Do Customer Promotions Pay?

Motivation is the little extra nudge of encouragement that people need to take the next step in the right direction. You are probably continually looking for ways to motivate your customers to buy or try new products or motivate your sales force to increase your sales. There are ways to motivate both your staff and your customers to help your sales figures increase; however, you need to make sure that your budget will benefit and not break from these incentives and promotions.

Although promotions can certainly be useful, be sure your business is benefitting from the promotion. Promotions are not effective if all you are accomplishing is reducing the profit margin on products you would have sold anyway. If you do run a promotion, make sure it is for a new product that you are offering or one for a product in which you truly want to increase sales with new customers. A promotion isn’t effective if you are only selling a popular product at a reduced rate.

According to marketer Gary Sanchez, “Promotions should be a well-planned, seasonally relevant focus on themes or solutions wrapped around your products that your customers will take note of and value, and that prospects will be enticed to try for the first time.” Promotions should encourage your current customers to try new products and help prospective see enough value in your products that they want to give them a try too.

Will all sales promotions be effective? No. But, here are five simple tips to help ensure your next promotion is a success:

1. Target Audience
Studies have shown that over time loyal customers spend nearly 10 times the amount spent by average customers. Do you focus your efforts on existing customers or do you try to recruit new customers with your promotion? Perhaps you could offer a loyalty program to those customers who have been with you for the long haul.

2. Measurable Goals
As with all marketing goals, you need to have goals that are more specific than just to increase sales. Do you want to increase sales of a specific product? Do you want to see more customers start using more of a program like the Gain Smart® Stocker Program? Write out your goals where you will see them daily and design your promotion around those goals.

3. Limited Availability
Behavioral psychologists have found that human beings tend to assign greater value to things they perceive as being scarce. If your promotion runs for half the year, is it really a promotion? But, if your promotion runs for 30 days, your customer is more likely to jump at the chance to take part. If part of the promotion is a giveaway, and the promotion states, “while supplies last” customers will take part in the promotion earlier on to be sure they get the added value of the promotion.

4. Sufficient Promotion

Be sure to let your customers know that you are having a promotion. This might be through your regular advertising efforts, in-store signage, email or on your Facebook page. Remember, you are trying to make added profit during this promotion, so adding a lot of extra advertising probably isn’t the best idea. Studies have shown that email marketing is a low-cost, effective tool. Emails to interested parties have a very high rate of return, with 44% of email recipients making at least one annual purchase based on a promotional email.

5. Value
When the promotion is over and the customers have made their purchase, will they find value in the goods or services they bought? Be sure the promotion you are offering has value to the customer now and will in the future.

After your promotion ends, refer back to your intended goal to determine if it was met. Did you increase sales of the particular product you were trying to promote? Did you get loyal customers to try new products they weren’t currently using? If you met your goal, and calculated a positive ROI, your promotion was a success!

Online sources:

https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2015/08/5-key-elements-successful-sales-promotion.html|
https://www.garyasanchez.com/9-benefits-of-sales-promotions

Good Things Come in Small Packages!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 2017 – Letters from Lisa

In early 2000 I was running a technology company that, by its nature, was constantly changing.  While that was not hard on me, I noticed that it was hard on many of the folks on my team. However, as the leader I had to figure out what to do since we had to constantly change to stay relevant. I read book after book on how to lead change. One of my favorites started with this sentence. People hate change. That’s pretty blunt, but I have found it to be quite true. Based on this reality, I find the below graphic quite fascinating. 


It’s full of change. Does it reflect smart change or stupid change? I am going to leave the millennial discussion for another month and ask you to describe your business three years ago in five words and then describe it in five words today. Do these words reflect smart change or stupid change? Do you need to change some things up?

Change isn’t always bad, and calculated change could be the answer to growth. But HOW? And WHEN? The decision to change course can happen at any time, for any reason — even if it’s just a gut feeling that it’s best for your company. But if you’re on the fence about it, these four red flags could indicate you’re better off making the switch.

