, drop a pin or add multiple towns, say if you were hosting producer meetings in multiple locations. Once you have a location added, you can add a radius between 10-50 miles around the town or area you want to target.

AGE & GENDER: You can target only men, only women or both. You can target ranges of age groups between 13 to 65+ years old. Even though you can target 13-year-olds remember, Facebook does not allow you to target sales to anyone under 18-years-old. However, if you were hosting a youth livestock clinic, you might want to target 13-21, since that would be the group most likely to participate.

TARGET GROUP: Search by keyword to find a very specific target audience. Are you trying to promote Vitalize® to horse enthusiasts in your area? Type ‘horse’ in the keyword search, and the following will appear: horse, horse training, horse breeding and horse riding. You can click and select the groups that fit your needs, and anyone who has shown interest in those groups, who match the age, gender and location target you have selected will see your post. They don’t have to be your current customers or even like your page.

COST: Remember you set your budget, and you determine how much you want to spend. You can spend $10 for a post to show up for a month or you can spend $10 for the same post to only appear for a day.

“The more money you put toward your post, the more opportunity you have in reaching a larger percentage of the selected audience,” said Caitlin Tye, Content and Social Media.

If you are a dealer, and there is a cattle show coming to your town, you might create a post to promote you have Sure Champ® and Sure Champ Climate Control on hand. When you type ‘cattle’ in the keyword search, the following appear: Angus, Hereford, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, cattle rancher, Cattlemen’s Steakhouse. You would select all of those except Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, because you would more than likely get someone who is a beef eater, and not a show participant seeing your post, which does not encourage engagement.

Boosting a post is an efficient, inexpensive way to reach a large group of potential customers who have a core group of interests. If you have more questions about how to create a targeted post, contact Kristi Stevens, Marketing Project Manager, at (816) 596-8795 or email her at kstevens@biozymeinc.com.

What Do You Need to Grow?

Companies of all types and sizes typically want to grow in one way or another—whether it’s in terms of revenues, profits, number of employees or customers, market share or number of locations. And while not every business owner has aspirations to build the next Google, almost every business wants to see progress from one year to the next, even if it’s just in the amount of money one can take home to the family. Research shows that trying to grow when the business is not ready is a leading cause of business failure. So, knowing if you and your business are ready to grow is very important to its success. The first google item that pops up for this topic makes it look so easy.  Just buy an “all-in-one platform” and it will scale business growth.

We all know this is not the way sustainable growth works and that we need to spend some major time setting the stage for growth for it to occur successfully. The below questions can help get the plan moving forward.

What is your long-term goal and how does that impact your growth decision? No goal, no glory. While we can’t predict the future, we can certainly plan for it.

Are you prepared financially? In our personal life, they say you should have six months of expenses saved “in case.” Growth is an “in case,” so that same basic rule applies to business. On top of this amount, one needs to add the estimated additional expenses from the growth plan. Don’t implement the plan without the cash.

Do you have the space and capacity to grow from a facility standpoint or will you need to expand? You must know the full capacity of your current operation before you begin this growth endeavor. You then must know what percent of that capacity you are currently operating. This is imperative to the decisions ahead.

How will you fund the potential expansion? Growth financing is every bit as hard–if not harder–to obtain than startup funding. Do regular cash-flow projections so that you know how much credit you’re going to need well before you have to start writing checks. Develop and maintain strong relationships with your funding sources and be sure to have primary and backup sources available. In today’s financial climate, it’s harder than ever to predict credit availability, so stay on top of your cash and financial needs to give yourself plenty of room to maneuver when it’s time to borrow.

How much human capital will be required to meet your growth goals? Where will you find it and how will you pay for it? The team that can successfully run a $1 million company is not the same team that can run a $50 million company. If your goal is growth, hire people who can perform in the size company you want to be–they’ll help you get there.

Will your existing customers remain loyal during the growth pains? No company can do without customers, and if you don’t stay close to them, you’ll lose them. Know what they need, but more importantly, know what they want and do everything you can to give that to them. Most important though is to communicate. Never let your customers wonder what’s going on. Tell them–whether it’s good or bad.

