All of the new apparel we launched at this year’s Dealer Retreat is now available on the apparel store. We have added some great stuff, including a new Vita Charge t-shirt and hat. Check them out today: https://squareup.com/store/vitaferm-surechamp/
Did you miss our latest episode of The American Rancher? If so, catch it today at Noon EST.
Check out a sneak preview here: https://youtu.be/D4gdyofarDg
Fayette AG uses Tools to Provide Care that Comes Full Circle
When it comes to decoding the mystery of growth, one progressive dealer who addressed the store dealers shared his answer at the recent Dealer Retreat. Use the tools provided, educate your customers and provide top-quality customer service.
Mike Renfroe, Fayette AG Center, Fayette, Ala., said they are a feed mill that opted to add BioZyme® products to its vast mix of mineral products, after he reconnected with an old rodeo acquaintance Rowdy Pope, now an Area Sales Manager for BioZyme. Renfroe thought if he could sell two or three tons that first year, he’d be doing well.
“Rowdy convinced us to host a producer meeting that first year. We had 85 people show up and by the end of year one, we had sold 160 tons of product,” Renfroe said.
Renfroe said after a first year with phenomenal sales and support from the BioZyme staff, he realized what set BioZyme apart from other nutrition companies besides its premium product, was the support it offered its dealers.
“BioZyme is one of the best at finding answers for its dealers and their customers,” he said. “The people are always there to help us and if they don’t know the answer right away, they will find an answer for us.”
In addition to hosting producer meetings and having a presence at some of his customer-hosted field days, Fayette AG also takes advantage of other programs available to dealers. Renfroe has worked with the BioZyme marketing team to produce radio advertisements and has also completed the Master Dealer Training Program, to help him become more knowledgeable about the products.
“The Master Dealer Program was one of the better things I did to help grow my business,” Renfroe said.
The support and care that comes full circle from the BioZyme staff has created a significant shift in the way he does business and the products he sells. Renfroe said that he started with just a small section of his warehouse with the BioZyme products, but now those products get a bulk of the space and the other supplement brands get just a corner. Much of that is due to the services provided and the communication and support he receives. He said once he places an order with the “other brands” he never hears from them again, yet with BioZyme, he has phone calls and emails and follow-up from his ASM and the Outreach Support Center, something he greatly appreciates.
And those services BioZyme provides that he can pass down to his customers like feed testing and ration balancing, speak volumes and make a difference to his end-users. Vista Farms Managers Scott and Sarah McElfresh said services like pulling forage samples and receiving complete forage analyses are some of the great services they appreciate that Fayette AG offers through BioZyme. Scott said when he took the completed analyses to his Extension service to help him determine rations, they too were impressed with the complete information, making it more efficient to determine what Vista Farms needed to add to their nutrition program.
“The customer service like that Mike and BioZyme provides is what made us go all in,” Scott said.
And that service is care that comes full circle – from the tools and customer support that the company offers Renfroe and Fayette AG and the outstanding service and products he can provide his customers so they can produce a quality product for the consumer.
Attitude. Perspective. Choices. These are three words you would expect a featured speaker to highlight during a keynote address. And these are three words that not only did retired United State Air Force Major Brian Shul speak of, but words he lived during his time serving in the Air Force.
As a USAF fighter pilot, Shul was shot down in a Cambodian jungle during the Vietnam War and severely burned in the crash. He was initially given up for dead, but eventually rescued. With more than 15 surgeries during that first year of recovery, Shul was told he would never fly again. And he admits there were days it would have been easier to quit. But then, a simple song and the sound of kids playing outside that came in through his hospital window, changed his attitude.
“Sometimes you have to reach rock bottom before you can appreciate the journey ahead,” Shul told a packed room the final morning of the 2019 BioZyme Dealer Retreat. “I’m the luckiest man in the world.”
As he lay in the hospital room at Fort Sam, Houston, Texas, Judy Garland’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” came through the speaker, and the sounds of young children playing soccer outside motivated Shul to shift his attitude from one of giving up to one of determination. He was determined to walk out of that hospital and fly again. And he did.
Because of a change in attitude, he passed his rigorous flight physicals with no problems. He performed in air shows, became a Top Gun instructor and he earned the sixth highest score ever on the astronaut physical. But most importantly Shul became one of only 93 pilots to ever fly the SR-71 spy plane, the fastest plane ever built.
