Financial and Productivity Apps to Keep You in Check

Your iPhone can be a powerful tool for business – or a complete distraction. The key to any software program or app is finding the right match for your specific needs or deficiencies and then committing to using the tool so you can take advantage of the benefits. The following are a few apps that may be able to enhance record keeping systems, automatically sync income or expense data with your financial software, increase communication and transparency with your team and boost productivity.

Xpense Tracker
An all-inclusive expense tracking and reporting application for dealers wishing to track their expenses and mileage. It’s power does not end at the iPhone but extends to the desktop by allowing emailing or exporting of the expense files and accompanying photo receipts directly to the desktop.

  • Quickly snap shots of receipts for easy scans and financial tracking.
  • Track your mileage in real time by using your device’s integrated GPS.
  • Export your records in .PDF and .CSV file formats.

Hours Tracker
Need a way to track your time or an effective tool for employees to use so they can send you time reports? Clock in and out as you work. Or, add entries yourself in just a few quick taps. Time entries are automatically created when you clock out.

Easily review your past entries, grouped by day, week, month or pay period. You can easily export your data by job, date or selection. Choose to export as a text summary or in spreadsheet-ready CSV format.

SLACK
All your team communication in one place. Slack is a new way to get more done, spend less time in meetings and reduce email.

  • Real-time messaging and file sharing for one-to-one and group conversations.
  • Powerful search and archiving, so you can find information easily.
  • Instantly syncs across all devices.
  • Configurable notifications for desktop, mobile, and email.
  • Proven to make your working life simpler, more pleasant, and more productive.

Quickbooks Payment Pro
GET PAID QUICKLY … ANYWHERE, ANYTIME. Plug the card reader into your iPhone or iPad and swipe credit cards quickly and securely. Or, if you don’t have a card reader, you can always scan a card with your camera or key in the card details directly.

Your customer signs right on your device to authorize the payment. Then, you can email or text a receipt to your customer. Accepting a payment takes just a few taps from start to finish.

Wunderlist
Wunderlist allows dealers to access their to-do lists from almost anywhere. Star important tasks, create multiple lists, sort by due date and priority and add tasks via e-mail.

Since multiple parties can edit lists, the app doubles up as a collaboration tool that works across desktop and mobile.

Freedom – Reduce Distractions
With so many distractions and possibilities in your digital life, it’s easy to get scattered. Freedom blocks digital distractions so you can be more productive. Start a Freedom session, and you’re blocked from all distractions on your phone or tablet. Freedom gives you peace and quiet, so you can accomplish more.
Rescue Time: Android alternative

Digital Punch Card

Technology has come a long way. It’s great when it works, but more importantly, to work it must be easy. Retail outlets have used promotions and customer loyalty programs for ages to drive sales and repeat business, but often these programs are difficult to manage for both the store staff and the customer. However, there is an innovative program available that automates the management of rewards points and makes communicating with your customers easy!

Here are some examples:

  • Buy 10 bags of Sure Champ® and earn a show stick, pig whip or brush.
  • For every 10th visit to the store where you purchase $50 or more, earn a free gift.
  • Come in on your birthday and receive $10 off your purchase.
  • Earn double loyalty points on Tuesdays.

These types of incentives are appealing to those customers who enjoy a bonus, and if done strategically, can be an effective way to ramp up business on specific days that may normally be slow or to promote slower moving products. Additionally, it’s a great way to stay in front of your clients and market in a fun way.

OptSpot (www.optspot.com) combines customer loyalty and text message marketing to increase customer frequency, connect with customers and drive instant revenue. Customers simply sign-up & check-in using their mobile phone number. Points are automatically tracked & rewards are earned based on points. Re-connection is automated and done through text messaging.

Some Cool Features
Customer Loyalty: Using a mobile number to track points and rewards is easy. Customers either enter their number into the tablet or you do it on your point of sale checkout system for them. Points are tracked and rewards are earned automatically.

Auto-Engage: Reconnecting with your customers automatically based on frequency is nearly impossible without innovative solutions. This text program will send a text message to those customers who have not visited in 30, 60 or 90 days inviting them back more often.