Will the work required to grow bring unavoidable stress into your life that could potentially deter your ability to successfully operate your business with your best foot forward? Be honest here and make sure you really think it through.

The better prepared you are for growth, the better your chances for success. Devise a plan that helps you get to where you want to go. Make sure you think of your plan as a GPS system. Don’t think once you are on the route that you know better than the GPS. And remember, the more specific your plan, the less chance you have to get lost.

Last but not least, don’t forget to focus on your core business and don’t get distracted. Stick to the business your company knows best. Be sure any diversification or product line expansion you do makes sense. If it has nothing to do with your core business don’t get into it just because it seems like a good opportunity. Otherwise, you’ll you confuse your customers and your employees–and you’ll likely find that dividing your efforts reduces the quality and profitability of everything.

Just as you plan for when things go wrong, also plan for when things go well. When you’re prepared for growth, you can better manage the changes it brings and let it take you to the goal you set when you started.

Grow Your Customer Base in 7 Simple Steps

Growing your customer base can seem exhausting. But without customers, our business model and our businesses are pointless. Former Goldman Sachs CEO John Whitehead offers his top tips in growing a customer base quickly in a recent article on Inc.com.

  1. Don’t waste your time going after business you don’t really want. Is there a producer who has tried every supplement brand around only to feed one or two bags and find something he or she is dissatisfied with? Are you the next target on the list? Perhaps your time is better spent talking to other potential customers who you know would benefit from your products and services than investing much time into the person in the “mineral of the month” club who won’t likely be a long-term customer.

  2. The boss usually makes the final decision. When calling on a potential customer make sure you are focusing your efforts on the right person. Maybe your buddy is the cowboy at a large feedlot, but chances are he isn’t going to be making major decisions about animal nutrition or health. However, he might be able to introduce you to the manager, who does make the decisions, and he can still serve as a resource and save you some time.

  3. You never learn anything when you’re talking. Ask questions of your customers, and listen carefully. If you are talking more than 50 percent of the time, you are talking too much. Listen to what goals are for their operations or what challenges they are experiencing. Then offer products that can help them meet their goals or overcome their challenges.

  4. The respect of one person is worth more than an acquaintance with 100 people. Treat each customer like he or she is your number one priority. Know what is important to them. Is it their family, the local football team or even their old ranch dog? Treat customers with respect, and you will earn their trust and respect in return. And they will likely tell their neighbors about that great BioZyme rep they do business with.

  5. When there’s business to be found, go out and get it! As mentioned in last month’s VISION, there is potential everywhere! Talking to existing customers about other product lines they could use is a great idea. Does that cow-calf producer have horses or a dog? Be sure to sell them the Vitalize® line of products. Or does your existing customer have a friend or neighbor that raises another species that you can help them with? Ask existing customers for names of potential customers and watch your customer list grow.

  6. There’s nothing worse than an unhappy client. Did you have a customer that was upset with his or her results. Customer satisfaction is key to keeping customers and growing your customer base. Make sure you solve any issues that arise with unhappy customers as soon as you can. That way when they are gathered around the local coffee shop, you become a hero, not another no-good sales person.

  7. If you get the business, it’s up to you to see that it’s well-handled. Follow-up is imperative, especially with new customers. Call them a few weeks into using the products to see how things are going. Do they have questions you can answer? Do they need more product? Happy customers will be repeat customers.

Growing your customer base is key to growing your business. Potential customers are everywhere. Make it your goal to grow your customer list each month.

Reproductive Success

Reproduction is the most influential factor on beef cattle profitability. Since reproduction is a lowly heritable trait, environment plays a huge role. Environmental factors that have been proven to increase conception are: energy consumption and body condition score, protein consumption (both as a protein requirement and as improving energy status via rumen fermentation), mineral  and trace mineral status, and body temperature (fever has been shown to increase embryonic fatality).

Most cow-calf producers sell calves at or shortly after weaning. This management system places emphasis not only on the number of calves born and raised to weaning age, but also the weight of the weaned calves. Calf nutrition is a major influence on weaning weight. Dam milk production, calf health and forage consumption are that major sources of nutrients for calves.  Calves have nearly twice the protein requirement as their parents on a percent of diet basis. This requirement along with energy greatly influence the selling weight of calves.

