Dealer Spotlight: Field Farms

BioZyme® dealer Mitch Field at Field Farms shares his own personal success stories with the products to gain the trust and business of potential customers. He and his family had positive experiences with the VitaFerm® products on their Angus operation in Erhard, Minn., but the closest dealer to him was 100 miles away, so Field decided to become a dealer. He started sharing his success stories, has conducted producer meetings and has taken his message to social media, all while watching his business grow during the past two years.

“The biggest challenge for me has been getting people on a strict mineral program. But I’m working to get them feeding it all year, so it is better for their cows too, and some of them are starting to come around,” Field said.

In an area where farming is the dominant profession and most producers have less than 50 head, Field said getting them on a year-round program has been a battle. However, when they see the benefits of the Amaferm advantage, they are starting to realize the importance of providing excellent nutrition to their herd all year.

Field said he promotes the mineral program by seasons and production cycle. When he and his family only had to treat one sick calf out of 150 at weaning after using Vita Charge® Drench and Stress Tubs, that definitely grew his customer base. He has his producer meetings in the fall just prior to weaning to sell the benefits of the Vita Charge program. He also notes with the humidity and the number of lakes they have in their area, the VitaFerm HEAT® mineral has been easy to sell.

“With where we live in Minnesota, we run into a lot of fly issues in the summer, so I tell people about the HEAT mineral. Once they try it, they really like it, and they don’t have to worry about pinkeye issues either,” Field said.

Though his own experiences have helped him educate producers in his area about the benefits of a high-quality mineral program, he’s also gone a step further, and shares some of his experiences on social media. He shares his personal experiences on Twitter and said that he’s had a few other cattle producers reach out to him about mineral programs. He was able to refer them to BioZyme dealers in their area, and at least one purchased product.

“I always have people ask certain things. Since I’ve had good luck with the product, I share personal experiences with my followers,” Field said.

Educating others on the value of the mineral program is key; however, the biggest benefit to becoming a dealer is the personal network that Field has made. He said he has made connections with people in his own area he didn’t even know raised livestock and made valuable friendships with other BioZyme dealers and staff that he looks forward to talking with on a regular basis.

“I’ve made some good friends along the way. I talk to Keith Micke (Dealer in Wyoming) about once a month and Rowdy Pope (ASM in Florida) about once a week.”

For Field, it’s more than a mineral program. Being a dealer has allowed him to share his experiences, help others help their herds and cultivate friendships and connections along the way. That’s care that comes full circle.

Producer Meetings are an Ideal Venue to Promote the Program

Producer meetings are a great way to gather a group of like-minded people to talk about the BioZyme® products, exchange ideas and see your customers and potential customers all in one setting. Depending on your location, it’s probably best to host these meetings in the fall or spring, when producers are not swamped with field work or busy with calving, weaning or breeding.

One of the best topics that can be discussed at a producer meeting is the overall benefit of the Amaferm® advantage that animals receive through all BioZyme products, according to Jake Warntjes, National Sales Director and Area Sales Manager for Kansas, Western Oklahoma and Northwest Texas.

“First, educating producers on the benefits of Amaferm provides a common thread and basis of understanding of the ingredient in all BioZyme products. From there, selling the value of Amaferm and how its metabolic impacts on the animal will increase the bottom line will help position value over cost.,” Warntjes said.

Once they know about the benefits of Amaferm, producers need to understand the benefits of a year-round mineral program, the second topic you will want to address at your producer meeting. Some producers want to use a mineral at breeding or calving; however, to receive the maximum benefits, a year-round program is essential.

Educating the producer on a program, not only helps their herd, it also will help your bottom line (see charts below).

“You have to help them understand it is something you can’t do just part of the year like right before breeding or right at weaning. It is something you need through all production phases to see the full value of using it for a full year,” Warntjes said. “You have to keep Amaferm in them year-round whether you keep them on Concept•Aid® or Cattlemen’s Blend™. They have to realize the importance of keeping them on Amaferm all year.”