Under the command of President Ronald Regan, Shul and his co-pilot flew the SR-71 on many secret missions. The blackbird reached heights of 90,000 feet and speeds of 2,000 miles per hour. Shul flew the plane, once again serving his country, with a new perspective. He had gotten out of Vietnam. He was living his dream, flying the plane of his dreams, when 19,000 young men who had been in Vietnam never got to celebrate their 21st birthday.
“Life is short, and it is uncertain. Pursue your passion now. Live your dream. Don’t wait for it,” Shul said.
And that is exactly what he did. As a pilot with second chance and a passion for photography, Shul started combining his passion with his career. He took his camera with him on flights and shot some spectacular images of the plane and scenery. On his days off, he would go up with the fuel tankers and capture different perspectives of the giant jet. He has the most extensive collection of photographs of the SR-71, and has published books about the plane that retired in 1990.
“I made a choice that day. Life’s not always about being the best. It’s about being determined,” Shul said.
When Shul chose to live instead of giving up, he was presented with even greater opportunities than he had ever imagined as a fighter pilot. To fly the prestigious SR-71 at Mach-3 speeds, breaking the sound barrier multiple times, and ultimately becoming a photographer, author and speaker all gave him opportunities because of his choice.
Shul left the group with these final thoughts, “The sky is not the limit. I CAN is much more important than I.Q. And, ‘Somewhere over the rainbow . . . the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.’”
In a world centered on communication devices and connectivity, one thing is missing. The question. Too often we get wrapped up in telling people what we want them to hear, rather than asking them a question. Blaine Rodgers, Show Livestock Business Development & Field Support, shared with the store dealers at the recent Dealer Retreat that the average 4-year-old asks 390 questions a day! That’s a question every 2.5 minutes that toddler is awake, but the youngster is curious, constantly learning new things and has no fear.
“How amazing would it be to have the courage to ask questions of your customers and potential end-users without being limited by fear?” Rodgers asked. “As adults we are afraid of asking stupid questions or questions that make us vulnerable.”
Rodgers offered six tips to effective interrogation that will help build relationships and grow your business.
Questions create connections. When you ask a question, it shows genuine concern or interest in the customer, it’s animal or other interests creating a connection.
Questions drive solutions. Asking a question of your customer helps them connect to real solutions. Asking questions won’t necessarily provide a ready answer but will help get them headed toward a solution.
Questions open doors of possibility. If we ask a question, it allows us to not make assumptions. And, asking questions opens doors of opportunity that we might not even knew existed. Perhaps you have a customer who picks up Sure Champ® for his or her kids’ 4-H projects. Have you ever asked if they own other livestock? You might be missing an opportunity to sell another great product because you have never asked.
Questions lead to asking other questions. Often when we give a statement, that is final. There is no more conversation; however, asking a question could lead to another, which could lead to even more product sales or solutions for your customer.
Questions build bridges. Typically, in tough times, questions are needed more than statements. Although a statement like, “I’m thinking of you” or “Things will work out,” might be easier to say, questions will mean more in the long-term. “How can I help you over come your challenges?” “Is there something specific I can do for you?” Anytime a person is going through rough time – think the spring we’ve had – asking questions is going to help you appear more genuine, shows you care and helps build a stronger bond.
Questions inspire action. Action is after all, the desired end-result, and questions put us in a proactive state. The brain does not like to leave any question unanswered. Think about a question that will close the conversation you’ve had, such as, “Which product would you like to leave here with today?” “How do you feel about putting extra calves on the ground next spring with increased conception rates?” These are questions that inspire action and will help your sales grow.
Effective interrogation – or question asking – can be an powerful tool for growing your business and building relationships. Take time to ask your customers the right questions that show genuine concern and can offer a solution. Questions will inspire action, and action is the tool we need to grow.
What does a seedstock operation who’s core business goal of selling commercial bulls have in common with an animal nutrition company? More than you would think. 44 Farms located in Cameron, Texas, is one of BioZyme®’s Partners in Performance and markets approximately 1,200 bulls each year through its four sales and private treaty. What started as a ranch with the goal to have its own branded-beef business has grown to be one of the premier Angus operations in the country, and the one that Wal-Mart has chosen to supply a high-quality, consistent product to its meat cases.
