Get Involved in the Community

For business people there is no better way to receive recognition within your community than to become involved in the community where your business is located. That is especially true if you are a smaller or specialized business that not everyone might have a purpose to support on a regular basis (like a feed mill or feed and farm store.)

Taking an active role in your community is important for a number of reasons. Here are 5 ways we encourage you to get involved in your community, year-round; not just during the holidays. You might just meet some new customers while you’re at it.

Community Boards. Most communities have a plethora of boards that are always looking for people to serve on them. These can include school boards, hospital boards, extension boards, 4-H boards, FFA alumni boards, cattlemen’s boards and the list goes on and on. Remember, pick organizations that you are truly passionate about helping, and don’t spread yourself too thin. A volunteer that has too many irons in the fire is often not as helpful as one would like.

If you have never used the hospital and you are a normally healthy person who doesn’t think you’ll ever be in the hospital, perhaps that board isn’t for you. However, if you are a cow-calf producer, trying to educate consumers on the benefits of eating healthy, lean red meat, then perhaps a role on the county cattlemen’s board would be ideal.

Volunteer. Volunteering shows that you are willing to give your time – one of your most valuable assets. You might volunteer with the local ag groups like 4-H and FFA to help them with educating youth or running a judging contest or clinic. Or you might volunteer to coach youth wrestling, teach Sunday night youth group or help with a cause like Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Whatever you volunteer for, make sure it is something you are passionate about doing and have time to make a priority. No one appreciates a volunteer that is always “too busy” to meet their commitments.

Build partnerships. If you are getting involved with your community, building partnerships would seem logical. Perhaps you are building a partnership with a local feedlot to run a mineral trial. Or maybe you find a way to build a partnership with a local high school ag class. The opportunity for agricultural businesses to partner, share promotions and advertising budgets and even costs for producer meetings are endless.

Offer internships. Young labor is typically inexpensive and hardy. Are you looking for someone to help in the store after school and on weekends? What about one of these young “techno-kids” that could help you with your social media presence. Young people are always looking for “real-world” experiences, and often are willing to work for little money or the experience they can list on their resumes.

Host & participate in events. As livestock nutrition suppliers, it would make sense that you would host and participate in events, like judging clinics, livestock shows, barrel racings and ropings. However, you chose to participate in these events, be sure to get your company name exposed as much as possible so others in the area know who the title sponsor is.

Getting involved in the community – it’s probably something you do anyway. Take the time to make a difference in someone’s life and the future of your community. You might just meet a new customer along the way.

Customer Service that goes Above and Beyond

Just like your customers and their personalities all vary, so do the ways that they like their customer service provided to them. But one thing is certain, everyone likes to be treated with respect and courtesy, especially when paying for a product or service.

It doesn’t matter if you’re talking face-to-face, over the phone, via email or through a hand-written letter, there’s always ways to show that you care for and respect your customers. Using key words and phrases are just one way to make sure your customers feel appreciated.

Just like our parents taught us at a young age, “please and thank you” will go a long way. Here are some other key phrases to use when serving up top-notch customer service:

• “How else can I help you accomplish your goals?”
• “Are there other products or services I can help you with?”
• “I’m not sure how to answer your question, but I will find out the answer.”

While you are putting these key phrases to work, make sure you are using them on all your customers and potential customers, not just a select group of customers. You never know when going above and beyond or out of your way to contact someone who hasn’t bought much lately might just sway them to start doing more business with you. Or, perhaps they have been considering changing their mineral program, but didn’t know how to ask about VitaFerm®. By making that investment in time, you further build your relationship and watch your sales grow.

It is impossible to talk to everyone every day, or every week for that matter. Make a schedule of who you will reach out to and when. Sometimes we reach out too often, so find a way to track your conversations and when you last reached out to each customer. This could be in your database management software, an excel spreadsheet, a calendar or even in a notebook. Just make sure to contact everyone regularly.

“The Outreach Support Center reaches out to customers every 45 days, either by phone, email or mail. When we contact dealers, we make sure everything is going well, ask if they need literature, answer any questions they may have and update then on any new products or any changes that may be occurring. BioZyme® lives by the motto, ‘Care that Comes Full Circle.’ I believe we are doing that in the Outreach Support Center by reaching out to the customers to let them know we value their business and we are always there if they need us,” said Jennifer Miller, Director of Outreach Customer Support.

