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.

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!

Reach More for Less with Social Media

Social media is a great tool to reach a lot of people with minimal investment. Today, nearly 70% of the entire U.S. population has at least one account on a social media platform, and 42% of farmers use Facebook or Twitter daily.

Caitlin Tye, Content and Social Media Manager for BioZyme®, says there are two primary purposes to reach customers with social media, as a marketing tool and as a customer care tool.

“Everything you put on social media is strategic communication. It is not unplanned conversation,” Tye said.

When using social media as a marketing tool, you should see tangible results with an increase in sales. Be sure to know your audience, and what motivates them. And understand what content is important to your audience: talk about the products and their uses; highlight producers who have had positive results; keep customers updated on news from your dealership – new products, events or upcoming promotions. And, remember, sometimes social media as a marketing tool will cross over to customer care.

Tye offers four best practices when using social media as a marketing tool.

1 – Less is more. Capture the audience’s attention with short, effective post copy. People don’t have time to read a lot of text, so keep the copy precise and catchy.

2 – Imagery. Never post content without a visually appealing image to accompany it. Nothing should be posted without an image. Ever.

3 – Engagement.  Be clear how you want your audience to react to your message. Will they comment on it? Will they “like” the post? Will your customers “share” the post, and engage with others who are potential customers?

4 – User Generated Content (UGC). “Never underestimate the power of a brand-loyal fan,” Tye said. UGC is an unsolicited post submitted by a customer who is passionate about the product, who has seen a positive result. UGC is accompanied by a strong image, a powerful testimonial, and is more effective than you telling your customers how wonderful your products are.

If you have questions about social media or developing a social media strategy, contact Caitlin Tye at 309-582-6454 or ctye@biozymeinc.com

Here are a few examples of strong posts that will work as marketing tools. If you need help with Facebook posts about our products, contact Kristi Stevens, Marketing Project Manager, at 816-596-8795.

Product Highlights:
Show a picture of the product in use or product that you have in stock and ready for purchase.

Dealership Information:
Share services offered, exciting news or upcoming specials with your customers.

Customer Testimonials:
Testimonials are one of the most powerful tools you can use to sell products. Coupling a customer’s words with their photo (preferably using the product) makes great content for your social channels.

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.

Get Social with Marketing and Promotion

Facebook. YouTube. Twitter. Instagram. Snapchat. These are just a few of the social media platforms that your customers or your customers’ kids engage with on a daily basis. And they are becoming some of the most widely used marketing tools out there.

If you are looking for a timely way to reach and interact with your customer base, social media is the tool to use, and unlike some predictions of less than a decade ago, social media is here to stay. The reach and engagement is so widespread when using social media, it is hard to deny that it is an effective way to reach a large following very quickly and at a very low cost.

According to an April 2017 report on ebizmba.com, 1.5 billion unique users visit Facebook each month. Granted those users span the globe, that is an amazing number of people to reach with your message.

BioZyme® wants you to succeed in your online presence and posts regularly to its multiple Facebook pages, making content readily available for you to share from your dealer or personal pages. Many BioZyme brands have a Facebook page with content posted regularly. With just a click of the ‘share’ button, you can add that content onto your company Facebook page as well.

Here are just a few examples of ways you can use social media to engage with your customers.

Promote your products. Did you just get a shipment of a new product in? Take a photo and post it to your social media accounts. A picture is truly worth a thousand words on social media.

Create a hashtag and use it properly. Hashtags, the little pound symbol before a group of words, can be a powerful way to reach a group of like-minded people. For example, “#surechamp is great product to keep your show animals on feed this summer,” might be a tweet you post, with a link to Facebook page and a promotion on Sure Champ. Young people familiar with the brand name, but not exactly what it does might click on that post, and learn more and become your next customer. 

Host a contest. Sure Champ® already posts judging classes to its Facebook page. Perhaps you can share this, and you can reward a local winner with a cap or a tube of Vita Charge® Paste. Or make up your own contest. May is beef month, so host a photography contest where your customers can submit their favorite photo of cattle, and then entries are voted on by others on social media.

Recognize your customers. You just hosted a customer appreciation event. Post photos of those who attended, and especially any big door prize winners.

Educate your customers. Share articles of interest with them from other news sites or groups. Chances are if you post these items of interest, your social page will become a one-stop source for your customers. Adding a quick thought about the information you’re sharing is always a great way to continue the conversation with your followers.

It’s time to get social. Promote your business and reach out to your customers.

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.

Don’t Forget the Young Customers

When it comes to kids, parents are usually not afraid to spend a little extra money to invest in their activities. Parents will spend money on sports camps, dance clinics, traveling ball leagues and personal trainers and coaches. And that is just the beginning. There are still participation fees, uniforms, equipment, lodging, travel and meals.

Showing livestock is no different – you have the initial investment of the animals, nutrition and health protocols to follow, bedding, equipment and fitting supplies not to mention entry fees and lodging, travel and meals.

But once you’ve made that initial investment in your livestock project, don’t you want to make sure it stays healthy while eating and gaining weight? That is why it is super important to focus on our younger customers – those who participate in youth livestock projects and their parents.

