Displays That Excite!

Customers shop with their eyes, and their eyes need to land on a display that is exciting enough to entice them, yet simple enough to understand as well as being simple for you to assemble in the limited space that you have available. Here are a few ways you can spice up your displays to make them eye-appealing and useful to the consumer:

Keep things at eye level. No one likes to bend down to read a product label, so it is important to stack product high enough that customers can see what it is without getting on their knees. With that said, be sure to stack bags at a safe level and neatly so they don’t slide around and fall over.

Group like products together. Keep similar product lines together, so customers can see the various options that are available to them. They won’t want to go back and forth between products to compare labels.

Place small pack products up front. These smaller, usually less expensive items sometimes get left behind in the stacks of 50-pound bags and tubs. Place smaller items up front and train employees to suggest them as customers are checking out, especially if they complement other items customers are buying or are in season. Is it calving time? Be sure to suggest some Vita Charge® Neonatal or Vita Charge Paste. If it is the summer show season, and a customer is buying Sure Champ® keep Climate Control near the counter, and remember to suggest they add a few tubes of that to their order.

Displays don’t have to be extravagant to be eye-catching. Some signage is nice, but flashy neon signs and streamers aren’t necessary. Contact Kristi Stevens, Marketing Project Manager at (816) 596-8795 to order pre-designed, eye-appealing signs with the brand logos on them to hang above products your store offers. These vinyl signs are easy to clean, easy to read and will lead customers to the products they are looking for.

Add product information to your displays. Information is power, and it is always a good idea to add support materials like a product brochure or spec sheet close to the products you have on display. You might be busy with another customer, and the brochure might have just the information a customer was looking for to make the decision to buy the product.

Be sure to add any special pricing or promotions. Once again, signage doesn’t have to be extravagant, just easy to read with a clear message.

Display at least one of every product you offer. You might not have a large area to bulk stack multiple bags of the same product. Then use a table to put out one of each product or literature on the products you do have available. If the customers don’t know you have it, they can’t buy it.

Making an effective display takes time and energy, but it doesn’t take an advanced degree in artistic design or carpentry. Use the resources available to you, make it easy to see and add signage and supporting materials to provide information.  Keep small-pack products close to the front where they can be easily discussed at check-out, and keep items out on a seasonal basis. Follow these basic reminders, and you will be able to show everyone the great products you offer.

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

Good Things Come in Small Packages!

Routine is a comfortable place to be. Most of us probably follow the same pattern every morning as soon as the alarm goes off, and if we miss a step, our entire morning is just off. We often sit in the same pew at church, park in the same space at work and usually order the same toppings on our pizza any time we call for carryout. Your customers probably have a routine when it comes to ordering and buying products too. But have you suggested they try something new or different?

Changing a routine isn’t always necessary, but sometimes it can make life better. Most of the BioZyme® products are developed to be a proactive way to manage animals’ health and well-being. But let’s face it, animals will stress, become sick and go off feed, and when that happens their owners are looking for a quick-fix. That is where the products like Vita Charge® Liquid Boost or Paste or Vitalize® Equine or Dog Recovery Paste can help. These small pack products are easy to use, low risk and have a quick response time. Animal owners might not always think of these smaller items as time savers that can help their animals quickly, but remember good things do come in small packages.

If you have these small pack products on-hand, but don’t feel like your customers know the benefits of using them or if they even exist, it is time to get creative in your education and marketing efforts. Consider bundling like-items together for a slightly reduced price. You might bundle a tube of Vitalize® Equine Recovery Paste with the Vitalize High Performance or Vitalize Protein Pellets. Is it summer show season in your area? Bundle a tube of Climate Control with Sure Champ®, and ask your customers to report back to you with the positive results they have experienced after trying Climate Control.