The best way to help your producers establish a nutrition program is to visit with them about their goals. Determine what they want to establish in terms of increased conception rates, heavier weaning weights, healthier cattle or how they might want to market their calves on a value-added program using the VitaFerm® or Gain Smart® mineral programs.

It’s more than a mineral. It’s a program. Not only does that program help your customers have higher-performing, healthier animals, according to the numbers below, your sales and income will grow too. Producer meetings are a great way to share that “program” message with your producers. Start with educating them on the benefits of the Amaferm advantage and watch your business grow.


Education is Key to Product Launches

Change is inevitable. It is a sign of growth; however, it usually doesn’t come without a few growing pains. One of the most exciting changes a business can make is to launch a new product. New products mean new education and sales strategies, but with the BioZyme products, there are some things to remember. First, no new products are introduced without proven research to back them, and all products include the Amaferm® advantage.

“We don’t come out with these products on a whim. Our company does a lot of research and have requests for these types of products before our leadership decides to make them,” said Jake Warntjes, National Sales Director and Area Sales Manager for Western Kansas, Western Oklahoma and Northwest Texas. “All new products have much thought, time and research devoted to them.”

Whenever BioZyme does introduce a new product, it does its very best to provide the information and education to its dealers in a timely and concise manner. Information is available in the Online Dealer Center and multiple webinars are scheduled that allow interaction between the dealers and the staff to learn and ask any questions they have. Typically, ASMs are armed with information prior to these webinars so they are available to help the dealers learn or answer any further questions they have.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that all of the BioZyme products work together as part of a program, so when a new product is introduced, it will usually fit into an existing program, and be an improvement. Think about Gain Smart® Stocker HEAT®. This was an improvement on an existing product that many find beneficial during the summer months. It is part of a program, still offers the benefits of Amaferm, but wouldn’t necessarily replace Gain Smart Stocker in every climate or every time of year.

“The best way to launch a new product is to show how it fits into a particular program. Show how it can work with the other products you’ve been offering, how they work together and how and when to use them. Use them different ways and different times of year. It all goes back to promoting the programs,” Warntjes said.

Remember, not all new products will be suited to all your customers. Once you know about a new product, prepare a target list of customer who the product would benefit and develop a strategy to reach out to let them know what you have, how it works, and how it will fit into to their existing program. It is common that most people will have to hear about this new product several times in multiple mediums before they make a purchasing decision, so be persistent if you feel it will truly benefit their operation.

Change is a necessary part of growth. Growth is needed in order for a business to succeed. Growing pains are part of those changes, but they don’t have to be painful. Plan ahead, educate yourself, your staff and your customers on new products and changes, and watch your business grow.

The Benefits of Customer Education

We ask a lot of our employees – be knowledgeable about the products, provide outstanding customer services and sell, sell, sell the product! But did you know there is another important task that we need to have them do? Yes, we need to start educating the customers on the products and services.

Education is not the same as marketing, and when you educate your customers, they feel empowered to make greater decisions. Customer education happens when you present the facts. According to the article by Customer Think, when you educate your customers, you “equip customers with the knowledge & skills needed to make the most out of your product or services.”

So, how is that different from marketing? With education, you are only presenting them the facts to help them solve their problems or meet their goals. With marketing, you are getting emotionally involved and persuading them to purchase a product or service through elaborating on features and benefits of the product or service.

Although marketing is key to making the sale, let’s explore the three key benefits to providing customer education.

  1. Build Customer Trust. Any time you provide information and take time to present that information, you are communicating with your customers. Communication builds trust and trust builds loyalty. According to the Customer Think article, people will trust a business that has presented several solutions to their challenge; not just tried to sell them one product that will do the job.
  2. Reduce Complaints. When the initial trust is built between the customer and the business, the number of complaints will decrease. Furthermore, when the customer is fully educated about a product or process, he or she can do some of his or her own troubleshooting, which will free up your support staff’s time.
  3. Enhance Customer Loyalty. The customer trusts the business because the business took time to provide information. The customer understands the benefits and challenges of the products and how they will help achieve goals. Because of the trust established, the customer will usually remain loyal to the brand or the business.

