Opportunities to Address Challenges Lead to Sales

For some on the BioZyme sales team, they take the relationship approach to getting products in front of customers. It is more about being problem solvers or helping the potential customer reach their production goals with a nutrition program, than it is “selling” a product.

Brett Tostenson, ASM who represents South Dakota and Eastern North Dakota, said he does extensive homework about a potential customer’s production goals, both commercial and seedstock, before he ever makes contact or sets foot on his or her ranch. With the use of the Internet and state-wide ag publications, there is typically a plethora of information about the larger cow-calf producers he calls on.

“I’m a huge proponent of connection-based selling to help them meet their needs. I look at the birthdates and sire groups in their sale catalogs, see if they have a ranch website or Facebook page, and Google to see if there is information about them, where they market their cattle. This helps me have a plan before I ever meet them,” Tostenson said.

He adds that is it is imperative to be genuine in the conversation, and with knowing background about their operation or having a mutual contact, it shows that you have an interest, and you are not just another cold call salesperson.

Once he knows about their operation, he will set up a time to stop by to look at their cattle, which he enjoys doing. Then, after he’s seen their cattle and had a good conversation, he’ll listen to any needs the producer might have like poor breed-backs, retained placentas or low conception rates. That is when he tells them about the reproductive mineral he uses on his own herd, VitaFerm® Concept•Aid®. His closing statement is strong:

“I don’t try to sell something I would not use on my own cattle.”

Once that trust is established and the producer decides to try the product, Tostenson will put him or her in touch with a dealer. He does follow up to make sure the dealer and the product is meeting expectations. And, he said it is important to be visible at their sale, but just to say hello, and not to talk shop on their big pay day.

The Consultant
Similar to Tostenson, Ty McGuire, who represents Michigan, Western Ohio and Kentucky, said he too likes to help potential and current customers meet their operation goals. He likes to consider himself as more of a consultant rather than a salesperson.

“I want them to know that I am looking out for them, and they can confide in me for answers whether it’s about nutrition, A.I. protocols or anything. I am a straight shooter, and that helps gain their trust and get the sale,” McGuire said.

Typically, on an initial visit, he will leave them with some beneficial literature that might include the sale report from a local livestock auction market, along with some BioZyme product information and his business card.

He agrees that sales books are a great way to learn about operations, and you can tell a lot about calving times, calving windows, sire groups and just about the people from the contents of the sale book. He said his initial face-to-face meetings can last from 20 minutes to an hour, and you can tell how much a person will open up and trust another in a short amount of time. Once he has their trust, he likes to talk about Amaferm®.

“I will bend over backwards for a potential customer to get the Amaferm advantage into their livestock. We have great products for every species and every situation, and I want them to know I will help them meet their goals, not only with nutrition but in other areas, as well,” McGuire said.

Do your homework. Build the relationship. Gain the trust. Sometimes selling isn’t even about selling as much as it is helping a fellow producer meet his or her production goals. Relationship selling is all about helping others. And that is care that comes full circle.

Use Amaferm® to Sell Across All Species

With vitamins, minerals and supplements aplenty, there is one thing that sets BioZyme® products apart from all the rest – the Amaferm® advantage. This is the selling point used by many when it comes time to market the products we offer.

“I always talk about Amaferm and how it can help all species across the board,” said Lori Lawrence, ASM in Eastern Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Lawrence attributes the brand recognition of Amaferm and VitaFerm® to the success of the products she helps her dealers sell, and she uses that recognition to trickle down into other products for other animals besides cattle. The product guide is her number one favorite selling tool.

“People are not typically single-species raisers, so that product guide is a great way to showcase all the products we have that contain Amaferm, all of them,” she said.

In her sales area, she might visit with a customer who has show lambs and a cowherd and a few horses. Therefore, she can talk about Amaferm and how it can help their lambs stay on feed and water, while helping with general herd health of their cows.

With an area that is predominately store front dealers that offer a variety of products, Lawrence said training new dealers and existing dealers on new products is a top priority. Because so many people do have multiple species, she recommends that the stores carry some of every product. She also encourages in-store displays during the high-selling seasons since often if a product is “out of sight, it is out of mind.”

“During HEAT® season or whatever season, I remind the dealers to bring a few bags of product into their stores to display. When they bring those products in for customers to see, their sales do increase. I like to remind the dealers that Amaferm is the biggest differentiation between our products and others they might carry. We are a premium mineral with premium results,” she said.