“I have yet to meet a parent who doesn’t want to see their kids succeed,” said Britney Creamer, ASM in Western Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. “Showing livestock is a ‘sport’ where not everyone gets a participation ribbon and parents generally go above and beyond to see their kids be successful.”

“I recommend Sure Champ® to anyone who comes in to buy show calf feed,” said Burton Nusz, store manager at West Slope Ag in Olathe, Colo. “The animals stay healthy and will stay on feed. Once the customer has tried it, the products sell themselves.”

Creamer said most conversations will start with the younger exhibitors who have seen a product promoted on social media or are aware of a promotion or giveaway. The kids will recognize the brand name, but perhaps not fully understand its function or use. That is when it is time to strike up a conversation with the parents, and the easiest way to do that is to jog their memory of that one time when…

“I always ask if they ever had an animal that went off feed or water when they got it to a show. It doesn’t matter if they showed at a county fair or all over the country, almost everyone recalls that memory, it strikes up a conversation, and then I tell them I have an insurance policy for them with added benefits,” Creamer said.

In addition to helping “insure” the show animals won’t go off feed again, Sure Champ products have many benefits including a healthy skin and hair coat and keeping animals gaining in an efficient manner. There are also complementary products in the Vita Charge® line that offer the convenience of different forms of delivery, including Vita Charge Stress Tubs that don’t have to be hand mixed with each feeding.

Creamer offers other suggestions for helping promote the Sure Champ line to customers and their kids for their summer show projects.  Creamer said the 10-pound bag of Spark is a good size to have at the counter. When a customer buys any show feed, it is great to start up a conversation about Spark and how to use it in conjunction with the show feed that is being purchased.

Another creative promotion Creamer has encouraged her dealers to try is setting a jar of red hots on the counter and having customers guess the correct number in the jar; the closest guess wins a shirt or a tube of Sure Champ Climate Control Paste.

Creamer also encourages her dealers to engage on some type of social media since the young exhibitors are so in-tune and already having conversations in that space.

Perhaps the most important tool Creamer uses is talking about the Amaferm® advantage, and how it helps the animals grow and gain. And although it varies by region and dealer, most of the products will only cost about 50 cents per animal/day – a pretty easy investment when talking about kids being successful in the show ring.

“A lot of my customers care about the rate of gain contest or carcass contest at their county fairs. I will tell them about Sure Champ and how that will help their animals put on pounds quickly no matter the show feed ration they are feeding,” Creamer said.

Customer Testimonials Reflect Passion for Products

I know what I heard is true. John Doe told Jim Smith who told Bob Black all about his latest news, and I heard it from Bob at the local coffee shop. Yes, word of mouth does spread like a wild fire, but if used properly, word of mouth and customer testimonials can be great marketing tools that share not only good information, but passion for our products.

Chris Kyle, ASM in Arkansas, Louisiana and northeast Texas, says the value in customer testimonials is that the person reviewing or talking about the specific product or experience has nothing to gain by doing so. He or she is merely bragging about something positive that has happened on the farm or ranch and wants everyone else to know about it.

“The people who are talking about our products have nothing to gain; they have achieved some sort of success in their area first, and want others to know they have that feather in their cap,” Kyle said.

Most customers are glad to give a review or testimonial. You can ask for it written, take notes as it is given orally or even use the technology that you have on hand to record a video.

“The customers don’t hold back. I ask them how a particular product is doing and they will start talking and telling me about all the good things they have happen with their animals’ health,” Kyle said.

Kyle said that customer testimonials are a great way to reach potential customers, and even though the days of chatting at the coffee shop still exist, more and more dealers and producers have started using social media as a marketing tool; a very quick way to spread customer testimonials and praises.

Another thing Kyle does is shoot a short video – typically 30-seconds – on his iPad or phone of the customer talking about the products. The visuals of their facial expressions and tones of their voices help exude the passion they have for the products they are talking about. He then shares those videos with the marketing team to post to a social media site.

One of the greatest things about social media is the reach that it has. Once a post is made, any individual or dealer can like, comment or share that message, which can be shared again. An example is a blog post that is posted to Facebook on Monday morning and by Friday, has 350 likes and 50 shares. Fifty other companies or individuals have shared that link to their own pages, making the information spread much more quickly than the hearsay at the local coffee shop!

Early marketer and promoter P.T. Barnum said, “Nothing draws a crowd quite like a crowd.”

Customers who have achieved success will be passionate about the products they are talking about. It is important to remember those success stories when you have a producer meeting or customer appreciation event. If you know of customers who have had great success with the products ask for them to share their experiences with the crowd you have gathered. Their real-world stories and experiences that their neighbors might also encounter will definitely help make a sale.

Finally, when sharing testimonials with customers, Kyle says he drops names of big-time, successful producers in the area. If he knows someone who runs 500 cows has had good results with a product, he might mention their name to someone down the road with fewer cows that is undecided about trying a BioZyme® product. He knows the first call that will be made when he leaves is to that neighbor, whose name Kyle mentioned.

Producers are passionate about the products that work for them. Use that passion through customer testimonials as one more resource in your marketing tool kit.

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.