Dealer Spotlight: Megan Souder

PROBLEM SOLVING IS MEGAN SOUDER’S PRIORITY

Even though she’s been a BioZyme® dealer for just over a year, Megan Souder doesn’t consider herself a salesperson. She likes to think of herself more as a problem solver, and customer service is the key to her success in her first year.

Prior to joining the dealer network in September 2017, Souder, from Mount Holly Springs, Pa., spent 18 years in the pet industry, serving as a company representative selling cat, dog and other small pet products to stores across Pennsylvania. She also cared for her own animals, a mixed herd of sheep, goats and alpacas.

But, when a trusted friend and mentor suggested she shift gears and start selling BioZyme and Umbarger products, it was the nudge she needed to become her own boss and help her friends and neighbors with their livestock, too.

“I just don’t hand out the literature. I go over the product with them, I don’t assume they are going to read it if they take it with them. I attend livestock shows and 4-H meetings, anything that a customer asks me to attend. This is where I grew up, so I’ll attend any event I’m invited to,” she said. “I also make myself available to answer any of their questions. If I don’t know, I’ll get the answers from my sales rep or someone from inside the business, but I don’t fake those answers. I also use all the resources available to me from BioZyme like literature and all the trainings that I can, so I can inform the customers about the products.”

Souder conveys her knowledge to customers and potential customers. She uses the Online Dealer Center and has completed the Master Dealer Training Program. She shares links to the YouTube videos about the products, so her customers have every opportunity to learn and hear others’ testimonials. She also relies on the Outreach Support Center to help provide her the supplies and information she needs.

“Jen Miller has been fantastic to get me anything I need from the inside to help me represent the products,” Souder said.

Another reason Souder says she is successful is because she is able to focus on limited brands and products, giving her attention to just two companies’ product lines.

“I only carry these two lines –BioZyme and Umbarger because I’m a specialized store and I think the focus is key. I want to be excellent at a few things rather than good at many,” she said.

Her “store” is more of warehouse located close to home. She doesn’t keep regular hours, but her customers know she is just a call or text away if they are running low on product, need something specific or are in the area in the evening and need to “drop by” and pick something up, just another way she can provide excellent customer service.

As for her customer successes, she said each one has their own success story, and it pleases her when a customer calls, texts or emails her with a photo of their animals and their results. She often shares these results on her Facebook or Instagram for others to see. She said the goat breeders who use both loose mineral and stress tubs, have claimed to see decreased toxemia in their does during kidding time and also have higher conception rates and better egg counts when they do A.I. Sheep breeders and exhibitors who have used Sure Champ® Climate Control say their sheep are less stressed and breath better during the heat. And, cattle people love the Vita Charge Stress Tubs to quiet down the fresh-weaned calves and calm down new arrivals.

“My customers are awesome and every one of them have their own success stories. My customers want to promote these products because they have worked so great for them,” she said.

Listening, solving problems, and being available for her customers have helped Megan Souder achieve dealer success in her first year. Yet, she said she doesn’t really look at the tonnage sold, just the number of people and animals she’s helped.

“I started with a blank canvas. I just look forward to what my future holds. I make changes daily to how things will go to best utilize my time,” Souder said.

Marketing Will Wow Your Customers

Chances are you wouldn’t be selling the products you offer if you didn’t believe in them. In fact, the 2017 Dealer Survey results show that 82 percent of BioZyme® dealers already use the products they sell. So, that personal experience is one way to share your story and tell how the products work in your operation or on your companion animals.

However, a plethora of animal nutrition products exist on the market. And even though we know that our BioZyme supplements are unique due to the Amaferm® advantage, sometimes the best way to WOW your customers is by focusing on your service attitude versus constantly talking about your products.

“My best advice to produce the most effective results is to advertise to your customers where they are, when they are there,” said Ashley Fitzsimmons, Regional & Partners in Performance Marketing Manager for BioZyme Inc. “Fall is a busy time with weaning, harvest and this year’s weather! So, meeting customers where they are whether that is taking out meals to farmers, being present for conversations at your local cattlemen’s meeting, the sale barn on a busy day, your state/county fairs, etc. really is the most effective tactic.”

Being present where your customers are is just one way of providing service marketing. If they are harvesting, they probably haven’t taken time to think about their cow herd’s nutrition prior to calving or even thought about placing a mineral order. But, you probably have. Reach out to them with a sack lunch or an afternoon drink while they are harvesting with a gentle reminder of how many days are left in this year and a list of the mineral they purchased from you last year at this time – making their lives simplified, and potentially making a sale for you!