Western ASM Britney Creamer agrees that Amaferm is the key sales tactic that she uses. Creamer travels Colorado, Utah and Wyoming and also works with a diverse group of customers.

“Amaferm is always the first thing I talk about with customers and potential customers as it is the one thing that significantly separates the BioZyme line from competitors and provides the most overall benefits no matter the situation,” she said.

The Amaferm advantage of increased intake, digestion and absorption is important regardless of geography, production goals and species. Once a customer has seen the results in one species, he or she will typically understand them and be excited to use a product with Amaferm in other animals.

Creamer said once she has talked about Amaferm and its benefits, she likes to share examples of how the products have helped others. She makes sure they don’t have impractical expectations, and she always follows up.

“Utilizing testimonials, research and personal experience with products always seems to resonate best with potential customers and allows them to feel more comfortable or confident in what you are offering them. I make sure to not create unrealistic expectations as well because people want such quick results that they can visually see with their eye these days. It’s important to let them know what they can expect to see with the eye and also remind them that what is working inside an animal may take a few weeks to see on the outside,” she said.

With an ingredient like Amaferm, it makes differentiating the BioZyme products from their competition a little simpler. Sharing “premium minerals with premium results” across all species should be the goal of every dealer, and that is definitely what the Amaferm advantage does for you.

Different Brand Name, Same Amaferm® Advantage

We’ve encouraged diversification because it does work.

Amaferm® is the key component that sets our products apart from other nutrition products and is found across all product lines The Amaferm advantage has been proven across all species. Are you trying to increase your conception rates or shorten your calving window? Amaferm in the VitaFerm works. Have a flock of ewes that you want to breed, have them carry those lambs to term and then once the lambs are born, make sure those lambs have more vigor? The Amaferm in the DuraFerm® works. Are you trying to keep high-dollar show animals on feed and water through times of stress? Amaferm in Sure Champ and Vita Charge works. How about giving your high-performance horses a good gut feeling? Amaferm in the Vitalize works!

In addition to the research that Amaferm has been a part of, livestock producers and horse and dog enthusiasts provide countless testimonials to our staff that prove that Amaferm is working – doing what it says it will do, in every animal across species. That’s diversification, and that is why it is important that our customers know that we offer products that fit the need across all animal species, especially if they are already familiar with the Amaferm advantage in one product line.

Vitalize® ambassador and 2019 world-champion tie-down roper Haven Meged, Miles City, Montana, and his family are a perfect example. The Meged family’s relationship with BioZyme ® began when their son, Haven, started using Vitalize and saw results.

Haven gives his horses Vitalize Alimend® twice a day to help ensure they maintain a good gut feeling to help keep them healthy and performing while he’s traveling up and down the road.

“These two-lanes roads are rough. The Vitalize® Alimend® is going to help keep my horses’ guts feeling good because when we are traveling day in and day out, getting in and out of the trailer, that is the hardest part on the horse. When they are in the trailer that is when they get ulcers the worst. I want my horses to stay slick and shiny and feeling their best. That is my number one priority out here; making sure my horses look good and feel good. If they don’t feel good, they aren’t going to perform to their best. It’s all about making them feel good,” he said.

After witnessing Haven’s experience with Vitalize and having known about the VitaFerm® brand for a while, his dad, Bart decided to try the VitaFerm mineral on his cow herd.

Bart has seen great results with his herd, feeding both VitaFerm Concept•Aid® and Conserve™.

“Bart said that he is glad that he had the nudge from his son, as he has heard and known of the quality of Amaferm and VitaFerm as being the best,” said John Tucker, Large Beef Account Specialist.

It is common for the younger generation to get the older generation involved in a new product line. That is often the case with the Sure Champ® line. Once young exhibitors use the Sure Champ or Vita Charge® products on their show livestock, regardless of species, it is easy to open up a conversation with their parents about the product lines that exist. This could be VitaFerm for the cow herd, DuraFerm for the flock or Vitalize for the horses.

Diversification is everywhere! And it is your success story just waiting to be written.

Opening the Conversation to Diversification

In her letter this month, Lisa challenged every dealer to diversify to ensure their success. Sure, that might sound easy. And guess what? It is going to be easier than you think!

