Today’s Young People are Future Customers

For years grandpa and dad made all the purchasing decisions around the farm or ranch. They decided which color of tractor to drive, which bulls to breed the cows to and even which minerals to feed. But as the years go by, the next generation of customers – my generation –  is starting to make buying decisions. And as a millennial, I might need you to reach out to me just a little differently than dad and grandpa did.

Being classified as a millennial means I’m in an age group with other 18 to 34-year-olds. That’s a wide age range of potential and future customers, and we make our decisions a little differently than grandpa did. Here are a few pointers on grabbing my attention and converting me from a potential customer to a repeat customer:

Reach out to me early on. As part of the millennial generation, I might already be a customer of yours, especially with show livestock and performance horse product lines such as Sure Champ® and Vitalize®. But just because I’m young, doesn’t mean I’m not interested in other product lines. Keep the lines of communication open, and make sure I know how to reach you when I do need to buy more products for my growing livestock operations. For example, I might be buying Sure Champ for my show animals now, but as I develop my herd or take over my family’s herd, I will want to learn more about the VitaFerm line of products and how they will keep my cattle healthy, performing and help increase profitability.

Show us results. My generation thrives on instant gratification. We like to see results and we like to see them quickly. Share research summaries with us that describe the results we might see with your products. We also like to hear from others who have had great experiences. Providing a sample of a quick-response product like Vita Charge Paste is a good idea, too. These kinds of samples are great door openers to conversations about other products and one of the best investments you can make.

Be innovative and stay connected with us. Our generation has technology at our fingertips. We get news from social platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and if we are going to learn about your products and services, you’re likely going to have to promote them on social media as well. That connectivity is a two-way street. “Word of mouth” is still the most powerful marketing tool, but instead of us setting around the local feed store or coffee shop, we comment and share on social media. We like to share positive comments on our experiences, so look for those as we engage with you on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!

Have a conversation with us. Millennials like to be engaged. We don’t want you to give us a sales pitch. We want you to talk to us and include us in the conversation, so we feel like part of the solution. Start the conversation with questions to discover our goals and priorities and give us options.

Be authentic. Because technology is so easily accessible, the ability to find answers to our questions usually is too. We will do our own research and find out in a heartbeat if you have clouded over anything just to make a sale.

Times are changing, but thanks to the foresight and leadership of my dad and grandpa, I’m ready to start making decisions about our operation. Just remember, I make decisions a little bit differently than the generations before me, but keep your conversations real, show me results and work with me, and this potential customer will become your regular customer. Keep connecting with me in innovative ways as technology changes and evolves, and watch your business grow.

Tackle the Tough

Does it ever seem like your to-do list grows by the day and you never get to check anything off of it? Are you working longer days and not feeling like you get to spend as much quality time with your family and friends? As your business grows (and that’s a good thing), so do your responsibilities. But how are you ever supposed to get everything done?

Perhaps you are like the cowardly lion from the movie, “The Wizard of Oz.” He said in the movie, “I haven’t any courage at all! I even scare myself. Look at the circles under my eyes! I haven’t slept in weeks!”

If everything you have to do to keep your business growing is making you lose sleep, grab some courage and tackle the tough tasks first. Set aside the first two hours (or whatever amount of time you choose) of your work day to do the work you feel will be the hardest part of your day. This might be a sales call with a new customer who you’ve been working on for months. Or it might be talking to an employee that you’ve had challenges with. Maybe you don’t like sitting at a desk and working on financials,

so you need to do this the first thing every day or every week and get the tough tasks out of the way.

What is your time worth? The adage, “time is money” is true, and if you ho hum around avoiding the tough tasks on your to-do list, you are losing time and potentially losing profit. By facing the toughest tasks first, you have the opportunity for further growth. Maybe you have been working with a potential customer for months, and if you contact them early in the day and make a sale, you are already growing your business first thing. Have an employee that isn’t meeting expectations? Tackle that issue first thing in the morning to start improving productivity.

When we have the courage to face the toughest tasks or the jobs we are dreading, we get those out of the way, and the rest of our day, can only improve. And what if something good comes out of that sales call you’ve been dreading to make? Then you are starting your day on a high note, after you’ve checked that task from the to-do list.

On Inc.com, Jeff Haden suggests choosing the 2-3 most important tasks (MIT) to tackle each day. As you make your daily to-do list, put these MIT at the top of the list with a goal to have them accomplished by noon each day. That gives you time for other tasks that need be accomplished.