Text Message Blasts: Being able to get your message in your customer’s pockets can drive instant revenue. Send limited time offers, promotions, etc. and watch your business grow.

Collect More Data: Collect important customer data and add them to your own
customer relationship management (CRM) software through an automated text call to action.

Don’t Sell. Help.

It’s a safe bet that most people have had a bad experience with a sales person. You may even cringe, roll your eyes or your stomach turns when you hear the words “sales person.” Kelley Robertson, author of Stop, Ask & Listen – Proven Sales Techniques to Turn Browsers into Buyers and The Secrets of Power Selling, lists seven reasons why customers hate sales people:

1.) They don’t listen
2.) They talk too much
3.) Lack of knowledge
4.) Lack of follow-up
5.) They lie
6.) Fail to understand the customers’ needs
7.) Refusal to take “no” for an answer

However, sales are essential for business. After all, nothing happens until you sell something. So how do you find balance? How do you become aggressive in growing your business without being labeled as a “sales person?”

To be great at selling, you must first be passionate about the product(s) or service(s) you’re representing; and secondly be passionate about the people you serve. This type of passion is something a dealer can rarely fake. A passion for what you’re selling coupled with a passion for helping your customers make the best decisions for their operations will come across in everything you say or do.

This is one area BioZyme® dealers often do not have trouble as 80% of dealers use the product personally and have experienced firsthand results they are passionate about sharing. Here are four reasons this type of passion is a game-changer for your business:

Passion Builds Trust with Customers
There are no sales without trust, and a passion for selling can cement trust between a dealer and a potential customer like nothing else. When passion is genuine, customers know it, and will respond to it by placing their trust in you and your business. A passion for selling also helps build trust because:

  • A sales person with passion truly wants to understand the customer and their unique needs and then sculpt how a product or service fits into that picture.
  • When a sales person is fully invested in the products he or she represents, that passion can be contagious for customers.
  • Passion permits a sales person to go after the best possible outcome – even if the best possible outcome for the prospect is not the product he or she originally had in mind.

    Passion Keeps the Sales Pipeline Full
    One of the great things about a passion for selling is that it can help dealers maintain a full sales pipeline without as much effort as those who lack such a passion. Why? A passion for selling turns customers into advocates (see page 6) who will recommend the dealer and their products to others. Word-of-mouth marketing continually sends new leads who are interested and ready to buy to the dealer. Having these customers who are also willing to provide testimonials and refer other customers, is priceless in any industry.

    Passion Allows Dealers to Be Persistent
    Persistence is always a watchword in sales since customers will not always be quick to pick up the phone or return a call. Great dealers who have a passion for selling have an advantage here because that passion helps them overcome such barriers and be persistent in pursuing the sale without becoming a hindrance to the potential customer. With passion, great dealers can come up with creative solutions to reach their prospects and ultimately make the sale.

    Passion Helps Dealers Continually Improve
    When dealers have a passion for selling, that passion often makes itself known through continual improvement. No dealer is perfect, but not all dealers are willing to make the commitment of time, money and energy it takes to reach the next level. Those who have a passion for selling are willing to make this commitment not only because it is the best thing for their careers, but also because it is what they want to do. That is passion for selling in action.

Be The “Good” In Their Morning, Afternoon Or Evening

Learn how LEO SANFTNER of Cottor FARMS serves customers passionately

Leo Sanftner
Cottor Farms, Osceola, WI
Sales Agent

One word that best describes how you work: Positive

First, tell us what you feel separates your business from other feed supply operations? There are not a lot of feed mills in our area; they’ve become a thing of the past. Regardless if our door closes at 5 p.m., I stay until the job is done, all deliveries are made and all the customers have the product they need.


How do you keep your to-do list?
I run a log each day by way of a spiral notebook at my desk. At the end of each day I update it for the next business day.


What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?
When the telephone rings in the morning, I say “Good morning, this is Leo.” When it rings in the afternoon I say, “Good afternoon, this is Leo.” When it’s evening I say, “Good evening, this is Leo.” I try to be the good morning, good afternoon and good evening for them.