Another service you can provide is to simply listen. This is a great time of year to host producer meetings. However, the interaction shouldn’t always be about the dealer talking about new products or special promotions. Take time for an open discussion. Hear what is on the minds of the producers and end-users of the products and see how you can provide a service you haven’t already thought of.

“No one knows your customers and your community better than you do, which is what makes local dealers so incredibly vital and important to our company. If anyone ever wants to bounce ideas back and forth or see what tactics have worked best in a community like theirs I’m always available via email,” Fitzsimmons reminds the dealers.

Providing a service and listening to your customers – you have just turned two traditional customer service tactics into marketing plans to help you reach your customers in a way that will WOW them. Everyone likes to have a service provided to them, especially when it is unexpected. And, when a customer is listened to, it makes them feel more like a part of your team. Use these two marketing tools to wow your customers this fall and see your sales grow!

Make an Impact on Others

As the calendar year-end draws closer, many individuals and businesses look for charitable causes to give to. With the holidays near, it is in our hearts and on our minds to give to those who might not have the same advantages we have. But have you thought how you can best make an impact on others?

First, you need to select just a few worthy causes to donate to. Your dollars will make the biggest impact if you don’t spread your gifts too thin over too many charitable organizations. Determine how much you want to spend, and then decide if you want to give all of that to one group or split it two or three ways.

Next, determine how your funds will be used. Does your donation really go toward helping others or will it go to administrative and further fundraising fees? Ask the organization outright. You might be surprised to learn that only 25-percent of your donation goes to the cause. If that is the case, determine if that is a cause worth supporting or is there another charity or individual you can give to? If you are unsure, visit www.give.org and search for your organization, to learn more about the cause and their spending.

Then, choose a cause or organization that is near and dear to your heart. Does someone in your family suffer from a disease that you are passionate about? There is most certainly a group that is raising money for research for a cure to that ailment. Do you care about helping kids whose only meals are what they get at school? Perhaps you’ll want to learn more or donate to Snack Pak 4 Kids™. Maybe you were once involved in 4-H or FFA, Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts, or another local youth organization in your town. It’s always nice to give back to an organization that made a personal impact on your life.

Perhaps you are new to your area, and don’t know where to donate, but want to keep your gift local. Talk to local clergy, someone at the bank or even local law enforcement officers. They are likely to know of local programs like “adopt a family” programs, “shop with a cop”, shelters or food pantries that always appreciate extra financial help around the holidays.

It doesn’t take a big check to make a big impact. If each person donates what he or she is comfortable with, those donations do add up. Pick the organization or groups you would like to help this holiday season and share your joy with others. Make sure the cause you are supporting uses your funds for its programs, and give with a glad heart.

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.

November 2018 – Letters from Lisa

WOWING, verb: “overwhelm with delight or amazement.”

A verb by its nature implies action and at BioZyme ® , we encourage action that drives a WOW, so it is wowing. Wowing things are unexpected and have a strong, pleasurable impact. After a wowing thing happens, the receiver mentally thinks WOW. That’s exactly what we want to do; quietly do things that we hope wow our team (that’s you) every day in every way. My letter this month shares six wowing moments. At this thankful time, I give thanks for all wowing moments. What are yours?

Dealer Spotlight: Shnurman Sire Service, LLC and SP Genetics LLC

Isaiah Shnurman is a researcher. When he and his family decided to open Shnurman Sire Service, LLC & SP Genetics LLC, a reproductive and embryo transfer (E.T.) facility four years ago in central Iowa, he started exploring the best nutrition he could provide bulls, donors and recips coming to this new facility. The research pointed to BioZyme ® products, and after he saw the results first-hand he joined the dealer network.

“We were looking to fortify the nutritional side of our facility,” Shnurman said. “We really started leaning toward Concept•Aid ® and other VitaFerm® products because they are the most tried, true, proven with research when it comes to numbers and being able to have university data to back up these products. We weren’t going to promote something or use something that wasn’t going to work for us.”

The research behind the BioZyme products assists Shnurman in providing exceptional customer service by showing how to increase efficiencies and profits through a nutrition program. He said any time that producers can learn ways to save money, they are willing to learn, especially when it has real-world data to back it up.

“When it comes to nutrition, anything in the cattle business comes down to dollars and cents and even if we see a 1-2% increase across the board on something we’re using – in the long run that does pay off. With Amaferm ® in the products we are seeing an 8-10% increase in efficiency. On one animal that might not sound like a lot, but on a few thousand, you’re talking about making those cattle more efficient and more productive across the board,” he said.