It is human nature to avoid the tough times. But if you focus on the tough tasks in your job first, you will notice increased productivity, the potential for more financial growth and days that will fly by more quickly.

Do Customer Promotions Pay?

Motivation is the little extra nudge of encouragement that people need to take the next step in the right direction. You are probably continually looking for ways to motivate your customers to buy or try new products or motivate your sales force to increase your sales. There are ways to motivate both your staff and your customers to help your sales figures increase; however, you need to make sure that your budget will benefit and not break from these incentives and promotions.

Although promotions can certainly be useful, be sure your business is benefitting from the promotion. Promotions are not effective if all you are accomplishing is reducing the profit margin on products you would have sold anyway. If you do run a promotion, make sure it is for a new product that you are offering or one for a product in which you truly want to increase sales with new customers. A promotion isn’t effective if you are only selling a popular product at a reduced rate.

According to marketer Gary Sanchez, “Promotions should be a well-planned, seasonally relevant focus on themes or solutions wrapped around your products that your customers will take note of and value, and that prospects will be enticed to try for the first time.” Promotions should encourage your current customers to try new products and help prospective see enough value in your products that they want to give them a try too.

Will all sales promotions be effective? No. But, here are five simple tips to help ensure your next promotion is a success:

1. Target Audience
Studies have shown that over time loyal customers spend nearly 10 times the amount spent by average customers. Do you focus your efforts on existing customers or do you try to recruit new customers with your promotion? Perhaps you could offer a loyalty program to those customers who have been with you for the long haul.

2. Measurable Goals
As with all marketing goals, you need to have goals that are more specific than just to increase sales. Do you want to increase sales of a specific product? Do you want to see more customers start using more of a program like the Gain Smart® Stocker Program? Write out your goals where you will see them daily and design your promotion around those goals.

3. Limited Availability
Behavioral psychologists have found that human beings tend to assign greater value to things they perceive as being scarce. If your promotion runs for half the year, is it really a promotion? But, if your promotion runs for 30 days, your customer is more likely to jump at the chance to take part. If part of the promotion is a giveaway, and the promotion states, “while supplies last” customers will take part in the promotion earlier on to be sure they get the added value of the promotion.

4. Sufficient Promotion

Be sure to let your customers know that you are having a promotion. This might be through your regular advertising efforts, in-store signage, email or on your Facebook page. Remember, you are trying to make added profit during this promotion, so adding a lot of extra advertising probably isn’t the best idea. Studies have shown that email marketing is a low-cost, effective tool. Emails to interested parties have a very high rate of return, with 44% of email recipients making at least one annual purchase based on a promotional email.

5. Value
When the promotion is over and the customers have made their purchase, will they find value in the goods or services they bought? Be sure the promotion you are offering has value to the customer now and will in the future.

After your promotion ends, refer back to your intended goal to determine if it was met. Did you increase sales of the particular product you were trying to promote? Did you get loyal customers to try new products they weren’t currently using? If you met your goal, and calculated a positive ROI, your promotion was a success!

Online sources:

https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2015/08/5-key-elements-successful-sales-promotion.html|
https://www.garyasanchez.com/9-benefits-of-sales-promotions

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.

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.

Partnerships and Programs Increase Profit Potential

There are only 24 hours to each day, and seven days in the week. You have a to-do list a mile long, including the desire to increase your BioZyme® sales for the year. Alan Lee, Director of National Sales – South, offers tips to help you grow your business and your profit potential.

Step 1 – Decide to multiply your business this year.

You are the only person who can make this life-changing decision. Don’t be wishy-washy. Make the decision, define how much you want to grow your business and start working.

Step 2 – Once you make the decision, do whatever it takes to get it done.

Develop a plan, write it down and make no excuses as you move forward. A plan or written goal will help you with accountability. And if you need to take that accountability further, talk to your spouse, business partner or even your ASM and let him or her know what your business growth goals are for the future.

Step 3 – Find mutually beneficial business partners to back up the plan.

Work together to build one another’s brand awareness and/or customer base. Until you ask to form a partnership, the answer is always no. Is there an animal health company, semen company or auction company you can partner with to conduct producer meetings? You probably share some customers, but you also share potential customers. Do simple things for one another like share your company links on each other’s websites. Start small, and develop endless opportunities with strong partnerships.