What’s your secret?
I am passionate about people and livestock. I’ve gone through a lot of stuff through the years, — feeling low, health issues, stress at
work, etc., so I try to help other people out. I forget about my problems and take on their problems. It makes me feel good.


What are you currently reading?
The Biozyme® VISION Dealer Newsletter on my phone or computer. I love to read that and learn what’s going on in
other places. I also read the Angus Journal and Hereford World.


How do you recharge?
By going home and getting six to seven hours of sleep a night. I love my Mountain Dew while I’m driving. That recharges me.


What is your favorite and least-favorite task at work?
My least favorite task is sitting at my desk. I like to stay busy so my favorite is when I’m manufacturing feed, helping customers, working out new diets and checking on
old diets.


What is one area you’d like to improve in regarding business? 
Advertising. I’m currently working on that. We are putting up a nice sign on the highway that will change daily or weekly to display different specials we are running. Next, I’ll start putting ads in newspapers. I feel more people need to know Cottor Farms is here to help.


Describe your ideal customer.
All of them.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? My ag instructor said to me years ago, “Your English teacher will say, ‘Leo can sell ice cubes to Eskimos.’ But I say, “No, Leo would sell them a wood stove.” I wouldn’t sell a customer something they don’t need.


Why do you love this business?
I’ve been in the cattle business all my life. It’s my passion. I milked cows, and the day came when I didn’t milk anymore. Then I wanted to expand my beef operation. I have and I can help others with their operations. So my dream has come true.

Ask Questions. Listen & Learn.

On an average day, Leo Sanftner will drive to his job at Cottor Farms in northern Wisconsin drinking a Mountain Dew and catching up on phone calls. Once in the office, he’ll oversee the mill’s manufacturing process and prescribe customized diets for his customers’ livestock operations. The rations Sanftner mixes are for species including cattle, horses, goats, sheep, hogs, rabbits and chickens.

In afternoons and evenings he’ll make product deliveries. Some customers are 30-40 miles away, but through his personal show ring connections, Sanftner also delivers orders up to 200 miles away from the mill’s home base in Osceola, Wisconsin.

His passion for helping breeders do well is second to none. Every day, Sanftner says he listens to his customers to learn about their unique situations. He asks them to share specifics so he can help find the right information and formulate a ration. Sanftner says he wants customers to trust him to treat their animals like his own and realize they can call on him whenever the need arises; daytime, nights or weekends.

His days are long and his to-do list is lengthy, but he doesn’t mind one bit. He says he’s living his dream of helping breeders improve the health of their operations through his position at Cottor Farms.

Cottor Farms is a family-owned business, owned by brothers, Rick and Dan Cottor, that raises its own crops to put through the milling process. Sanftner has known the Cottor family for two decades and was brought on as a sales agent six years ago, thanks to his show ring and livestock connections. He credits his success in both his work and in the show ring to BioZyme® products.

Cottor Farms also supplies and grinds 90-percent of the feed for a nearby mill, and Sanftner says he makes sure to include Amaferm® in all of the mixes.

Prior to joining Cottor Farms, Sanftner was familiar with the Sure Champ® brand as he experienced the impact of this supplement when he purchased cattle from Star Lake Herefords in Skiatook, Oklahoma, years ago. He knew the product worked on cattle and kept it as a part of his own feeding program.

“People have high quality animals, but they may not bloom and take off,” he says. “BioZyme products are formulated in the diet for them. For example, Digest More® will take calves that have been really slow to develop and give them what they need to take off. If they have a good start it’s unbelievable how they eat at the bunk. I’m amazed when I see them a few months later.”

Sanftner can share numerous success stories of his customers using Digest More and Vita Charge®, specifically. One customer who raises chickens for ethnic groups wants his hens to have all black shiny feathers. Sanftner recommended adding Amaferm to their diet. Not only do the chickens now have the desired physical traits, but their eggs are harder with stronger yolks.

He also says the farm has not had problems with chickens that stop laying nor any molt season issues in the past year.

When a new customer discusses an issue with Sanftner, one of the first products he recommends is Vita Charge gel. He says he’ll give them a tube to try, and it will always trigger more business.

