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.

Discovering the Six Keys to Success

Most everyone remembers who wins. Olympic gold medalists are honored with the playing of their country’s national anthem. Rodeo athletes are interviewed after they win their respective sports. World Series Champions are honored with parades in their hometowns. Football fans watch the NFL draft each year to see who the first-round picks are so they can continue to watch their favorite college players in the pros. But have you ever watched the 12th round of the draft to see who is the 310th pick? Unless you are related to that particular football player, probably not. But not everyone can be first, and even when you are the 310th choice, you can still work hard, show dedication and become successful.

That was the message former Denver Bronco Karl Mecklenburg shared the final morning of this year’s BioZyme® Dealer Retreat as he reflected on his 12 years in the NFL. The 310th pick in the 1983 draft never gave up and became a Denver Broncos Captain and All-Pro Linebacker. His career included six Pro Bowl and three Super Bowl appearances and he became one of the NFL’s most versatile players, playing all seven defensive front positions – often during one game.

Mecklenburg had a dream, and he never gave up.

“Success is overcoming obstacles on the way to your dream,” Mecklenburg said. Now as a motivational speaker and author, he encourages others to follow his six keys to success.

1 – Teamwork. Leadership is the ultimate expression of teamwork. As a leader if you are clear and consistent with a team commitment, the rest of your team will follow.

2 – Courage. Mecklenburg encourages others to have the courage to try new things. This might be expanding your product line, reaching out to new customers or even hiring an employee if you are a one-person dealer. “If you take the first step in the right direction before anyone else, all the angles change in your favor.”

3 – Dedication. Don’t ever quit. If Mecklenburg had been discouraged by his 12th round pick, he might have given up and never played in three Super Bowls. If you are dedicated to your business and your customers, you will realize your potential and continue to grow your business.

4 – Desire. If you have the desire to succeed, you will work to succeed.
Talent won’t get you near as far as desire and preparation. If you are getting ready to meet with a potential customer, do your homework. Find out about that producer, what makes that producer “click”, what does he or she need to make the operation more successful? If you have the desire to succeed, and put the work and preparation into your desire, you will succeed. “There is nothing holding you back but yourself,” Mecklenburg said.

5 – Honesty. The only way to make improvements is to be honest with yourself and others. You must know where you are today to know what goals to set for the future.

6 – Forgiveness. “Anyone who has lived a lot has made mistakes,” Mecklenburg said. Forgive those who make mistakes so you can keep those friendships, business relationships and support systems. It is especially important to forgive if someone admits they made a mistake.

It is vital to keep these keys for success in mind – in everything you do. Today, you might feel like a 12th round NFL draft pick, but with courage, dedication, desire, honesty, forgiveness and a team like BioZyme backing you, you will be a success! Take the time. Find a way.

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Reach More for Less with Social Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Partnerships and Programs Increase Profit Potential

There are only 24 hours to each day, and seven days in the week. You have a to-do list a mile long, including the desire to increase your BioZyme® sales for the year. Alan Lee, Director of National Sales – South, offers tips to help you grow your business and your profit potential.

Step 1 – Decide to multiply your business this year.

You are the only person who can make this life-changing decision. Don’t be wishy-washy. Make the decision, define how much you want to grow your business and start working.

Step 2 – Once you make the decision, do whatever it takes to get it done.

Develop a plan, write it down and make no excuses as you move forward. A plan or written goal will help you with accountability. And if you need to take that accountability further, talk to your spouse, business partner or even your ASM and let him or her know what your business growth goals are for the future.

Step 3 – Find mutually beneficial business partners to back up the plan.

Work together to build one another’s brand awareness and/or customer base. Until you ask to form a partnership, the answer is always no. Is there an animal health company, semen company or auction company you can partner with to conduct producer meetings? You probably share some customers, but you also share potential customers. Do simple things for one another like share your company links on each other’s websites. Start small, and develop endless opportunities with strong partnerships.

Step 4 – Connect the dots. Do you have a customer who has customers that you need to reach out to? For example, you have a VitaFerm® customer who sells 200 bulls every year. If that producer sells 200 bulls, who is he or she selling to? Have you asked that producer who those customers are? Do those customers use BioZyme products? If not, there are many potential customers who already have a trusting relationship with someone with a success story (the producer who sells 200 bulls) with our products. Connect the dots.

Step 5 – Think of established revenue sources as a partner. Although new customers are important, make sure your core customers are taking advantage of all products and programs. Sure, a cow-calf producer is using a Vita Charge® Stress Tub at weaning, but what about the rest of the year? And what about the other species on that operation? Make sure that customer knows about VitaFerm Concept•Aid®, VitaFerm HEAT, and Gain Smart. Does that operation also have horses and kids with livestock projects? Make sure you tell them about the Vitalize® and Sure Champ® product lines as well. And most of all, try to sell them a program, not just a product.