“44 Farms and BioZyme are both entrepreneurial-minded companies at heart with an emphasis on teamwork, quality and a culture of the customer first. One of the things I have observed is a sense of family that starts with the sense of leadership with Bob and Lisa (Norton),” 44 Farms COO Doug Slattery told the attendees at the sixth BioZyme Dealer Retreat during an industry update.
A BioZyme customer who understands the importance of good nutrition and health, 44 Farms includes Amaferm® into many of their rations. When 44 Farms started their own branded-beef business, they were processing 30 head a week. Now, the highly successful 44 Steaks program processes 300 head a week, all calves that are part of their customer buy-back program.
As someone who works in customer service every day, Slattery said there are five key traits that exceptional customer service requires.
Communication. If you are going to create a new customer or retain a current customer, you must communicate with them. Reach out and see how they are doing with their product(s) they purchased. Often times the follow-up is just as important as the sale. It shows the customer that you care. Making a phone call or stopping by for face-to-face communication is worth a lot to a customer.
Personal, customized service. Just like selling bulls, selling a nutrition program, isn’t one-size-fits-all. While you are communicating with them, ask them what their needs are and offer a solution that will best help them. Perhaps, they are new to the business and need management advice to get them started in addition to a nutrition plan.
Think outside the box to meet their needs. Maybe the potential customer you’re talking to needs a fresh idea. He or she might be running their stock on limited land or they are trying to feed them for niche market like all-natural. Be sure to ask questions to find the best solution for them, even if it is a little on the non-traditional side.
Listen to what they really want and need. It all circles back to communication and asking the right the question. If they are trying to stay in an all-natural marketing program, make sure you are recommending products and practices that will keep them in that program.
Attention to detail. A satisfied customer will become a repeat customer. Pay attention to details and keep track of their information for them. If you know it’s been a while since they ordered product, reach out to them and remind them they are probably running low. Or if it is time to switch to a VitaFerm® HEAT® mineral, remind them of that when they order. Customers will appreciate that you have kept track of these important details when the busyness of their lives hasn’t allowed for it.
Customer service is often as important as the goods or products you
are selling. Selling a great product is the easy part but making sure the customer is satisfied and had a rewarding customer service is the key to repeat customers.
“A happy customer is your best salesman, and that starts with successful, exceptional customer service,” Slattery said.
Have you had a chance to see all of the fun we had at the 2019 Dealer Retreat? If not, check out content from our sessions and photos from the event here: https://dealers.backofficeapps.com/resources/dealer-retreat
This past month was our 6th annual dealer retreat. This event brings together our top volume dealers to challenge all of us on how we can be the best versions of ourselves in our day to day business. This year’s theme was Decode the Mystery of Growth.
Mystery is defined as something that is difficult or impossible to understand.
This recent article in Feedstuffs is a mystery to me. How can I include chocolate as 30% of my diet without affecting my carcass composition? Seems if I just include it at .000003 percent it significantly impacts my carcass. Now that is a mystery.
The “love of gain” is human nature. So, a desire or even a need for growth is not mysterious. It’s how to create it that’s mysterious.
We must work every day to solve that mystery using a variety of ways including:
- Investing in human capital
- Committing to learning
- Standing out
- Setting bold goals
- Making big changes
The common point to all of these is ACTION – Nike says Just Do It. If “just do it” was enough, we’d have already just done it by now. So, if all we need to do is “just do it,” why do we go through one year after the other without “just doing” the things we know we need to do to grow?
Because successful growth isn’t about just doing, it’s about:
- Identifying the need for change
- Creating that change
- Preparing for the challenges that will present themselves along the way of change
- Grabbing a hold of an “all in” belief so you don’t just give up
If you skip any of those steps, whatever you “just do,” won’t be sustained long enough, repeated often enough, or executed well enough to create the action needed to grow.
Once you know what actions you need to take each day; you’ll find that “just do it” is the effective warning it was intended to be.
- Video testimonials and the new American Rancher show featuring VitaFerm Gain Smart Stocker HEAT are now available on the media page. Visit: https://vitaferm.com/media/#gain-smart
- Don’t forget we have some great educational pieces about Gain Smart available on our website. Check them out now: https://vitaferm.com/?s=gain+smart&submit=Search