A few unpretentious words. A handshake and a smile. Regular contact with your customers. All of these might seem simple but use them in conjunction and on a regular basis, and you’ll provide customer service that goes above and beyond. You might just “wow” your customers.

How Employee Strengths Help Serve Customers

Customers are the backbones of our businesses. They are the reasons we have a business, after all. And many customers are friends first or become good friends over time. They deserve the best when it comes to customer service, and you want to provide the best to them.

However, it might be that not every employee you have is programmed to provide the customer service your customers expect. And that is ok. Every person has some strength or strengths that make them a valuable part of your team, and it is important to evaluate those strengths, communicate those strengths to them in the form of affirmation and use those strengths to be an important part of your team.

Perhaps you have an employee that is impeccable at cleaning, stocking shelves and maintaining inventory, but finds conversation with others mundane or even uncomfortable. Keep that employee in the back to clean and stock, and only use for customer service if someone needs help loading product.

On the other hand, perhaps you’ve hired someone to load out product and stock shelves, that never can complete the assigned task because he or she is always talking to customers and making product recommendations. That person clearly needs to be in a customer service role. Typically, extroverts who enjoy helping others make great customer service reps.

But what does this have to do with overall customer satisfaction? Employees who are doing what they are good at, show up and are engaged and will provide better service. Better service leads to increased customer satisfaction.

According to an article by Stuart Hearn on www.brandquarterly.com: “A 2016 Gallup poll showed that strength-based companies enjoy more profit, better sales, and higher levels of customer engagement. In large part, this is due to the fact that when employees feel positive about their performance, and they are able to work to their strengths, they feel more engaged, and are therefore more passionate about their company and their work. They’re also more invested, meaning they go that extra mile to ensure customers have a great experience. Employee engagement has been termed the ‘wonder drug for customer satisfaction,’ so every time you emphasize strengths in your employees, you should remember the domino effect it creates.”

It all goes back to getting the right people in the right positions. Capitalize on employee strengths to make sure your customers have the best service around. Customers can go anywhere to buy feed and mineral, but make sure they are coming back to your business to get the best customer service that they deserve!

How to Upsell and Cross-Sell to Existing Customers

Does it ever feel like you have saturated the market and you’ve got all the customers you’re going to get? Your sales are steady, but you’d really like to see them increase for a couple of months. Your customers seem happy with the products they are using; but do you think there’s something missing that your customers haven’t tried?

Perhaps there is something missing – something in your sales technique. Upselling and cross-selling are two techniques that you can use to help increase sales with the existing customer base you have already established. Although they are similar in nature with a similar outcome, the techniques are slightly different. One web site offers the following definitions: Upselling is the practice of encouraging customers to purchase a comparable higher-end product than the one in question, while cross-selling invites customers to buy related or complementary items.

Vita Charge® should be one of the easiest product lines to cross-sell. This all-species product that supports digestive health and promotes feed and water intake is designed for times of stress and recovery. There is no reason that every customer shouldn’t have some form of Vita Charge, or even multiple forms.

“Regardless of the animal you are caring for, they can have a bad day, and that is exactly what these products are meant for. No matter why you are interacting with a current or potential customer these products will benefit every animal during those times of stress. These products are a perfect addition to a current product sale or used as an introduction to what amazing products we have to offer,” said Trent Gabler, BioZyme Sales Coach.

No matter the species or the production goals, you should never leave a sales call without trying to cross-sell Vita Charge. Are you at a cow-calf operation? They are going to calve out cows, wean calves and likely treat for an occasional sickness. Having a few tubes of Vita Charge Paste is a part of a good management practice for those times of stress. Of course, you know the benefits of having a stress tub out with both cows and calves. And the tubs are also effective for bulls prior to and after breeding season.

What about the smaller species? Yes, the Vita Charge products are equally important for sheep, goats and hogs. Keeping Vita Charge HydraBoost in your pigs’ waterer is important, especially at weaning, and the paste is always handy for rapid relief.