At BioZyme®, we offer a variety of supplement lines to cover a multitude of species from cattle, sheep and goats to swine, poultry and companion animals of horses, dogs and cats. Chances are that a majority of your customers own more than just one of those species. A recent statistic shows that 53% of American households own a dog. That’s more than half of your customers. Have you approached half of your customers about the Vitalize® canine line yet?

Perhaps the easiest way to open the conversation about a new product line to an already existing customer is to talk about something you are both familiar with – Amaferm®. For instance, if you have a cow-calf producer, who is feeding the VitaFerm® Concept•Aid® mineral, they probably understand one of the primary benefits is Amaferm, and how it works in their herd’s diet. But now you find out they also have four or five horses. Wouldn’t it be great to get them on Amaferm too?

“Multiple product lines open up more opportunity that can lead to additional sales. We have to get comfortable with having those conversations even if they aren’t in our wheelhouse. One thing that we are all comfortable with, or should be, is Amaferm and that is really what our products are about. That should be the very first thing that we are talking about when discussing our products. If we understand how Amaferm works, the rest of the conversation will take care of itself. In addition, the Vitalize products are designed to make the dealer more money than some of our other brands,” said Justin O’Flaherty, Area Sales Manager for the Carolinas, Tennessee and Virgina.

Chris Kyle, ASM for Arkansas and Louisiana, agrees that once people are hooked Amaferm in a product like VitaFerm, it should be easier to open the conversation on another line of product that BioZyme offers.

“Ask them if they liked the products on their other animals (cattle, sheep, goat) then they might be interested in what Amaferm could do for their horses also,” Kyle suggests.

O’Flaherty said another way to open up a conversation about the Vitalize line with someone who feeds another product line is to offer a sample, like the Vitalize Equine Recovery Gel. This quick-response, product could be a great conversation starter that leads to a long-term diverse customer who now orders Vitalize in addition to his or her VitaFerm each month, and it offers a great ROI.

Next, ask specific questions about your customer’s horse’s current nutritional needs and what feed they are feeding.

“This can usually open up a dialogue about what each specific horse’s needs are and/or if they feel they are buying hay constantly, the Vitalize® Digest More® Plus pellets can help them cut back a little on that,” O’Flaherty said.

Her last piece of advice was to keep the process simple and relevant.

“Dip your toe into the discipline that is most prevalent where your dealership is located. It doesn’t make sense to try to target dressage riders if you have an arena down the road that has nightly ropings. Just don’t overcomplicate it and don’t be afraid to ask for help,” she encourages.

Kyle agrees that keeping things simple is the best step for product diversification and sales success.

“Our products work, they will see it, and they will be glad that you, the dealer recommended the product. You just need to believe, and you will look like a pro for recommending them,” he said.

Start the conversation. Ask questions. Recommend a new line. Diversify, and watch your business grow.

Make the Ask: Planning Producer Meetings

The crisp fall air is upon us; harvest in most parts of the country is in full swing, fall calving is under control, and there is a short break in stock shows. It is a great time for BioZyme® dealers to start planning and preparing for producer meetings.

Ask – Invite producers

First, as a dealer, you need to set a date, time and location for your meeting. Make sure it is on a day that doesn’t conflict with something else in the area that would diminish attendance, such as a sale or the state football playoffs that your local team is in for the first time in decades. Send out invitations so the producers get them a week or two in advance. And if possible, follow up that invitation with a phone call the day before the meeting.

“It is super important to call everybody you invited, even if you sent them a postcard,” says Dorothy Orts, North Dakota Area Sales Manager. “You won’t have a successful turnout if you don’t call and ask them to the meeting.”

Once you have a date set, be creative in picking a location away from your store. It makes them feel appreciated to see you meeting with them outside of the normal place they do business with you. Orts, and her counterpart in Oklahoma, John Jeffrey, agree that the meeting should be held at a restaurant or a small community building and in conjunction with a meal. Jeffrey says if the food is good, people will show up. And Orts has learned by experience to keep the room small for a more comfortable setting where everyone can hear. She says if the room is too big, the acoustics might suffer, and if producers can’t hear, they are not going to pay attention.

Ask – Encourage interaction

Orts likes to make the meetings interactive and asks questions of the producers to get them involved and relaxed. She then asks for any current customers to provide a testimonial about the BioZyme products, saying that most producers will share their passion at the spontaneous response. And she also makes sure everyone knows about the Amaferm® advantage.