Step 4 – Connect the dots. Do you have a customer who has customers that you need to reach out to? For example, you have a VitaFerm® customer who sells 200 bulls every year. If that producer sells 200 bulls, who is he or she selling to? Have you asked that producer who those customers are? Do those customers use BioZyme products? If not, there are many potential customers who already have a trusting relationship with someone with a success story (the producer who sells 200 bulls) with our products. Connect the dots.

Step 5 – Think of established revenue sources as a partner. Although new customers are important, make sure your core customers are taking advantage of all products and programs. Sure, a cow-calf producer is using a Vita Charge® Stress Tub at weaning, but what about the rest of the year? And what about the other species on that operation? Make sure that customer knows about VitaFerm Concept•Aid®, VitaFerm HEAT, and Gain Smart. Does that operation also have horses and kids with livestock projects? Make sure you tell them about the Vitalize® and Sure Champ® product lines as well. And most of all, try to sell them a program, not just a product.

Make sure your current customers understand the value of using an entire program, not just a single product in their operation. Sell sheets for four key programs are available in the Online Dealer Center that will show the cost per animal vs. the ROI for the producer and the profit potential for the dealer when selling the program. For example, a producer with 40 cows, feeding Concept•Aid most of the year, and HEAT during the hot summer months will spend approximately $56 per cow. However, because of the increase in conception rates, adding more pounds of calves to wean, the producer should see an additional $20.63 profit. Studies show that calves will gain an extra .25 pound per day with the Amaferm® advantage, so higher performing, heavier calves will also result in additional profit to the producer for feeding these two supplements of $76.88 per cow. Now, if you have 10 producers with 40 cows each, your sales for those two products could bring in $22,280. See why it is important to sell the program and not just a product?

Be sure to check out the Retreat Page in the Online Dealer Center by going to www.biozymedealer.com and clicking “Retreat”. Here you will find updated sell sheets for all programs and products as well as Alan’s presentation that includes the profit-potential breakdowns of these four programs: VitaFerm Cow-Calf Program, Gain Smart Stocker Program, Super Start Dairy Calf Program, and the Recovery Programs. The sell sheets will explain more in-depth the benefit of the products and how to best position them when selling.

Potential Customers are Everywhere

As you look for ways to grow your business, it is important to think of everyone you encounter as a potential customer. Are most of your customers cow-calf producers? It is highly likely a lot of them also have horses that need our products. Most households have 1.6 dogs, and BioZyme® offers products for our canine companions.

During the recent Dealer Retreat, Tell Stevens, Digital Marketing Manager, shared with dealers some big picture numbers of the potential they have in their respective areas. What most dealers discovered is they have a lot of potential they had not considered.

“We tried to identify all animal groups attached to a specific product line and aligned our brands to segments of the industry that need them,” Stevens said. “This allowed dealers to visualize where they might have potential utilizing all of the product lines BioZyme offers.”

Working with the USDA to gather numbers, Stevens collaborated with Lisa Norton, BioZyme Vice President, to determine assumed days on a program and the revenue per head at suggested retail to calculate potential revenue. Numbers on the chart assume that BioZyme has 100% of the market share; however, Stevens said to compare the revenue of one segment against other segments to get a more realistic figure.

For example, a horse on Vitalize® year-round, will generate $323 in revenue. Do you know someone with 10 horses? Perhaps you need to reach out to customers who buy the VitaFerm® products for their cattle and also have horses, and educate them on the benefits of Vitalize. It’s a great idea to generate more revenue from those customers who already know about and believe in our products.

Nearly everyone you meet has a dog. And most dog owners treat their dogs like their kids. You can generate nearly $75 of revenue in a year from one dog being on Vitalize products. And that customer will likely continue to buy products from you for years to come.

It is easy to get stuck in a sales routine where you talk to your same customers on a regular basis, but it is time to think outside the box and grow your potential. If your typical audience is the cow-calf sector and you discover a commercial poultry, swine or dairy operation exists or has moved into your area, those are great potential customers. Not sure how to start a conversation with them? Talk to your ASM or someone on the business development and support team to help you make that pitch.

Take the time. Find a way. Find your potential, and grow your business.

If you were not able to attend Dealer Retreat, and would like to know the potential for your dealership, contact Kristi Stevens, Marketing Project Manager, at 816-596-8795 or kstevens@biozymeinc.com.

Feed the Future is One Way for Dealers to Help Give Back

Two of the most fundamental business investments we can make are in our future and in our people. BioZyme Inc. has committed to investing in both of those areas with the creation of the Feed The Future partnership it formed with the Hereford Youth Foundation of America (HYFA).