“We have some small farmers that the minute their pigs and calves are born they give them Vita Charge even before colostrum,” he says. “I’m overwhelmed with the success of the product and how it works for everything I put it in.”

Another testimonial Sanftner shares about the effects of Vita Charge is from a family with show hogs that last year developed a staph infection. Among other treatments, he encouraged the use of Amaferm through the products Digest More and Vita Charge. Sanftner believes these products saved one out of their four show pigs.

Sanftner says the products are not a hard sell because once the breeder has experienced Amaferm in their diet, they see improvement in overall herd health. His customers’ bragging points include enhanced immune systems and minimal issues with sickness.

“They feel like their animals are getting the best quality,” he says. “The first thing customers might ask is ‘How much more will it cost me,’ but we add it into the whole diet and it all comes out as price at the end.”

On a personal note, Sanftner and his son T.J., raise Hereford and Red Angus cattle. They are active in the show ring and proudly pass their love for showing to Sanftner’s granddaughter, Racthel. As the fourth generation of Sanftners to show cattle, Racthel, has seen show ring success that Sanftner credits to Sure Champ and Digest More. She showed the Reserve Grand Cow-calf Pair at the Minnesota State Fair last year, and his son exhibited the Reserve Grand Get-of-Sire.

Sanftner’s passion for livestock, people and BioZyme is a package deal. By visiting with various breeders, he can learn how the animals are doing on the products and tailor to their needs. “I treat all animals as if they’re a champion,” he says. “Like they’re my own family and not just a number on the wall. It’s just how I do business. I hope to give them a good protocol with the right products then step back and let it work.”

Passion is the Only Way to Reach Peak Performance

Which of the following types of people would you prefer to have in greater numbers working with your business?

A. Happy, Low Performers
B. Unhappy, Low Performers
C. Unhappy, High Performers
D. Happy, High Performers
E. All of the above.

The obvious preference would be “D.” Makes sense as mounting evidence suggests that happy, high-performing workforces correlate with greater employee satisfaction, customer loyalty, profits and productivity.

One of my favorite books is All In by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton. It says productivity is driven by the equation E+E+E. The Es stand for engaged, enabled and energized. Engaged means the employee is attached to the company and willing to put forth extra effort. Enabled means that the company environment supports the employee’s productivity and performance. Energized means that the employee feels a sense of well-being and drive.

Yale psychologist, Amy Wrzesniewski, interviewed hundreds of workers in all professions and found that people have one of three work “orientations” or mindsets:

  1. They see work as being a “job” or a chore and use the paycheck
    as its reward.
  2. They approach work as a “career” and strive to advance and succeed.
  3. They see their work as a “calling” and find work fulfilling because it gives them feelings of meaning and purpose.

Wrzesniewski then showed that people with a calling will work harder and longer simply because their jobs are rewarding.

After reading all of this, the conclusion is simple: we need happy, rewarded, engaged, enabled and energized workers if we want them to be the high-performing type that result in greater productivity and profits for our businesses.

But wait. According to Deloitte University Press, up to 87.7 percent of America’s workforce is not able to contribute to their full potential because they don’t have passion for their work. Less than 12.3 percent of America’s workforce possesses the attributes of worker passion. This “passion gap” is important because passionate workers are committed to continually achieving higher levels of performance.

So passion truly matters, and here are three ways to find and support it in your team:

1) Look for where your preconceived notions about the profile of a passionate worker are stopping you from identifying talent both externally and internally. Passionate workers come from all age groups, educational levels and backgrounds.

2) Recognize that passionate workers out earn and outperform their peers because of their internal drive for sustained learning and performance improvement. Take risks to cultivate these dispositions, and passionate workers will take risks for you in return.

3) Cultivation of passionate workers internally is probably the most effective way to increase the proportion of passionate workers in your organization. Organizations should evaluate their work environments to understand where they cultivate or discourage passion.

Who Are Your Customer Advocates?

Are you generating new business from existing customers? Customer advocates are the heart of any successful, growing business because they help send you referral leads – for free.