Cross-selling is the simple suggestion of adding on a complementary product to something the buyer is already buying. Perhaps they are buying Vitalize® Equine High Performance Pellets. Obviously, they take great pride in taking good care of their horse’s digestive health. But what about helping that horse recover? Have you suggested they try the Vitalize® Equine Recovery Paste? Maybe they don’t know the paste exists or the benefits of the paste, but once they learn about it, they will be hooked. And don’t forget the canine line of Vitalize supplements. According to Internet statistics, 36-44% of Americans own a dog. Chances are a higher percentage of your customers in rural areas own dogs. How many of them have you told about the Vitalize® Dog supplement or Vitalize Dog Recovery Paste?

Marketing studies have shown that existing customers are 60-70% more likely to buy new products while new customers are only 5-20% likely to buy a new product. And, the existing customer is probably going to spend around 31% more. That is why cross-selling and upselling become so important. One product line that we don’t always focus on that would be a great “upsell” is the Vitalize line. We know that horse lovers will go to great lengths to give the best care to their equine companions. Maybe your customer is feeding Vitalize® Equine Free Choice, but has started showing his or her horse, or has a shortage of high-quality hay this year. Now is a great time to suggest the customer try a different Vitalize product like Equine High Performance or the Equine Protein Pellet.

“Cross selling should be very easy since you already have the customers relationship and business. The hard work is done, don’t be afraid to go after more opportunities,” Gabler said.

Remember, your existing customers already trust you. Don’t forget to upsell and cross-sell to get maximum returns from them and watch their results increase.

Why is it Important to Learn About your Customers?

Just like the first day of class, when a teacher is getting acquainted with his or her students for the next nine months, it is critical for a business owner to get to know his or her customers. And we mean really know them – not just their names and contact information. The more you know about your customer, the more you will be able to help meet their needs, provide outstanding service and build lasting relationships with loyal customers.

Getting to know your customer is all about the customer service and relationship building process. As you get to know your customers, track the information you learned about them, so you don’t forget it. It is perfectly acceptable to write the information on an index card or create a profile of them in your database, so you have the information readily available when you need it.

Take a look at this list of other important tidbits you should know about your customers to help you grow your business.

Who is your customer? 

As trivial as this might sound, it is important to find out your customers’ gender, age and occupation. This will help you relate and communicate with them. Many names are used for both genders, and you should know if Casey, Stacey, Lee or Britt is a man or woman before you make a cold call and ask for the wrong person. Knowing their age and even their birthdate can be important.

What do they do? 

It is important to know their occupation if they work off the farm or ranch, to understand their perspective. It is also important to know their livestock operation goals. Do they have a 9 to 5 job that might require you to stay open a little later, so they can pick up product? Or is their operation large enough that it merits you delivering product on a regular basis? Knowing what they do and what their operational goals are will help you better customize your services to your customers.

When and why do they buy from you?

Does a particular customer only buy product from you during the breeding season or for show livestock? Or do you have a customer who buys multiple products from you year-round? Knowing their habits and when they buy will help you know when to contact them. Contacting them at the time they want to buy a product or service you offer will greatly increase the likelihood of a sale. And matching a product to something that will directly benefit them will help your sales increase as well.

How does your customer like to buy? 

Is your customer someone who appreciates face-to-face interaction and would enjoy a ranch visit from you when you know they are likely low on product? Or is the customer a millennial who would prefer to hear from you via text or email? Know what kind of communication and sales tactic the customer likes to use best and use it. If it is a text or call, post in your calendar when you need to make that call or send that text to remind them about their next order. If they use a particular product and you are getting ready to run a Facebook promotion on it, but you know they don’t have internet, call them and let them know. You’ll probably make a sale.

What does your customer expect? 

If your customer expects timely delivery, don’t disappoint them. One mishap can lose a loyal customer. If your customer expects you to keep track of their rations for them, comply. Your customers’ expectations of you will range from minimal to over-the-top. But remember, service is what makes the sales and the repeat customers come back because of great service.

What does your customer think of you? 