Growth is slowing significantly. Every business goes through ups and downs in growth and profits. No matter what industry you’re in, you’re subject to the market cycle, and it’s normal to experience slower periods throughout the year. But if your charts are on a continual downward trend — especially compared to others in your industry — it might be time to re-evaluate what you’re doing.

The competitors you use to be able to ignore are starting to bother you. Old businesses that aren’t changing with the times and newer startups don’t normally seem like too much of a threat, as they may be too old school or small to compete with you. But that complacency can hurt you if you don’t take those companies seriously.

Your customers aren’t as happy as they once were. Keeping close tabs on your customers is a good way to gauge the health of your business. Primarily positive social media comments and customer feedback are indicators of happy customers. If these good vibes start to wane, you might need to make a change. Watch for signs that your product or service is becoming increasingly less significant to your customers, or that your customers no longer view your business as providing a high-value experience. Please note, you MUST know what your customers think about you. There are many tools to help with this and I am happy to help you pick one. Not knowing is just not an option; and don’t ever think you just know, you must ask using an independent means to know.

There are Internal cues from your staff that things aren’t great. These cues can tip you off to the need for a change as well. Are you having a hard time recruiting for the positions you believe you need to move your company forward? Is your sales team telling you that potential customers are no longer excited about what you do or sell? Are they talking about a new product or service that they wished you offered instead?”

Change takes time, and you’re not necessarily going to be able to quit your old ways cold turkey. However, you should make sure the appropriate attention is given to the change, ideally through the use of a task force of a dedicated group of employees who can bring many thoughts to the table and can define the best solution automatically creating buy-in.

Featured Dealer: Fayette AG Services

Fayette AG Services Finds Opportunities for Growth

It’s no surprise that Fayette AG Services has operated successfully for 43 years in Northwest Alabama. Although its name has changed during the years, the full-service farm store listens to its customer’s needs and wants, provides follow through and works to become knowledgeable about the products they offer.

Mike Renfroe, a salesman at Fayette AG, located at Fayette, Ala., was one of the first BioZyme® dealers to complete the new Master Dealer Training Program that launched in June.

“I just wanted to know more about the products so we can better help our customers,” Renfroe said. “The Master Dealer training has helped me distinguish what mineral customers need for their programs at given times of year.”

Renfroe added that other employees are hoping to complete the Master Dealer Training, as soon as all computer challenges are solved and will allow more than one person per dealership to participate. In the meantime, their staff is appreciative of the support and education that BioZyme provides.

“We get on the website pretty often to read up on products and learn more about the products we don’t know as much about,” Renfroe said. “BioZyme is a really good company when it comes to training and providing information. They are one of the better companies that we’ve dealt with.”

And although Fayette AG has a long history, their tenure as a BioZyme dealer is relatively short – just starting to sell the products in February of this year. Renfroe said they had customers who called and asked them about the BioZyme products. After doing some research and talking to ASM Rowdy Pope, Renfroe said they decided the products would be a good fit for their store.

The store carries a complete line of products, and has had satisfied customers feed each product line from Vitalize® equine to the VitaFerm® HEAT®.

“Once a customer tries one of these products, they rarely swap out and go back to another mineral program,” Renfroe said.

Their sales have reached nearly 100 ton since February, and their ultimate goal is to reach VIP Dealer status. Programs like the Master Dealer Training are helping them meet their goals so they can better equip themselves to sell the products their producers need.

Social Media is a Customer Care Tool

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Invest in Your Team to Grow Your Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THANK YOU.

Customers are the #1 Player on the Team

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 2017 – Letters From Lisa

Location, location, location, or is it relationships, relationships, relationships? Definitely relationships. Find them, nurture them and watch sales soar.