Make sure your current customers understand the value of using an entire program, not just a single product in their operation. Sell sheets for four key programs are available in the Online Dealer Center that will show the cost per animal vs. the ROI for the producer and the profit potential for the dealer when selling the program. For example, a producer with 40 cows, feeding Concept•Aid most of the year, and HEAT during the hot summer months will spend approximately $56 per cow. However, because of the increase in conception rates, adding more pounds of calves to wean, the producer should see an additional $20.63 profit. Studies show that calves will gain an extra .25 pound per day with the Amaferm® advantage, so higher performing, heavier calves will also result in additional profit to the producer for feeding these two supplements of $76.88 per cow. Now, if you have 10 producers with 40 cows each, your sales for those two products could bring in $22,280. See why it is important to sell the program and not just a product?

Be sure to check out the Retreat Page in the Online Dealer Center by going to www.biozymedealer.com and clicking “Retreat”. Here you will find updated sell sheets for all programs and products as well as Alan’s presentation that includes the profit-potential breakdowns of these four programs: VitaFerm Cow-Calf Program, Gain Smart Stocker Program, Super Start Dairy Calf Program, and the Recovery Programs. The sell sheets will explain more in-depth the benefit of the products and how to best position them when selling.

Potential Customers are Everywhere

As you look for ways to grow your business, it is important to think of everyone you encounter as a potential customer. Are most of your customers cow-calf producers? It is highly likely a lot of them also have horses that need our products. Most households have 1.6 dogs, and BioZyme® offers products for our canine companions.

During the recent Dealer Retreat, Tell Stevens, Digital Marketing Manager, shared with dealers some big picture numbers of the potential they have in their respective areas. What most dealers discovered is they have a lot of potential they had not considered.

“We tried to identify all animal groups attached to a specific product line and aligned our brands to segments of the industry that need them,” Stevens said. “This allowed dealers to visualize where they might have potential utilizing all of the product lines BioZyme offers.”

Working with the USDA to gather numbers, Stevens collaborated with Lisa Norton, BioZyme Vice President, to determine assumed days on a program and the revenue per head at suggested retail to calculate potential revenue. Numbers on the chart assume that BioZyme has 100% of the market share; however, Stevens said to compare the revenue of one segment against other segments to get a more realistic figure.

For example, a horse on Vitalize® year-round, will generate $323 in revenue. Do you know someone with 10 horses? Perhaps you need to reach out to customers who buy the VitaFerm® products for their cattle and also have horses, and educate them on the benefits of Vitalize. It’s a great idea to generate more revenue from those customers who already know about and believe in our products.

Nearly everyone you meet has a dog. And most dog owners treat their dogs like their kids. You can generate nearly $75 of revenue in a year from one dog being on Vitalize products. And that customer will likely continue to buy products from you for years to come.

It is easy to get stuck in a sales routine where you talk to your same customers on a regular basis, but it is time to think outside the box and grow your potential. If your typical audience is the cow-calf sector and you discover a commercial poultry, swine or dairy operation exists or has moved into your area, those are great potential customers. Not sure how to start a conversation with them? Talk to your ASM or someone on the business development and support team to help you make that pitch.

Take the time. Find a way. Find your potential, and grow your business.

If you were not able to attend Dealer Retreat, and would like to know the potential for your dealership, contact Kristi Stevens, Marketing Project Manager, at 816-596-8795 or kstevens@biozymeinc.com.

Clone Yourself: Master Dealer Program

You just can’t be everywhere at once. Sometimes it seems nearly impossible to get everything accomplished when there is just one of you. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a clone? That is one reason why it is important to have a highly-trained sales team in place.

In a 2015 Facebook survey of nearly 580 livestock producers who use supplements, 48% of them said they expected their dealers to have product knowledge and rely on them for their recommendations.

Since research has shown that employees are happier and feel more like part of the team when they are knowledgeable about the product, it makes sense to provide them the necessary training to increase rapport and productivity.

According to Lessonly, productivity increases by 22% when employees are properly trained. That means productivity of one employee who makes $30,000 per year, could increase $6,000. Taking the time to train your employees is a good investment, especially if you multiply that $6,000 by the number of employees you have.

“The Master Dealer program is an easily accessible place to log on and learn about our products and the industry at your own speed,” says Erin Creason, BioZyme® Inside Sales Coordinator. “The consumer has asked that when they go to purchase product that the dealer has product or will order product in a timely manner and has product knowledge and is able to make a recommendation. By becoming a Master Dealer, you’re able to do both at the same time! Whether you sit down and complete the training yourself or have your staff go through our training modules, you’re multiplying your efforts.”