In addition to the research and data, Shnurman said it has been rewarding to see the products work on the cattle at their facility. He houses and collects some of the most-well known A.I. sires in the business, including the $800,000 Angus bull, SAV Elation. All bulls are on Concept•Aid and Vita Charge ® Stress Tubs. He said the Amaferm advantage in these products has maximized the bulls’ abilities nutritionally to get better quality semen from them.

Education and communication go hand-in-hand for Shnurman. He sends out customer newsletters twice a year with information about new products, what is happening those particular times of year, thanks his customers for their continued business and reminds them he is there for their nutrition needs.

He also hosts producer meetings twice a year. These are more in-depth than the newsletter and offer timely advice about calving, calf resuscitation (CPR) during calving, mating decisions at breeding time, and cow-herd and bull nutrition for increased fertility.

Although newsletters and meetings are good methods of communication, Shnurman says nothing can replace a good face-to-face meeting with a producer at his or her operation, something he tries to do with his all his customers.

“The most important thing a dealer can do is actually go out and visit with their customers and look at cattle with them. Going out and taking a couple of hours out of your day to visit with them about their program will be helpful. They might consider one thing a nutritional hole in their program, but if you go out and actually visit with them, you can learn a lot and helpfully fill in some other holes in their program where they can use some other nutritional fortification.”

In the fall, after harvest is complete, he’ll start working with his customers on forage testing. He said he tests a lot of corn stalk bales to see how those residues will work as a nutritional resource. Then, he starts hay testing to see what nutrients the hay is lacking so the producers can plan their supplementation protocols before the need to feed hay begins. That might be a little more challenging this year according to Shnurman, as good quality hay is at a premium with the early drought and then the excessive rains leading to low production. He knows that everyone faces different challenges and has different goals, and that is what he appreciates about the BioZyme products.

“Not every product we have is for everyone. But we have a product that will do something good for every operation out there,” Shnurman said.

Customer service – making sure all of his customers are happy – is his number one goal. And right behind that is making VIP Dealer Status. With the way that he studies the research, reaches out to his customers and provides top-notch service, Shnurman is well on his way to VIP.

Share Your Story

It’s the anniversary dance at a friend’s wedding. The emcee announces for all married couples to gather on the dance floor. Immediately, the newlyweds are seated, being the most recently married. Then in five-or 10-year increments, couples are dismissed by the number of years they have been married. One couple remains, dancing hand-in-hand like they have for 57 wonderfully wedded years. Don’t you wonder what their story is? What is the secret to their success?

And now you’re wondering what that story has to do with being in business or more specifically the animal nutrition business. The point is, everyone has a story. Everyone, including you. And it is time to tell your story.

According to the Small Business Administration, there are more than 28 million small businesses, making up 99.7% of all U.S. businesses. That makes your story one in 28 million! Do you know your story? Do you have a 3-minute “elevator” speech to share with someone if you were mingling at a party or at a networking function where you didn’t know others in the room? Think about it. What is your story? What makes you unique? And I know there is something unique about each and every one of our dealers.

First, determine what your story is. Perhaps, you are an equine enthusiast who became passionate about the products and want to share the products with all of your friends at the barn, show, rodeo, etc… Or, you might be a second-generation dealer who is taking over the reins of the family business – the farm and the feed dealership. Maybe, you are young person who felt there was a void in your “neighborhood” for a high-quality mineral program.

Once you determine what your story is and why you’re passionate about helping animals and their owners, determine who your audience is. Obviously, it is your customers. But, there are potential customers in your everyday lives too. Chances are your doctor or dentist has a dog or maybe even a horse. Do they know that you sell a product that can improve the health and well-being of their four-legged friends? And what about the local service organizations? Rotary, Kiwanis, Sertoma. Those groups are always looking for local businesspeople to come share their stories and how they are involved in the local community. Reach out to them to get on their calendar.

How will you tell your story? Of course, speaking engagements and one-on-one conversations are great. But you probably won’t be able to talk to everyone at one time so use other methods to share your story. Share it on social media. What do you do at the feed store on a daily basis? Did you go out to a customer’s ranch and take forage samples to send in? Document that with pictures to share on Facebook, Instagram or your business web site. People are interested. They have a desire to know what you are doing and how you do it. Explain the process. If you have customer newsletter, devote part of that to your story. Or work with your local paper to have a regular column in it to talk about agriculture and animal health – another great way to share what you are doing.

No, it isn’t always easy to talk about ourselves. And we might not think what we do on a daily basis matters. But remember, as a business you are one in 28 million. You have a story. Share it with those around you. You might be amazed at the positive feedback you receive.