Now that you’ve learned why you should educate your customers; how will you accomplish it? You are probably already doing several things to provide information but remember to think about the basics when it comes to providing information.

There are several avenues you can use to deliver information to your customers such as producer meetings, in-store meetings, on-farm visits and via social media channels. Use these outlets to provide the most current information about the products. To stay relevant and current on product information, be sure to take advantage of the resources BioZyme ® provides like Master Dealer Training, Dealer Retreat, Online Dealer Center and other communication tools.

Informed customers make informed choices, have trust in a product and company and become loyal customers. Yes, your plate is full, but the time you spend educating your customers will just help you grow your business even more.

 

Resource used in this article: http://customerthink.com/educating-your-customers-the-benefits-how-to-achieve-it/

May 2019 – Letters from Lisa

Education is Part of Care that Comes Full Circle.

At the risk of singing to the choir, I am going to attempt to share how all of us can educate others about our industry and the importance of what we do using “care that comes full circle” as our guide.

According to a study conducted by The Center for Food Integrity, 56% of consumers say they know just a little bit about the farming practices that produce their food, but 80% want to know more. More than half are interested in affordable, healthy food and are confident in its safety. Unfortunately, that means half are not. Stats specific to livestock found that 38% desire meat that is derived from humanely treated animals, while 48% are unsure if that is important to them or not. In addition, 54% are concerned about antibiotic residues in their food.

The study also found that trust is the key to consumers when it comes to sharing information (educating). What drives this trust? Shared values.

A good example of doing this is found in a response by a veterinarian mother.

“Hello, I’m Dr. Dorman! As the mother of three children, it is vitally important to me to ensure that antibiotics are effective when I need them most: when one of my kids is sick. As a veterinarian, I also recognize the importance of antibiotics to the welfare of animals. I took an oath to protect animal health, prevent animal suffering, and to promote human health. Remaining true to this oath is very important to me.”

With these stats and insight, the question is how do each of us educate and then advocate for our industry? I believe the three thoughts below uses a “care that comes full circle” approach. In other words, it is based on the idea that if we take care in our approach to educate; the other party will care enough to listen back with an open mind due to shared values.

  • Listen without judgment to their values to find out what is important to them.
  • Ask questions to acknowledge their perspective and then dig deeper to show you want to understand things more, while trying hard not to comment back or use a defensive tone in any way.
  • Share your perspective through your values and then use resources that have supporting information to that perspective.

If you are interested in seeing this approach in action, you can watch a helpful video that AFIA produced at https://vimeo.com/219907731/df206803cd.

Interestingly enough, this approach is just as useful with things around your business. That might be a great place to practice this approach.

Whether training employees or teaching consumers about agriculture, I think you will find this three-step approach helpful. Listen, ask and share. If we listen before we share, we’ll seem genuinely interested and that is the first step in “care that comes full circle.”

Dealer Spotlight: Associated Feed

Associated Feed Develops Next Generation of Livestock Enthusiasts

Imagine taking one day away from your dealership or store front to teach upwards of 1,000 people the basics about feeding and showing livestock. You’ve just enriched 1,000 lives with information and potentially created an interest to continue pursuing a career in the livestock field, but you’ve also come into contact with a lot of potential customers.

Associated Feed & Supply, Turlock, Calif., has hosted at least 12 all-day, totally-free Associated Feed Junior Livestock Camps each October for young livestock exhibitors, the parents, 4-H leaders and FFA advisors in Central California. The day-long camp that focuses on evaluation and selection, nutrition and feeding, fitting and showing of beef, sheep, goats and hogs, is conducted at Modesto Junior College.

