The chill in the air is a gentle reminder that field work will soon come to an end, and it would typically be time to kick off producer meetings. Depending on your location, local or state mandates and the willingness of people to gather, might determine the plan you take this fall and winter for the traditional producer meetings and customer open houses.
Regardless of your situation, it is important to share information with your customers. Educating them on the newest products and services you are offering, talking about what is coming down the pipe as nutritional needs of the herd or flock shift and networking are often the highlights of a producer meeting. However, a producer meeting is also a time to introduce any promotions that you’re offering, and the gatherings offer a chance for you to take orders on a product after a talk when that product is fresh in the producers’ minds.
Holiday open houses are another opportunity to show appreciation toward your customers and other community members. These typically feature some type of food and drink with a small token of thanks. Just as 2020 has looked different since March, both producer meetings and open houses might have to take on a new look this fall and winter.
While some people have no qualms about gathering, some are playing it safe. Furthermore, some state and local governments are regulating the amount of people who can gather, have put social distancing practices in place and still require face coverings. Before you do plan an event, be sure you know what is required of you.
However, if you are looking at alternative ways to share information, network and show appreciation, those do exist. Think about inviting small groups of like-minded customers to the local café for breakfast to talk about a new mineral program. This still offers the camaraderie and a chance to get some face-to-face interaction without a huge group.
Pick up the tab and offer a limited-time promotion that might get them into your dealership to place an order.
Offer an online meeting for those who want to learn what’s new at your dealership. Zoom, Google Meets or Facebook Live are efficient ways to reach your customers and potential customers and interact with them at the same time. Even if you do an in-person meeting, it is still good to offer a virtual component for those who maybe can’t make it or don’t want to attend the live event. To learn more about using video for these events, be sure to check out last month’s VISION, or check out the Online Dealer Center.
Perhaps you want to show appreciation to some key customers while still letting them know what is happening. Send them a gift box with an FAQ sheet. Include your famous peanut brittle that they would typically stop by the shop to pick up, some hot cocoa mix and a mug with your logo on it. Determine what you normally spend on a full meal or holiday promotions and use that budget to still show your customers some type of appreciation during the end of the year.
Meetings and open houses don’t look like they did a year ago. But your business is growing. Keep the camaraderie up, continue to nurture those relationships and show appreciation. Take action. Your customers will notice.