To educate dealers and keep them properly trained – the next best option to cloning – BioZyme introduced its Master Dealer Program in June. The program, which provides online training is one way to keep dealers knowledgeable about the various products, their uses and BioZyme services. Located on the Online Dealer Center, the Master Dealer Program offers a variety of learning modules covering topics from Amaferm® and stocker cattle to commercial poultry and horses. After each brief training video, there is a quiz for the participants to take. After all quizzes are passed and all other requirements are completed, the dealer will receive Master Dealer recognition.

In addition to completing the training modules, other requirements to meet the Master Dealer designation include having at least two employees for each dealership complete the training (unless there is just one person involved with the dealership); stocking four of the five following brands or products: Sure Champ®, VitaFerm® Concept•Aid® or VitaFerm® HEAT®, Gain Smart® , Vita Charge® or Vitalize®; and completing two courses in continuing education training each subsequent year.

Once a dealership has completed all the requirements for Master Dealer, it will be recognized and marketed as such. It will receive a special designation on the Dealer Locator page, signage with the Master Dealer designation will be provided to the store; and employees who complete the training will be given a special jacket with the BioZyme Master Dealer logo on it.

While cloning yourself, as nice as that sounds, may not be possible, taking the time to train yourself and your employees is something you should definitely invest in! Your employees will feel more like a team, and your customers will feel like they are being treated by knowledgeable staff every time they contact someone about BioZyme products.

Targeted Producer Meetings Offer Unique Approach

Livestock producers get a lot of postcards and invitations to producer meetings, sales meetings and educational meetings through the winter months. It seems like there is always something on their calendars, and sometimes they can’t make every meeting they would like to. As dealers, we need a fresh approach to reach these customers and potential customers where we can leverage our time while gathering an audience, but still take time to have one-on-one conversations that are key to relationship building.

Salem Veterinary Service in South Dakota recently tried a different tactic to reach its customers through smaller, more targeted producer meetings. Guy Rusche, ASM, said the lunch-time meetings were more conversational where he could talk about products with a handful of producers with similar needs over a sandwich and answer their questions, much like he might if he was visiting with them at their own kitchen table.

“The producers were all like-minded so I could fine-tune my presentation, which wasn’t a PowerPoint, but more like a one-on-one producer encounter with several people with similar needs at the same time and place,” Rusche said.

Salem Veterinary Service planned the meetings for Mondays throughout February, and customized the invitation list of its clients by those with similar needs and decision making processes. Because the dealer has established a good rapport with its producers, all invitations came directly from the dealer, and Rusche said 6-12 producers attended each of the four meetings. Topics of the meetings included VitaFerm® Concept•Aid® and looking more in-depth to the advantages of Amaferm®.

“Because the group was smaller, they felt more comfortable asking questions that they might not have asked in a larger producer meeting. I spent time answering those in-depth, technical questions without sounding like I was giving a college lecture,” Rusche said.

Rusche said Salem Vet doesn’t have much space for inventory, but at least one producer from every meeting stopped by the vet clinic to order or purchase product following the meetings, and after one meeting, seven of the nine attendees purchased product, a sure sign of success for the dealer.

Although these small targeted meetings worked well for this dealer and its clients prior to calving, Rusche said they will continue to host a more traditional producer meeting in the fall to discuss other products. The smaller, targeted meetings are just one more way to share the BioZyme® message with a group of current and potential customers.

Proper Employee Training Leads to Increased Sales

There are a lot of animal nutrition products out there, and in some parts of the country, more feed and supplement dealers than there are grocery stores. This means it is vital for your sales staff to keep current on all the products you offer.

“People buy from people, and our company owners have done a great job hiring quality people that care about the products and our customers all the way from the sales staff to the delivery drivers,” said Scott Hardman, Marketing Specialist with Earlybird Feed & Fertilizer, Goodfield, Illinois.

Hardman says the literature that BioZyme® sends out when a new product is introduced is distributed to all sales people, both externally and in the store. He said that they usually can’t get the literature fast enough since customers see information about new products on social media, and start contacting the dealer often before they have the new products on hand.

Another great resource is their ASM, Shandy Bertolino. Hardman said that their sales staff typically meets with Shandy twice a year to learn about new products and brush up on their knowledge of existing products. In addition to offering kudos to the ASM in their area, Hardman also praised the entire BioZyme® staff.

“One of the strengths of the company is there are not a lot of layers if we need answers. Shandy will make the link, but the accessibility of the technical and marketing staff is great,” Hardman said.

And finally, he said the sales staff who attend the dealer retreat each summer come back with a wealth of information to share with others who didn’t attend.

Adele Halsall, a researcher and writer for Customer Service Guru, addressed some key training tips in a recent blog post. Here are three of her tips.

  1. Keep Training Consistent. Be sure to give each employee the same message and resources so the information shared with customers is reliable. Halsall said, “Product knowledge training must also be consistent, engaging and customized. There is no point in re-using the same material twice or giving unnecessary information to those who do not need it.”
  2. Allow Hands-on Experience. While it isn’t realistic that your entire sales force will have a need for a particular product, chances are someone on staff feeds one or more of the products. Get their feedback about the pros and cons of that particular product so you can offer more information to prospective customers.