“Livestock and agriculture are dying industries, and we feel it is our job to help these kids learn more about their projects to where we not only we can help educate them to have a successful project, but also spark their interest in ag to continue their involvement in agriculture,” said Nick Warntjes, Associated Feed’s Northern California Sales Rep who manages the Camp. “We want to make sure the kids, parents, 4-H leaders and FFA advisors have the tools and resources they need for a successful livestock project. Selling feed is a secondary bonus.”

Warntjes said they invite highly reputable industry leaders from all parts of the United States to teach about each species, one of the things he believes is such a big draw for the attendees each year. He said in the last Camp, between 500-600 people were pre-registered, but 800-1,000 people actually showed up. The reason they ask for preregistration is to ensure every youth leaves Camp with a unique t-shirt.

“Every kid gets a free Camp t-shirt. It is pretty amazing how much that t-shirt means to the kids. I see those t-shirts at county fairs and worn all over the place the next year,” Warntjes said.

And because the California Camp has been so successful, typically drawing youth from California, Nevada, Idaho and Washington, Associated Feeds expanded its efforts and offered a similar Camp in Oregon this past February. Warntjes said that first-time event drew 300 participants from Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Northern California, stating one family even drove 10 hours to attend.

“I truly appreciate the support of Chris Benevedes, my boss at Associated Feeds. He approves and supports these camps. He’s been very generous in continuing to allow us to expand this event and allow us to put it on,” Warntjes said.

Finding high-quality speakers that are respected within the industry are what draws so many people to the Camps. Warntjes asks each year how many young people have previously attended and estimates 30-40% are repeat attendees.

“It’s about bringing knowledgeable people in front of the kids where they can learn something and ask any questions they have.”

Associated Feeds knows the importance of developing the future generations and they give back one day each October to do just that. They get involved, provide the resources and create a spark of excitement in livestock enthusiasts.

Community Involvement Leads to Business Awareness

Giving back to your community and the people within it usually leaves the giver with a great sense of accomplishment and good will. However, if your business and its employees take time to get involved in community events, it will spread that sense of giving even further and spread brand awareness and business loyalty within your community.

While you and your business are making a societal impact, you are also actually doing good things for your business and employee morale. Studies have shown that a business’s involvement in community outreach will actually strengthen employee retention, especially with younger employees who have been taught the value of giving back through school and other organizations. And, while employee retention might not sound like a big deal, it is actually huge when it comes to the cost of replacing an employee. The recruiting, hiring and training process can cost a company thousands of dollars. Here are four other ways you can make a positive impact on your business while helping others in the community.

Increase Brand/Business Awareness

When you get involved in community events, you represent not only yourself, but your business. Introduce yourself that way. Others that you are working with will likely be curious about what you do/make/sell. And chances are, someone you are volunteering with that day will have a need for some good or service you offer. Remember, a majority of households have pets, and BioZyme ® markets canine products. You can also use the opportunity to promote your good will on your company website or social media. Take photos of your employees giving back and put them out on social media or make a display board in your store. Local customers are more likely to do and continue business with companies that are involved in the community.

Connect with the Community

It seems obvious that if you are participating in community service events that you are making connections. But your connections can lead to an amazing network of professionals, potential customers and employees. Maybe you have been thinking about engaging in social media, but don’t have the time, patience or skill set to post everything you want on your company Facebook or Twitter. When you are volunteering your time, you might just find someone who is capable of working on social media on a part-time basis, or you might be able to find other ways to connect by joining professional organizations or service groups.

Make a Difference

In a day where the nightly news is filled with so much bad isn’t it time to make a difference? You never know what the impact might be of a meal served to a shut-in or volunteering for a community Easter egg hunt will mean to a child who might not ever receive an Easter basket. Although giving back is sometimes thankless, the small smiles, hand squeezes and simplicity of knowing you made the difference to at least one person should make you want to give your time and efforts.

Grow Internal Relationships

At the beginning of this article, it was mentioned that employee retention is just one benefit of community involvement. However, if your business can devote a half-day or day to the community, it will give your employees a chance to build greater bonds, come together outside of work and appreciate one another as humans and not just co-workers. Having strengthened relationships outside the company will increase employee morale and leave a positive impression on the employees, giving them a great sense of ownership in a company that supports its community.