Referrals are warm leads that convert better than leads using other marketing initiatives. Creating customer advocates and harnessing their passion to drive more referrals is a key component to all successful, growing businesses.

According to a study by Wharton School of Business, 83 percent of satisfied customers are willing to refer products and services. But, only 29 percent actually do. So, let’s amp up that 29 percent and create some real growth from customers who share passion about the products and services you provide!

Why is customer advocacy so important?

  • A referral customer costs a lot less to acquire and has a higher potential for retention and loyalty. In fact, a referred customer has a 16 percent higher lifetime value. (Wharton School of Business, 2012)
  • Word of mouth is a primary factor behind 20 to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions. Its influence is greater when the products or services being bought are relatively expensive or need people to conduct detailed research. (Mckinsey, 2010)
  • People trust friends and family more than other information sources; they pay twice the attention to recommendations from friends than other sources. (Mckinsey, 2010)

It’s easy to understand why creating customer advocates is important in driving success. Here are four ways you can turn passionate customers into advocates.

1. Build stronger customer relationships

Building relationships is important in showing that you value your customers’ business. Stronger relationships increase trust between you and your potential customer advocate.

When it comes to referrals, your customer’s reputation is on the line. If someone recommends your products and/or services, and you don’t deliver, guess who loses? Yes, you might take a hit, but more importantly, your customer will have their reputation damaged. Through stronger customer relationships, you can build trust with customers and earn their referral.

2. Use customer satisfaction surveys to identify potential advocates

Identifying potential customer advocates is a challenge. Customer satisfaction surveys can serve as a tool to identify advocates.

As discussed in previous newsletters, these surveys give you the opportunity to ask customers what they really think of your service. To determine if a customer is a potential advocate, ask this question in your survey:

How likely would you be to recommend us to your friends or colleagues?

  • I would go out of my way to recommend <dealer name>
  • I would recommend < dealer name >
  • I wouldn’t recommend < dealer name >

If someone would ‘go out of their way to recommend your services’, you could assume they were very satisfied with your service or product. Leverage this insight to reach out to specific customers and identify potential advocates.

3. ‘WOW’ your customers by focusing on the experience

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh demonstrates this best when he says, “We really don’t think that customer service is an expense that you should try to minimize, it’s really an investment in your brand. The telephone is one of the best branding devices out there. If you wow [customers] during that interaction, that’s something they’re going to remember for a very long time and tell their friends about.”

Creating an experience that WOWs your customers is something money can’t buy. People value service that goes above and beyond their expectations, and they tell others about those experiences. In order to WOW your customers, first think about what your customers expect from your product or service. Then, exceed those expectations. Think about some initiatives you can implement today that will make your customers say, “Whoa, that was great.”

4. Don’t be scared to just ask for referrals

Asking for a referral can be intimidating. Even with all the strategies in the world, some of you will still sit back and not identify your advocates and ask them for referrals.

Pick five loyal customers you feel might have some peers interested in your services. Next time you have a scheduled call or are delivering product, challenge yourself to simply ask for the referral.

Use this line if you’re stuck for words:“Hey Bob, do you know anyone or any operations that would find our products or services valuable?” 

Turning customers into advocates doesn’t have to be hard. Studies show that customers want to send you referrals but just don’t know how. Your passion for this industry is contagious, and you have customers who want to help you grow your business. It is up to you to leverage that passion to create more opportunity!

Marketing Multitasking

While many studies lay claim that multitasking can actually reduce efficiency, I will argue that ‘marketing multitasking’ is a no-brainer. Unlike mobile devices that are distracting and often prohibit productivity, finding ways to inject marketing into tasks you are already performing is quite the contrary. In fact, marketing multitasking is an excellent opportunity to multiply your effort.

You wake each morning with a standard routine that must happen in order to operate your business. You get dressed. You go over important tasks with your staff. You communicate with your customers during the sale, at checkout, and hopefully, you follow up. You invoice clients. Perhaps, you spend time driving to deliver product. You attend events, such as stock shows, where you simply visit and support your customers. Because you are accustomed to this routine, it is possible that you overlook marketing opportunities that can be easily injected into those everyday tasks at little to no cost.