    Hardman said their sales staff isn’t expected to know absolutely everything about every product; however, they have specific people that are experts about particular species. Earlybird relies on those experts to provide information about particular products to the rest of its sales force.

  3. Take Training out of the Office. Hardman mentioned the bi-annual meetings with Shandy and the dealer retreat were two of their valuable training tools. Halsall agrees that it is always good to give employees a fresh perspective and allow them the opportunity to network with others to learn helpful sales insight.

Making the sale is imperative to your bottom line. Keep your staff knowledgeable and excited about your products, and the sales will come readily.

How to Use Promos Effectively

Everyone is looking for a deal, but does that mean you need to offer regular “deals” or promotions on your BioZyme® products? No, there is a definite time and place to use promotions, and having a regular sale isn’t always the best way to make a sale.

The value of BioZyme products is that they are high quality products that do exactly what they say they do. The products keep your animals healthy, and healthy animals grow faster and more efficiently. If a potential customer is skeptical, share the research or other customer testimonials with them. Chances are, you are going to gain a new customer who becomes a repeat customer.

But, your competitors down the road offer regular sales on their supplement products, and your lack of a “good deal” is the topic of conversation at the local coffee shop. Here are few ways to offer smart promotions, should you feel the need to do so.

Offer a short-term discount on something everyone can use. Most of your customers have a dog, so offer a discount on dog food with the purchase of a certain amount of VitaFerm® or Vitalize® mineral. This gives them the opportunity to try something new they might not have even known BioZyme offers, and makes you look like the good guy for offering a promotion.

Don’t offer a discount on in-season products. Did you order too much VitaFerm® HEAT™ mineral and you are approaching the cooler months? That would be a good time to discount that inventory to get it out of the warehouse, and perhaps customers will want to order more at regular price next summer.

Remember to advertise a “limited time promotion.” If you don’t, your customer might actually like the dog the food they bought last time with their supplement order, and will want you to honor that same price again. Remind the customer that it was a one-time promotion, but you are glad he/she liked the product, and will be glad to sell it to him/her at regular price.

Add value in other ways. Host a producer meeting to share the latest industry information. Invite your customers to a special VIP open house with refreshments and door prizes after store hours. Offer delivery. There are many ways of adding value to your products that won’t hurt your profit potential.

If conducted properly, promotions can be a good marketing tool. But plan them when they will help you, the dealer, boost sales, and use them wisely.

March 2017 – Letters from Lisa

At BioZyme®, we track our market share in all the different markets where we are trying to grow. While the sales team would tell you that I use market share as a part of my slave driver approach to growth; it is actually not true. I use market share to motivate our entire team (you too) around the significant opportunity that still awaits us.

Our growth has been impressive and would not be possible without each of you. This growth makes it easy to ask how many more years is this really possible? The answer to that is objective and easy when you assess it from the market share perspective. At the end of 2016, our market share in the cow-calf sector was 1.5%. On a state-by-state basis it ranges from 10% in Indiana down to 0.2% in Texas. Just to give you some comparative perspective, McDonalds has 17% market share in the fast food industry, while the strongly misguided Chipotle has 2.2%.

Increasing market share is one of the most important objectives of business. The main advantage of using market share as a measure of business performance is that it is less dependent upon variables such as the state of the economy or changes in tax policy. Market share is said to be a key indicator of market competitiveness—that is, how well a firm is doing against its competitors. Similarly, within a firm’s product line, market share trends for individual products are considered early indicators of future opportunities.

I am sure by now, you are thinking let’s go grow market share. And because you are thinking that right now, I am hugging you. It is my job to keep the team focused on how to continue to grow that market share. It’s actually not that easy, but there are a few things one should constantly consider:

Stay relevant through innovation. One great way to gain market share is to spot new trends ahead of competitors. Listen carefully when you’re chatting with friends, watching the news or listening to kids talk about what they like. There may be a change in the wind your business can jump on.

Respond to customers – fast. Remember when leaving a voicemail recording that said, “I’ll get back to you within 24 hours” seemed responsive? Not anymore. In this age of real-time, shoppers are increasingly loyal to the company that can fix their problem right now. Check out how fast your competitors respond, and then be faster; customers will take notice.

Keep an open channel for customer ideas. One of those ideas might be your next hit product. So, let’s hear from all of you. What should we be considering as an add-on to our product line up??

Snap up competitors. Sometimes the easiest way to get more customers is to simply buy them. Watch for competitors that might be up for sale and purchase them or their customer lists.

Let’s go get that market share – our BioZyme goal is to get to 2.5% in the next 2 years. WE CAN DO THIS!!