If your customer likes you, your product and your services, they are likely to be repeat customers that continue to buy more from you over time. But, if they become disgruntled, they can turn away and tell all their neighbors to stop their business with you too. Ask your customers for input. This can be a confidential survey or a basic conversation. You can’t make enhancements if you don’t know what to improve.

What does your customer think of your competitors? 

The best way to stay ahead of your competition is to not follow in their footsteps. Once you have a good rapport with your customers, ask what they prefer about you to another company who offers the same goods and services.  It is always better to learn from others’ mistakes than our own.

Now that you have gotten to know your customer, the sales should become more like a conversation and less of a pitch. Building relationships and knowing your customer is key to your business’ growth and success.

Youth Project Opens Doors

For 25 years Don Bush, Powell Feed & Milling, knew Ken Gillig and competed against him in the world of animal nutrition. Gillig, the BioZyme® Key Accounts Manager since 2016, was formerly an ASM, and Bush had been selling Purina through Powell Feed & Milling in various stores in Northern Arkansas.

However, at the 2014 Missouri State Fair, the friendship between Gillig and Bush became even more important when Bush’s daughter’s ram got very sick in the breeding sheep barn. Bush recalls that Gillig told him he had something he wanted him to try.

“Ken brought back a half-dozen Vita Charge® Paste tubes with a note on how to give them to our ram,” Bush said. “I told my daughter, ‘I don’t know what this foo-foo dust is, but it’s better than having a dead ram.’ Two days later he won the open sheep show.”

After that experience with his daughter’s prize-winning sheep projects, Bush knew there was something about the BioZyme products that worked. He helped Gillig get some supplements to producers down around him and told his boss he wanted to introduce the products into the Powell Feed Stores. Skeptical about the price of the products, he agreed. And Powell Feed & Milling has watched its BioZyme product sales grow, all while reaching VIP Dealer status each year.

“I knew it worked for us. I knew it would work for others,” Bush said.

Bush’s situation is a perfect example of why reaching out to young livestock exhibitors and sharing products are effective ways of promoting the products. If Gillig hadn’t shared the Vita Charge products with him, his daughter might have had a dead ram. And furthermore, BioZyme might have one less VIP dealer who has helped the health and performance of many producers in a large part of Northern Arkansas.

Don’t discount the youth exhibitor. They might buy a bag or a bucket of Sure Champ® products. Or maybe a young equestrian uses the Vitalize® products. However, those youth likely have parents who own livestock or a business who could be positively impacted by the BioZyme products as well.

Potential opportunities are everywhere. Ken Gillig seized the opportunity to help a young sheep exhibitor at the Missouri State Fair. But what he ultimately did was help grow business and change the lives of many livestock producers for years into the future.

Engage With Your Customers To Sell A Program

BioZyme® offers many great products for all phases of production. But some producers get comfortable with one product, and don’t always know how to transition to include other products. And sometimes, the new products seem overwhelming. However, with some engagement with your customers, and discussing the benefits of the Amaferm® advantage through all phases, you can expand your marketing to a program-based approach.

Matt Weigel, owner of Darlington Feed & Ag Center in Darlington, Wis., said he works closely with his producers to make sure they understand each step of the feeding process. For instance, he said the dairies he works with all incorporate Amaferm Digest More® in their feed. When Weigel asked if the producers were pleased with their calf feed, they said yes. Then he suggested the Vita Charge® Stress Tub to help them wean better and stay healthier. And the dairies liked them as well. Of course, they all start their program with Vita Charge Neonatal.

“I’m not afraid to give away a stress tub, and I’ll eat the $60 because I am confident I’ll sell 10 more tubs and more product,” Weigel said. “You’ve got to look at the big picture and be open minded. If a producer likes it and uses it forever I’m money ahead.”

He said he is on the dairy farms that are his customers at least every week or every other week to make sure the customers get their questions answered, and to fix any problems before they surface. Although his store represents other products lines, he truly believes in the Amaferm advantage and uses the VitaFerm products on his own cow herd.

“I wear my VitaFerm hat! We really promote VitaFerm because we know it works. I try the products on my own animals and they work. I like them, and I can promote them,” he said.