Allow sufficient time for discussion after the meeting, as most speakers will stay to visit with producers. Both Orts and Jeffrey say what happens after the meeting is often just as important as what happens during. Jeffrey described a recent noon-meal meeting where just a handful of producers showed up. Jeffrey and the dealer sat down with them in a more conversational manner

and people stayed for nearly three hours to learn about the products and share ideas.

Ask – Collaborate with others

It is a great idea to plan a meeting with other groups or businesses with similar goals. Jeffrey says he has piggy-backed with local cattlemen groups or pharmaceutical companies to share costs. When working with a drug company, he says they showed research that mineral usage increases the effectiveness of vaccinations – sharing both messages at once. And with the new Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD), it is timely to coordinate meetings with pharmaceutical companies.

Ask – Follow up

“You just have to ask,” Jeffery says. “You can’t sell something to people if you don’t ask them to buy it.” Jeffrey says when coordinating meetings with dealers, he likes to run a short special for those in attendance, which also encourages the producers to visit the store or place an order within the first week after the meeting.

Orts likes to send each meeting attendee home with a sample of Vita Charge® Liquid Boost® because it will likely save one life and help gain customers. Both area sales managers say to follow up and call those who attended.

“No two meetings are ever the same,” Jeffrey says. “Just be sure to ask for the sale. You never know if you will get a new customer that day or two weeks from now.”

Added Value Should Mean Added Profitablity

Having multiple product lines may allow a growing business to diversify risk and capitalize on its established reputation. Multiple product lines can also strengthen competition in its industry, while at the same time enhancing the company’s checkbook.

Certainly after reading that statement, everyone is interested in expanding their products or product line(s). However, while it may be beneficial to expand a product line or bring in a new product within a line, those benefits do not come without considerable work before the sales start rolling in.  Please note, any one of these 17 steps could cause the ones before it to be reevaluated making the process at times overwhelming.

  1. First, get an idea of what to expand.
  2. Determine the specific needs of customers in that market segment.
  3. Identify the product features that would be most attractive to them.
  4. Assess the market size and the competition.
  5. Create/formulate the product based on science and market research results.
  6. Get team buy-in.
  7. Figure out the best distribution channels to achieve the highest market penetration.
  8. Determine the price to make sure it will be competitive and profitable. (note: many times this step forces you to go back to step 5 or before)
  9. Test the product to determine its effectiveness.
  10. Create a unique value proposition.
  11. Decide how you’ll position the product in the market segment you’ve identified using that proposition.
  12. Make sure that doesn’t conflict with any other products, product lines or brands in your portfolio.
  13. Create the name and “look” to support the positioning.
  14. Create the marketing materials.
  15. Plan the initial launch.
  16. Strategize the actual marketing plan to support it after its launch
  17. Execute, execute, execute and PRAY. Pray the product is positioned and priced correctly, works correctly and sells in the time you predicted.

Of course you are not interested in doing this entire list, so how can making the decision of adding a new product or product line be made in a more simplistic approach? Consider the following:

1. Evaluate the product itself

  • Has the product been thoroughly tested?
  • Did the product deliver consistent results?

2. Identify and evaluate the target market

  • What are the ideal customer’s characteristics?
  • Is there a market for the product?
  • Is there enough of a market to support the product?
  • Does the market available to you have a place for the product?

3. Evaluate the competition

  • Who are the top market competitors?
  • How are their products the same or different?
  • What are their marketing techniques?

4. Consider the product from your customers’ viewpoint

  • What service or product do they choose currently?
  • What are the key differences that would compel customers to select your product over another company’s?

5. Evaluate launch readiness

  • If the launch is successful (and let’s face it – the reason you’re launching a new product is because you want it to be successful) can your company facilitate the increased demand?
  • Do you have resources for handling customer education, inquiries and needs?

In the end, if you do your homework and move forward with an analytical eye, your product or line extension will increase sales, help you reach new markets and build market share overall for your growing business. Go be a “rocket” star!

Tools to Target the Right Customers

Every successful partnership requires each partner to give 100% effort. That includes the new exclusive partnership that Superior Livestock and BioZyme® have entered to market VitaFerm® Raised and Gain Smart calves through Superior.