“Bob and Lisa both feel it is import to make an impact on the next generation of agriculturalists and that is why this program was created,” said Crystal Blin, Marketing Program Manager.

For every receipt BioZyme receives from select VitaFerm® products, BioZyme will donate $1 to the HYFA, with a goal of making a $100,000 donation in October 2017. American Hereford Association members and commercial producers who use purebred Hereford bulls are encouraged to send in copies of their receipts or invoices, and Blin said they can submit receipts as far back as Sept. 1, 2016.

In addition to the program being a great way to make a difference in the young people involved in agriculture, Feed the Future can serve as a great marketing tool for dealers.

“Because most Hereford breeders are extremely passionate about HYFA and supporting their junior members, dealers can mention the Feed the Future program to breeders and it can be a great way to start a dialogue and potentially gain new business,” Blin said.

As of May 1, Blin has collected copies of receipts from Hereford enthusiasts and dealers, equating to nearly $4,800, noting that several dealers will send in the receipts for their customers.

“I will send in the copies of my customers’ receipts for them so it is not an extra burden, yet they feel like they are giving back and helping the youth,” said Sue Kline from The Feed Bunk in LeRoy, Ill.

Kline adds that she typically sells a lot of VitaFerm, but that she has promoted Feed The Future in her store and on social media, and encourages other dealers to do the same to promote the program. All people want to support youth in agriculture; it makes them feel good she said, and so letting them know that their purchase of particular products might help the youth will help spur sales.

Blin said there are several ways to market VitaFerm products while promoting the program. She suggests asking the customers who use Hereford genetics if they do use VitaFerm products, and if not, to consider making the switch, knowing a monetary contribution would be made to an organization the producers are passionate about. Next, she said if they are only using Sure Champ® or they don’t use a VitaFerm product year-round, they might be interested in learning more about qualifying products like Concept•Aid®, Heat™, Cattleman’s Blend, 30:13% Protein Tub, Roughage Fortifier® and Sure Start® Pellet.

Overall, Feed The Future is a win-win-win program for the youth, the producer and the dealer. The youth of the Hereford breed are receiving a great donation, the producer is keeping his or her animals healthier and gaining and the dealer is increasing sales and building relationships.

To learn more about this program, visit www.vitaferm.com/feedthefuture.

Invest Your Passion Into Your Business

You have likely heard the saying, “Chose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” That quote carries a lot of weight, and hopefully if you are reading this, you love your job. You might not like your job every day, but hopefully you chose this career path because you are passionate about agriculture and the people involved in our industry, and you want to help them keep their livestock healthy.

Did you know that you can invest your passion into your business? If you truly are passionate about what you do, and we know you are, you can take that passion to build your business, promote your products and build relationships with customers that will help create sales both now and in the future.

Bob Parsons, the founder of GoDaddy said, “Never stop investing. Never stop improving. Never stop doing something new.” It is vital to your business and its success, and ultimately your bottom line to follow those three simple pieces of advice. And it can start with investing your passion into your business.

How can one invest passion? One way is by showing your customers you truly care about them. Follow up your sales with customer calls to make sure the customer is completely satisfied with his or her products. Ask if there are any questions, and furthermore, have a conversation about the customer – his or her operation, family or hobbies. This will show that you are interested in their life, and not just making a dollar. Customers are more likely to do business with those who show an interest in their lives.

Another way to show your passion for your business and share that with customers is to host producer meetings or open houses. Share your passion for the business by highlighting new products in an open house or providing timely information to your customers at a producer meeting. Don’t think of the cost of the meal or refreshments as an expense, but rather an investment in your business and the people who support you.

Are there other ways you can invest your passion into your business? Perhaps you have a large show animal customer base; you can invest in those young people by hosting a feeding and fitting workshop or sponsoring an award at a local show. Offer to have the local FFA chapter have a meeting at your store so they can learn more about your products and at the same time, you will get to know more about the youth in the area.

And never underestimate sharing your passion via social media. Does your company have a website, blog, Facebook or Twitter account? You can share the passion you have for your business with the masses with just the click of a button.

What will these investments bring you? Hopefully, the enthusiasm you show to your customers, employees and others will be contagious. They will see how much you care about the brands you sell and the results that are produced. The investment in your time and energy should return dollars to you in sales. Host events that will make you money, love your job, and you will never work a day in your life.

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.