Another way that Weigel works to engage with his customers and promote products is to take advantage of the assistance the BioZyme Marketing Team and his ASM provide. In 2017, ASM Trent Gabler worked with Weigel and the Marketing Team to create a postcard mailing promoting VitaFerm HEAT® to those producers who use Concept•Aid®. Darlington Feed saw a significant increase in their HEAT sales after that mailing, according to Gabler.

Finally, Weigel said he’s not afraid to use other customers as references. He’ll share the results that ‘Joe Smith’ had when using a product and he said other producers have the mindset that if Joe Smith had great results, then I should try it too.

Using products, proactively making farm visits and sharing testimonials are great ways to engage and promote products. Offering a trial product might cost a little initially, but the returns will pay off in the long-term. Getting customers to use a program and not just one product will also pay dividends and keep that customer active all year long. Look at the big picture, and sell the program.

Grow Your Business Through Engagement

Without customers, business survival looks bleak. There are two key ways to grow your customer base and subsequently grow your business. First, don’t lose your current customers. And secondly, recruit new customers.

According to an article on marketingwizdom.com, “The average business loses around 20 percent of its customers annually simply by failing to attend to customer relationships.”

These are customers that the business has already recruited, mostly likely sold to at least once, but simply didn’t follow up with through simple engagement. Twenty-percent adds up over time, and if a business doesn’t work to recruit new customers, it won’t be long before the business no longer exists.

Get Referrals. One of the best and most cost-effective ways to gain new customers is through referrals. But more importantly, referrals are a way to continue interaction and communication with your current customers, while building relationships with new customers and clients. Communication and interaction is vital to long-lasting relationships.

As with any project you need to set your goals first. Do you want to gain a new customer each day? Two per week? Ten per month? Be realistic in the amount of time you plan to devote to recruiting new customers.  And remember, while recruiting new customers is important, keeping the lines of communication open and engaging with your existing customers is important to keeping them happy and keeping them returning.

Offer incentives. Although referrals can and do happen without incentive, people are sometimes afraid of giving out others’ names. But if there is a small incentive included, that fear usually disappears. Sample incentives include:

  • For every name that you refer that buys product from me this month, I’ll give you X% off your next order
  • For every customer you refer me to, I’ll offer you a Vita Charge® Stress Tub at $X cost

And if you don’t offer an incentive, do show appreciation. Those two little words go a long way and give you one more opportunity to interact with current customers.

Schedule the calls. Set aside 30 minutes a day for a week to make new customer calls. If those calls only take 15 minutes each, you can make two calls a day and engage with 10 potential customers. Even if half of those people purchase product, you’ve gained five new customers in a week. Follow that pattern, and over time you’ll have 20 new customers in a month and watch that revenue soar. And surely over time, those 20 customers will have friends that they will be glad to refer too.

Keep communicating. It doesn’t matter if it’s a new customer or long-time customer, keeping the lines of communication open are key to retention. Create a communications calendar where you follow up with each customer on a regular basis. Contact them to see if they need any products, follow up after the sale to make sure they are happy with their products and reach out to them in between to see if they have any general questions or just to see how their lives are going. Customers like it when you are interested in them and engage in their activities.

Referrals are great ways to build your customer base. Remember to keep those lines of communication open between both current and new customers and watch your business grow.

Customer Success Matters

Customers are the lifeblood of our business. Without their success and their repeated business, it is likely that our business isn’t going to succeed either. As dealers, we need to consider ways to help them succeed and then recognize their efforts.

First, we need to know our customers and understand their goals. Recognize what their individual production schedules look like and what their ultimate goals are. Do they sell their calves at weaning time? If so, you probably don’t need to push the VitaFerm® Gain Smart® product line to them. Do they compete with their horses or livestock? Then perhaps the Vita Charge® Paste or Vitalize® Equine Recovery Paste needs to be a staple in their show box. Customer success isn’t just about selling products; it’s about providing services and motivation to help them succeed.

Do you have a customer that is offering the same mineral program year after year because “that’s how granddad did it.”? If so, perhaps you need to suggest forage testing their hay and offering some alternatives to a more updated supplement program that will better fit their current operation. Maybe the customer didn’t know you offer forage testing and feed analysis. Once they discover the supplements they really need, they might even discover they are saving money over time. If you create an environment for your customer to succeed, they are more likely to succeed and become loyal customers.