Giving back. It’s good for the soul, and it’s good for business. Not only does it feel good to give your time and talents, it might just help you increase company morale and grow your business at the same time.

Leadership Behind the Scenes

Not all great leaders will be recognized with a lengthy title, a big square on the top of an organizational chart or by recognition in the local paper for his or her community service. Some of your company’s best and most brilliant leaders might just work in the back of the building.

It’s true. It takes all types of people to make a business function and it takes all kinds of people to become leaders. And yes, we do need those extroverted leaders who want to set in meetings and make decisions that will impact the business and its employees for years to come. We need the leaders who aren’t afraid to teach others the newest sales and marketing techniques and aren’t afraid to talk to a room of 100 dealers, and we need those leaders who will travel up and down the road to spend nights away from their families to sell our great product.

However, we need leaders that will make things happen that we don’t even think about. Think about the crew in the production plant. They work in there, day after day after day. They know the processes and equipment better than anyone in the building. How many BioZyme® dealers have heard the name Dan Wierzba? Probably not too many raised their hands. Dan is the Director of the Plant. Last fall, he along with Nicholas Fansher, a bagging operator, created an automated Sure Champ® Cattle scoop dispenser with little cost or effort, that would ultimately save the bagging operator hours of time. That is leadership. They saw a need; they acted and accomplished something to improve efficiency. Nobody knows them from a fancy title or a big meeting, but they are leaders.

What if I wrote the name Jody Purvis? A few more of you might recognize her name; she does come to dealer retreat and talks to many of our dealers on the phone. She is the one that makes sure every dealer has supplies; literature, apparel, signage, etc. She makes sure that Action Awards point orders are filled. She works with the BioZyme staff to make sure they have supplies for trade shows and meetings and she rarely says “no” when asked to complete a task. She is at the office early and often stays late. She knows the ins and outs of the company, and she will spend time on the phone with new hires to make sure they get the training they need to complete an expense report correctly. That is leadership. She is there to help. She gets tasks accomplished. She doesn’t always get extra praise or recognition, but she is a leader.

Leadership is not solely a title or a position on an organizational flow chart. Leadership is an action; it is often a sign of passion for helping others and doing the right thing. If you have the right people in the right positions, even the most non-public of your employees can demonstrate their leadership skills and help your business grow.

Effective Leadership Boosts Performance

It’s no secret, “effective leaders outperform ineffective leaders every time.” That is the conclusion of Douglas Day, 30-year leadership consultant and author. He further states that if companies are going to succeed, the CEO or person of highest leadership needs to work to develop leadership skills throughout all levels of the company. Here are three truths that Day offers about leadership and how this trait will help your business grow.

• Leadership is a sustainable competitive advantage. Leaders must develop at a rate that keeps pace with accelerating global change. Development challenges our most cherished beliefs and assumptions. Business performance is directly tied to effective leadership, and the most effective leaders are conscious, authentic leaders. The top leader in any organization should be the most effective, authentic leader, and keep current with changes in the industry, with technology and in business and setting an example for the others that work in the company.

• Authentic leaders create cultures of commitment.“Most people enthusiastically support only what they’ve had an active hand in creating. Disengagement is a huge financial cost, as it deadens spirit, passion, innovation, purpose and commitment,” Day writes. Great leaders are all inclusive. They make sure they offer opportunities for all employees to offer input, especially in their specific areas of expertise, where efficiencies could increase, or production costs could be lowered. The more included the employees are, the more commitment they have to the company.

• The best top leadership teams are all about results and relationships. The best teams leverage tremendous business capability, tap into deep wells of personal and collective knowledge, actively seek strategic interdependencies and relationships, and function together in a circle of key leadership processes. Top teams should ask the question: how effective are we individually and collectively as leaders? How do we know and what are we going to do about it?