How Employee Personality Profiles Can Save You Turnover Loss

If you’ve ever read the book, “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, you will understand getting the “right people in the right seats on the bus.” Companies don’t fail because they have bad employees, employees that aren’t trained properly or employees that don’t have the right personality. Companies fail because they don’t have the right people “in the right seats.” In other words, they have great employees, but perhaps they don’t have them in positions where they were meant to succeed.

Employee turnover is costly. There is no real way to measure it; you have the time and effort it takes to promote the vacant position, another employee has to fill in, resulting in decreased productivity; if the employee that left was one that others liked and respected, other employee morale could be down, also resulting in lowered performance or even causing others to leave their jobs. By the time you replace one employee that already understood your company culture and policies, recruit, hire and train a replacement employee, you are looking at spending thousands of dollars, and potentially having lost revenue due to losses in employee performance.

In his book, Collins talks about getting people in the positions that they are best suited for. Sometimes a company will hire someone on the premise that that person thinks they know their skill strengths, but they might not always realize their personality strengths and weaknesses. Although personality assessment does take time and money, the investment is typically one that pays off in the end and is less costly than employees leaving and having to recruit, hire and train.

At BioZyme, the employees took the Prism assessment. The results revealed insights into the employees “Emotional, Relational and Team Intelligence (ERT-i). This highly relevant and transformative data will provide you with critical information to impact your personal and professional performance, productivity and success.” In other words, the report likely told each individual things he or she already knew. However, it is an opportunity to let others within the company know more about how to work with each other and for supervisors to make sure they have the right people in the right seats on the bus.

Prism is just one of many assessments that companies can utilize. There are many options available at a variety of price points. Some come with further training while others provide a report and guidance on how to use that report.

So just how important is personality? As Virgin Mobile CEO Richard Branson put it, “Most skills can be learned, but it is difficult to train people on their personality.”

Let’s look at this example. For one Ohio-based company, taking a personality assessment helped its Human Resources and Management teams get people in the right positions. They discovered the person they had working the phones in a marketing customer support role was an extreme introvert. And while his degree was in marketing, he had a passion for graphic design. The company moved him into a design position where he could better use his talents and had no interaction with customers. He became very successful in his job. The same company discovered they had an employee who was very outgoing who hadn’t had the opportunity to talk to customers. They moved her into that customer support role, working on the phones. Not only did her career flourish, but customer satisfaction improved too.

Employee satisfaction and attrition go hand-in-hand. You can save the time and expense of employee turnover by making sure you have the right people in the right positions.

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!

October 2018 – Letters From Lisa

PEOPLE DRIVE CULTURE. CULTURE DRIVES PERFORMANCE.

Let’s look at these sentences backwards. Business is all about performance, so business is all about culture. And therefore, business is all about people. I believe whole-heartedly that every business is not about its product, its location, or its finances. Businesses are about people.

I also believe EVERY person wants to do good and make others happy (pretty simple), but communication and personality routinely get in the way (pretty complex) of that. How we work through this dynamic is obviously very important since all a business really has to help it succeed is its people.

Finding more of the right people has been a challenge for BioZyme ® , so we have had to reach out for some help. A recruiting company we are working with suggested we implement their personality assessment system to screen potential hires. They encourage this approach because there is proof that assessment-based hiring is more profitable and productive. I was thinking this was a great idea and trying to figure out how to get it going when I stumbled across a “60 Minutes” episode on a guy who is cloning previously successful polo horses in Argentina. Luckily, we have quite a few folks I would like to clone. So, thinking in that frame of mind and then realizing the value of understanding who we might be hiring and how they fit into that team; I thought assessing our entire current team might be a great idea to advance this journey of simple/complex where people drive culture and culture drives performance.

The tool is called the Prism. It analyzes more than 50 human traits and skills across seven integrated modules, including: Primary Personality; Personality Under Pressure; Processing; Decision Making; Conflict Management; Motivation; and Fundamental Needs. It has been a great experience for us. Our coach used me and Alan Lee to help our team understand the results on all of these points. I won’t share them all with you, but I do want you to see a little bit of what he and I learned about each other (it won’t surprise you). We are completely different on three of the four processing measurements. As two visionaries who are very driven to grow our Company, understanding this about one another in concrete terms has been very helpful when working on opportunities.

I have learned four very useful things from this experience:

1. No two people are the exactly the same.

2. No one is exactly the same as me. Thank goodness I know, but this is important for me to remember so I walk in others’ shoes and then join our shoes together before making decisions.

3. Most people, but not all, act differently under pressure.

4. Self-reflection and then thinking about the reality of that reflection in how one operates are very important each and every second of every day when working with a team.