But what happens when your customers find success? Congratulate them as soon as you can, and in person if possible. If you don’t think you will see them in the store or at their ranch for a few weeks, pick up the phone or drop them a hand-written note expressing your happiness for them. The fact that you noticed their achievements will go a long way in their customer satisfaction and your professional relationship with them.

Be sure to not only congratulate them, but to let others know about their achievements as well. Customer achievements can range from having a successful production sale to selling the Grand Champion Barrow at a recent livestock show to having a child get accepted to the college or university of his or her choice. Once you know of these success stories, start sharing them with others. There are several ways to share these stories.

Use a bulletin board in your store that allows you to “brag” on your customers. You can post newspaper clippings here. You can ask your customers to submit their photos and accomplishments to you to post on the bulletin board. People like to see what others in their community are doing, and it makes them feel good to be recognized for their successes.

Take that recognition to the next level. Perhaps you distribute a company newsletter or have a Facebook page. Share your customers’ achievements on these venues so more people see them, especially if they relate to success with your products. Producers will buy a product based on peer-success and not just because a sales person said it works (read more about this in Tell Everyone).

If you create an environment for your customers to succeed, and they succeed, they will likely become repeat customers. They will also tell others about their successes, and if you tell others about their successes, your business will continue to grow.

Information Boosts Confidence

Knowledge is power. The more information you have about anything, the more confidence you will have to talk about that product. The more confidence you have, the more enthusiasm you will project, and enthusiasm is contagious!

The above statements are true if you are talking about roping horses, fishing boats or livestock nutrition supplements. Matthew Hudson shares the following in an article on Balance.com, “Seeing someone completely enthusiastic about a product is one of the best selling tools. As you generate excitement for the product, you remove any uncertainty that the product may not be the best solution for that customer. The easiest way to become enthusiastic is to truly believe in the product. Remember, the first sale you make is yourself; the second sale is the product. If they believe in you, they will believe in the product you are selling.”

Many dealers use BioZyme® products, so they have first-hand knowledge and enthusiasm to share with customers and potential customers. However, other opportunities still exist for you to enhance your product knowledge, and therefore share your enthusiasm about the products.

The Master Dealer Program is a great way to expand your product knowledge and help build your confidence about products and programs you might need some additional information about. The online training modules cover a variety of topics, including the overall BioZyme company information and the Amaferm® advantage as well as all the individual product lines.

“When I started the classes, little did I know the outcome would be so great – from learning about nutrition, how to increase sales and the magical ‘Amaferm.’ As they say, knowledge is power. I am thankful to be part of the BioZyme family,” said Yolanda Novack, Master Dealer from Novack Feed & Grain in Lankin, N.D.

Once a dealer successfully completes the training modules and carries at least four of the product lines, they become recognized and marketed as a Master Dealer. It will receive a special designation on the Dealer Locator page on the website, signage with the Master Dealer designation will be provided to the store; and employees who complete the training will be given a special jacket with the Master Dealer logo on it.

BioZyme works hard to give their dealers every opportunity to learn and grow with the company. The Master Dealer program is just one example of the resources created to ensure dealers have access to both people and tools necessary to grow and flourish. And the more employees who complete the Master Dealer training from each location, will experience

more enthusiasm, and therefore should increase their sales.

“The Master Dealer program gives you all the knowledge and understanding you need to be a successful BioZyme dealer or sub-dealer. I truly believe it ties everything we do here at BioZyme together, our values, our brands, our key ingredients, our products and our services offered to our incredible dealers and sub-dealers,” said Ailee Langdon, Events and Training Coordinator at BioZyme. “One of my favorite things I have heard from Lisa Norton is, “take the time, find a way.” Take the time and find a way to enhance your knowledge and grow your business and complete the Master Dealer Program today.”

Dealers with more than one employee interested in completing the training should contact Langdon directly at 816-596-8782 and she will give that employee access to only the Master Dealer Training modules on your Online Dealer Center. Every employee who completes the training will receive a special jacket.