Day further states, “Great leadership is a competitive advantage, and high performance is achieved and sustained through effective leadership practices applied with discipline over time.”

Now, what Day isn’t saying that is just because you have a great team of leaders means your business will grow automatically. But since those leaders are training those employees similar business, marketing, communication and leadership skills that the entire team will put into practice, then the business will grow.

Once you have these leadership skills four things must happen for your business to grow.

  1. Execute your strategy. You know the plan. You’ve got the skills. You’ve set your sales goals. Now, it is time to put those plans and skills to work to achieve your goals.
  2. Business Rhythm. Day defines this as the “management cycle of leadership processes designed to: track progress against strategy and planning; review status on operational results through clear key metrics; update the strategy regularly, and ensure action is being driven by insight based on relevant, current information, and is focused on achieving the vision. Senior leaders need to build discipline and depth into their leadership process and management cycle, to achieve accountability, predictability, ongoing learning, renewal and sustainability.”
  3. Operational Performance. Organizations should develop simple processes that are internally efficient, locally responsive and globally adaptable. Complexity is removed from the customer experience to enable them to engage you in ways that are both well-designed and sustaining.This means continually making improvements, increasing efficiencies, developing new products and strategies.
  4. Strategic Communication. Nothing happens in business without conversation. This can be conversation between customer and employee; employee and employer; employer and board member. Every sale, new product development or product enhancement happens because of a conversation that started somewhere.

Leadership. It starts at the top, and those businesses with the most effective examples of a great leader will show performance and growth. They will implement their strategies through their business rhythm, evaluate their processes and continue the conversation to grow into the future.

Information for this article curated from: https://leadershipcircle.com/en/business-resultsand-effective-leadership-effective-leaders-outperform-ineffective-leaders-every-time/

April 2019 – Letters from Lisa

When a gosling hatches, it immediately looks around until it locates a bright moving object and then instinctively follows that wherever it goes. Following is the most natural thing on earth. Leading, on the other hand, takes work. Leadership is many things, but it is not a target or something that can be figured out or wielded only when a situation demands. It is a skill that needs to be constantly practiced and developed. It is a verb not a noun. John Kennedy said it best when he wrote, “leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

A couple of years ago I attended the University of Chicago Booth for a week-long executive class called High Performance Leadership. I loved it. As we studied leadership the professor made it clear that about 2% us will never have leadership capacity, and 2% of us can do it in our sleep. However, most of us or 96% have an average level of leadership capacity. It’s the most of us that have the opportunity to develop the courage, capacity and wisdom to increase our leadership capacity. My teacher, Linda Ginzel, believes that very few people are born leaders and very few don’t have the capacity at all. She wrote a very good book called “Choosing Leadership.” Bottom line from the class and the book: you can’t wing leadership. And so that means all the qualities in the diagram are important for leaders to think about and intentionally work on every day.

Let me give you a true Lisa example. In the Chicago Booth class, we had to share something that people who we work with say about us directly to us or what we hear from others about what they say. Mine was easy. The first thing people always say to me when they address me is, “I know you are so busy, but . . . “(this really bothers me as I never want to be too busy for our employees).

The class then asked me to explain my typical day. I leave my house on the phone to one of my BioZyme® colleagues. I drive to work still on the phone. I pull into the parking lot still on the phone, usually to a different colleague. I get all my stuff out of the car still on the phone. I go into the building and walk all the way down the main hall to my office on the phone. That’s where I got stopped by my classmates. They said that my entrance into the building and hall walk sends the message from the git-go that I am busy. That’s winging it. I can’t wing it. So, now I sit in the parking lot until I can be off the phone and come in and continue all the way down the hall saying good morning. This seemed a bit dumb to me as I felt I was just maximizing time, but the more I studied choosing leadership, the more I realized talking on the phone like that is winging it and not focusing on being more sincere.

Taking this type of action (changing) is hard work but choosing leadership as a skill not a trait and honing it through both reflection and practice will change your future, and it’s a verb worth embracing.