In addition to bundling the products for a reduced price, be sure to display the small pack products in a prominent location. If it is farrowing, lambing or calving time, you could create a catchy display that features the Vita Charge® line: Liquid Boost, Recovery Paste and Neonatal, all near the front of the store. Be sure to have some point of sale information close by, and make sure all employees know how to describe and discuss the benefits of the products.

Offer a promotion. Everyone appreciates a good deal, so offer a limited time, promotion to make sure your customers know about these small pack products. This can be done several ways – online, in conjunction with an open house or producer meeting, or in-store. Be sure to put extra effort in promoting the products, their benefits and how they complement other products your customers are currently using.

In addition to being easy to use and having multiple applications, these products are low risk. The Vita Charge and Vitalize products are all-natural nutritional supplements that show no negative drug interaction, but are still very compatible with antibiotics. These products are safe because customers can’t give their animals “too much.”

Finally, as the dealer selling these products and helping your customers, you are also helping your bottom line since these products also offer a higher profit margin.

It might seem more advantageous to sell Stress Tubs and 50-pound bags of supplements as we are so accustomed to focusing on tonnage, but don’t forget to suggest these smaller items to your customers too as the profit margin and benefit to your customer makes it all worthwhile. There are small products for every specie and every season, so your customers should always have some of these in their feed room.

Social Media is a Customer Care Tool

The days of waiting for “normal business hours” to get good customer service are gone. You no longer have to wait until 8 a.m. to dial the phone and hope you get someone knowledgeable on the other end of the line to answer your questions. With social media at our fingertips, it is now viewed as a customer care tool as well as a marketing resource.

Responding or not responding to those customer inquiries can be vital to your company. A Gartner study showed that inquiries that are not responded to will eventually lead the company to a 15% churn rate or loss of business. Conversely, if a company engages and responds to a customer on social media, that customer is likely spend an additional 20-40% more with the company.

“Social media is one of the biggest overlooked resources as a customer care tool,” said Caitlin Tye, Content and Social Media Manager for BioZyme® Inc. “Be sure to have a plan to use social media wisely and respond to your customers.”

We’ve listed five best practices to use social media effectively as a customer care tool. Follow these steps for increased customer retention and growth.

Pick the platform that’s best suited for your audience. If you know that your audience is 30-65 year-olds that primarily use Facebook, that is the platform you need to use. There is no need to be on Instagram or even Snapchat. Use the platform you know will have response and engagement from your customers and potential customers.

Monitor social media. This doesn’t mean you need to sit and stare at your computer all day after you make a post or watch and wait for someone to mention your product. However, you do need to check your alerts for comments and direct messages and be sure you are responding to your customers in a timely manner.

Speed matters. In a survey conducted by The Social Habit, 25% of social users would like a response within the same day, while 42% expect a response within an hour. Tye said it is her goal to respond to customer care inquiries on BioZyme social platforms before the end of the day the message came in, and she usually is a lot quicker than that, depending on the time of day of the inquiry and how much research needs done to respond.

Use the proper tone of voice. Yes, you are typing, but there is still a “tone” to those keystrokes. If someone is upset or has a challenge, show empathy in your response, and don’t ever get defensive. If a customer is excited about the success of a product, don’t be afraid to share in that success, complete with exclamation points and even a smiling emoji! 😊

Know when to move the conversation offline. This doesn’t mean removing a customer’s post, unless it contains vulgar or profane language. However, not all issues can be resolved on social media. Perhaps the customer needs to visit over the phone with a nutritionist or an ASM for clarification or deeper understanding. But remember, direct them to the correct person initially. No one likes getting the run-around and being told they need to talk to someone else.

Customer service is key to retaining and growing your customer base. Make sure you are using the latest technology to answer customer questions and provide them the timely service they have come to expect. Social media is more than a marketing tool, and when used properly can be a great customer service resource.

Invest in Your Team to Grow Your Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THANK YOU.

Customers are the #1 Player on the Team

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Use Social Media to Boost Your Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Do You Need to Grow?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grow Your Customer Base in 7 Simple Steps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!