At BioZyme®, that last sentence is key to how we view our responsibility to each of you. This is what really differentiates us from the many options you have in selecting a company’s mineral program to bring into your dealership.

At BioZyme, we believe our relationships will become your relationships and vice versa if we find, nurture and soar.

Find

To reach our full potential we all need to find meaningful connections with a very broad palette of folks who see things differently than we do, ask very different questions and imagine very different possibilities. BioZyme is committed to finding these meaningful connections so we can connect you. Our exclusive partnership with Superior is one of those connections. As the data continues to roll in and the exclusive value-added nutrition VitaFerm® Raised and Gain Smart® emblems equate to significantly more per pound (currently a 7 cent per pound advantage), the connection will help sales soar.

Nurture

Eighty-one to 90% of customers research your business before they make a purchase. Researching your business means that they go out of their way to learn about who you are and what you do, try to figure out if they can trust you enough to solve their pain points and watch your ‘moves’ to see if you truly deliver on the results you promise. In today’s business, it is important to establish and nurture a relationship from the very first contact through a carefully crafted process, up until the customer is ready to trust the products enough to make a purchase. BioZyme is committed to making sure at every one of these touch points information is easily and readily available, the products do exactly what we say they do and new products are added that assist with their pain points. We strive to help make business more sustainable – yours and theirs.

Do you have a nurturing process in your business that leads your customer up to a sale and other repeat businesses? If not, take the time, find a way.

Soar

An important ingredient in business is celebrating each and every triumph—and forgetting about each and every failure—both with the people around you and with yourself, too. BioZyme is committed to helping you remember just how amazing you are each and every day.

The defining attribute of a great business relationship is when each party has an emotional stake in the other’s success. That defines this team. So all we need to do is . . . .  Take the Time.  Find a Way.

“You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”-Zig Ziglar

Featured Dealer: W.T. Carnes

W.T. Carnes Grows His Business with Sub-dealers

In the heart of the Ozarks, there’s a BioZyme® dealer enthusiastic about the product he sells and the people he works with. W.T. Carnes said he’d been feeding the products to his dairy cattle for several years, and in the fall of 2013, decided to become a dealer.

He has taken initiative to grow his business, and says his sales have doubled every year since he started selling products. As an on-farm dealer, he embraces a basic business principle – making a sale is as much about who you know as it is the products you’re selling.

“People buy from people they know,” Carnes said. “My sub-dealers know more people than just the people I know. They can help me move more tonnage.”

Carnes currently works with five sub-dealers, friends that he said used and believed in the products, just as he did. Two of them live within 30 miles of him, but the others are quite a distance from him, expanding his network and opportunity for growth even more.

“The products really sell themselves. Once a producer hears about the products and tries them, they are usually hooked,” he said.

Carnes said he didn’t always have a network of sub-dealers, but his former ASM, and now Key Accounts Manager, Ken Gillig suggested sub-dealers would be a good way for him to grow his business after being a dealer for almost two years.

Carnes, who recently completed the Master Dealer Training Program, said another valuable tool to growing sales is hosting a producer meeting. He hosted his first meeting last fall, and sold a semi-load of mineral that night. He said that everyone that attended the meeting became a customer or has continued buying from him. The producers appreciated hearing from Mike Wadle, Director of National Sales – North, and being able to ask questions to further understand the products.

Currently, VitaFerm® HEAT®, Concept•Aid® and Gain Smart® Stocker mineral are his best-selling products. He offers two pieces of advice to newer dealers and their sub-dealers looking to grow their business, “If you can get producers to try the product, it will sell itself.” And he suggests keeping inventory low to promote freshness of the product.

A sub-dealer network has helped W.T. continue to grow his sales the past few years by multiplying his efforts and his reach all because of relationships he had with others who use and believe in the products. Are you ready to expand? Perhaps creating a sub-dealer system is the next step for you. For more information about reaching out and working with sub-dealers, contact your ASM.

Use Social Media to Boost Your Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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