The newly formed alliance targeted to stocker and feeding operations requires that either VitaFerm or Gain Smart be fed 45 days prior to marketing calves on Superior AND through delivery of those calves. Since nutrition is a key factor to herd health, gain and stress relief, this is win-win for all partners in the endeavor – the cattle feeder, BioZyme and Superior.

“This is a big win for our dealers when it comes to marketing the new Gain Smart product,” says Alan Lee, BioZyme Director of Sales. “But it is a more important win for the producers, who should see the value of feeding our product twice. First, they will see increased gain and faster growing calves, and again when they market their calves through Superior, they should see the premiums as being part of this new value-added program.”

Promoting the value of a nutrition program and the Amaferm® advantage, is already a great marketing tool, especially when customers see the financial benefits penciled out. Your customers need to sell those calves, and if they aren’t already Superior customers, the value-added partnership is another great arsenal to add to your marketing plan. Superior is the leader in marketing cattle, and chances are your bigger producers already use Superior.   

One way that Lee suggests dealers can discover larger producers in their sales area is to watch the Superior Livestock sales or read their catalog online, to see who already sells their cattle via Superior.  Another benefit of this simple research might be discovering a new customer who doesn’t feed BioZyme products but sells on Superior.

“Every dealer I’ve suggested this to who embraced this, has picked up at least one new, big customer in the last two weeks,” Lee says. And he adds, if an alliance or group of producers is selling cattle, the BioZyme dealer can potentially add several more customers.

Reaching out to your area Superior Livestock rep is another way to build a customer base. Superior has nearly 400 representatives across the United States who work on commission of selling actual load lots of cattle. They are another great source when promoting the BioZyme programs. Superior reps and their telephone numbers can be found online at www.superiorlivestock.com.

“Through a collaborative effort between the BioZyme dealers and Superior reps, we want this to be a long-term partnership,” says Jason Barber, manager of Superior’s purebred division. “We want the dealers and sales staff to reach out to reps and consignors to network while educating the consignors about the importance of a great mineral program.”

Lee says the dealers need to be proactive in approaching larger customers, and the new Gain Smart program provides dealers with the great information to approach larger feeders and stockers with. “Gain Smart provides greater performance, increasing gains from one-quarter to one-third of a pound per day. So, not only will they see added gains, they will receive premiums when selling through this value-added program.”

October 2016 – Letters from Lisa

Just like a trapeze artist must take a risk when letting go of one swinging bar to catch the next, growing your business year after year involves risk. This month I want to focus on the trust involved in taking those risks – much like that trapeze artist trusts that the next bar will appear just as he lets go of the one he is already clinging to in mid-air. Some risks are easy to execute but take a decent sized bank account while others are hard to execute but don’t take much money at all. I am going to rattle off a list of these options, and then you can decide which one to choose so you don’t need the net.

1. Carve out a new corner of your market
Expanding into new markets provides the advantage of building a larger customer base.

2. Partner with other businesses who are growing in your market
By forming strategic partnerships with other growing businesses that offer complementary products and services, you can cultivate a mutually beneficial relationship that will help both of your businesses grow.

3. Diversify your product offerings
A diversification strategy opens up new possibilities. You can diversify your product offering or your target markets. Think about the things that go along with the items you sell: boots, apparel, shavings and nutrition services for example.

4. Leverage a strong position with your existing core customers
The ability to leverage your existing customer base should be core to better engagement with new prospects and how you funnel them through the sales process more quickly. Don’t take them for granted—your existing customer base can be the key to advancing both marketing and sales activities that lead to significant growth.

5. Acquire or merge with other businesses in your market
Perhaps the most aggressive growth strategy is to buy a company that makes products related to yours. We’ve seen that a lot lately with tech companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon that continue to acquire smaller businesses. If you cannot acquire another business perhaps you can arrange to merge with it.

Choosing the best option for your business is hard work that involves risk. It is no different than the trapeze artists high above the crowd gracefully letting go of their swinging bar flying through the air being caught and then letting go again.

Author Henri Nouwen once had the opportunity to travel with the Flying Rodleighs, a troupe of trapeze artists. Their conversation inevitably turned to flying and how they could possibly do what they did. Nouwen summarizes risk: ͞

A flyer must fly, and a catcher must catch, and the flyer must trust that his catcher will be there for him.

So outstretch your arms; let go, and trust the option you select to grow your business.

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