Amaferm®, a natural prebiotic obtained from the proprietary fermentation of Aspergillus oryzae, has been shown to have positive effects on intake, digestibility and nutrient absorption. Amaferm’s mode of action has been shown to increase the feed particle attachment sites for rumen bacteria, enhance the growth of rumen fungi and bacteria, to increase the digestibility of a wide variety feedstuffs into energy and microbial proteins along with increasing nutrient absorption. In addition, documentation indicates that Amaferm reduces rectal temperature of cows during the hottest months of the year that coincide with normal breeding months of spring-calving cows.

Testimonials from cow-calf producers indicate high conception rates and earlier breed-up dates when cowherds are maintained on VitaFerm® Concept•Aid® containing Amaferm, high levels of organic trace minerals, and adequate phosphorus. Despite the amazing number of testimonials, data to support their anecdotal responses has not been collected.

This summer we conducted a Reproductive Success data benchmark study. The project was directed by Dr. Twig Marston with the help of summer research intern Mason DeVooght. They collected reproductive and weaning weight data from customers who feed the Concept•Aid products. The data will be compiled into an online database that will allow us to prove the advantage of feeding Concept•Aid with the Amaferm advantage. Using this data, we will be able to assist our customers in making better management decisions as well as identifying factors that will enable us to further develop the Concept•Aid product line.

If you have a customer that you would like to see included in this study, please reach out to your ASM to participate.

August 2017 – Letters from Lisa

For many years of my career, I was a business consultant. Now, before you turn the page thinking consultants just don’t get it, give me a few more minutes. In that role, the first question I always asked each business was “what is your goal?” Almost always the answer was to make more money or worse yet many answered, “I don’t really know.” The latter is almost impossible to help, but there are lots of ways to make more money. All of these start with having a clear picture of the opportunity that exists and knowing the best way to take advantage of that opportunity and marry the culture and vision in which you have built your business. Anytime you bring more people into the fold (sub-dealers, employees, partners, etc.) it is imperative that they are clear on the culture, vision, opportunity and approach if making more money (the goal) is to become a reality.

Being clear is not always easy because things are always changing. It is further complicated by the fact that clearly communicating that vision takes lots of time, time none of us seem to have. And finally, change and communication are the two things most people don’t do well.

Certainly, the desire to make more money is simple. So, why is doing it so complex and where does one even begin? Whenever complex things need to be made simple, I always go back to my childhood. My mom was amazing at making things simple, so they would be less stressful for me. One of her techniques was to use tricky little sayings (the fancy word for this is mnemonics) to help me remember facts I needed to get good grades (a large stress for me). One of my favorites was “I before E except after C or when sounding like A in neighbor and weigh.”

I still tend to look for mnemonics to help me keep our amazing team (having an amazing team is imperative to all of this) surrounded with clarity. So here it is: culture eats vision and then invites the 5 D’s over for a snack.

Culture is what gets you to your goal; vision determines the goal. If you articulate a great vision to an organization without the appropriate culture, you’ll never achieve the vision. If your organization has a wonderful culture, but no vision, then you might really enjoy your time together, but you’ll never go anywhere. I believe that the issue is not vision vs. culture, but how to achieve vision + culture. Once you have the sum of the two, you can focus on inviting the 5 D’s to the party. When they arrive they will each represent something unique but connected:

Determine One must HAVE A CLEAR PICTURE of the opportunities available to impact the goal.

Define One must DEFINE & TRACK the GOAL to help guide going after the opportunity.

Decide Hitting a goal is not a fluke, it is intentional. DECIDE how you will hit the goal and implement the plan!

Drive Nothing happens without a driver. DRIVE!

Deflect Lots of folks and things will try to derail the mnemonic. Wear a SUIT OF ARMOUR and deflect them all.

All of this is a lot of work, so don’t forget to celebrate ANY accomplishments along the way. I would love for you to share those with me. I promise that I totally understand that no matter how small you think your accomplishments are, they are major. Major accomplishments deserve a backflip, and that is exactly what I will attempt in the midst of my excitement for you!