Let’s touch on a few marketing multitasking ideas that can be incorporated into your normal business routine:

Staff Dress Code. You should never underestimate the value of apparel or wearables. Next time you are at the mall or large event, take a look around. Count how many shirts you see with brands like Nike, Under Armour, Carhartt and other popular brands. You’ve just been marketed to – many times over. Outfitting your staff with branded apparel creates walking advertisements for either your company and/or the brands you represent. Clothing can be used as conversation starters and magnet for potential customers, and they work overtime! How is that? If you invest in attractive apparel that your employees or customers like, they will wear them everywhere, even when you don’t ask. Being strategic about getting dressed in the morning is a cost effective, fun way to market.

Invoices. For dealers who snail-mail to send invoices or statements to customers, consider adding a product stuffer to the envelope. This is a small piece of paper designed to fit perfectly in an envelope and tells your customer about a new or related product they could benefit from. While you’re spending money on postage, you might as well include something that could spark interest and generate additional sales. For those who utilize electronic billing systems, you can also take advantage of this by attaching a PDF flyer in your email or, better yet, including a coupon for your customer’s next purchase.

Checkout Chatter. The short period of time a customer stands at the counter to check out is a perfect time to introduce them to upcoming promotions, new products or simply ask them if they are satisfied with the customer service they received. It’s the perfect time to up sell or receive feedback on their experience.

Vehicles. As a feed dealer, it is a given you spend much of your time on the road or have a vehicle out and about on any given day. A great way to increase brand awareness is with a vehicle wrap to advertise your dealership or a magnet that has your contact information, creating a traveling billboard.

Show Sponsorship. You will likely attend a stock show at some point throughout the year, whether with your family or to support your customers. While you’re there, wear your branded apparel and consider a sponsorship of product for class winners or champions. Ask if the show will announce your sponsorship over the microphone throughout the event and let people know where they can purchase product. Signage at these events is always a great way to increase awareness, and depending on the event, can come at a low cost.

Employee Time. If you have employees who have some downtime throughout the day, ask them to utilize that time writing thank you notes to your customers. You can never thank your customers enough, and a simple note will pay dividends.

As business owners, you face two important challenges each day:
1) feeling as if 24 hours is not enough to get everything accomplished and 2) engaging with your customers on a level so they know they are important and that you care. Our world is becoming more demanding of our time, and communication space is more cluttered. Rather than revolutionizing your marketing plan and falling short because you don’t have the time or resources to pull something big off, evaluate current activities to know if you are being fully efficient in the tasks you are already performing. And, more importantly, understand your customers’ worlds are just as cluttered as yours. Personalize your marketing efforts to speak to customers about what specifically interests them. By respecting their time and catering to their needs rather than cramming them into a one-size-fits-all plan, you will create engaged customers who appreciate your effort and who will remain loyal to your business.

How They Work: CJ Feed & Supply

Charlene Rein-Murphy 
CJ Feed & Supply, Paola, Kansas
Owner, operator, jack of all trades

One word that best describes how you work: Constantly

Current mobile device: Samsung Android

Current computer: Dell screen, HP hard drive, Dell laptop

First, tell us what you feel separates your business from other feed supply operations?
The relationship we build with our customers.

What websites, apps or tools can’t you live without?
A calculator because I’m always running numbers.

How do you keep your to-do list? Every morning I put major tasks on post-it notes. But it changes instantly and constantly.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why? My dog, Summer.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? I don’t worry about things I can’t control when it comes to dealing with everyday stuff. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

What’s your secret? I am good at being level-headed and not worrying about the B.S.

What are you currently reading? A John Grisham book.

How do you recharge? I go to my horse barn late at night.

What is your favorite and least-favorite task at work? Being on the floor and dealing with customers is my favorite.
My least favorite is collections.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? When someone tells me I can’t do it or tells me I will fail then I go for it. That’s my own personal advice.

Why do you love this business? I love animals, I love people. I love the challenge. A lot of it has to do with people that I grew up with and showed with, they are the friendships and relationships that I still have.

How A Simple Question Can Improve the Customer Experience

When a person enters a store they usually have a budget in mind. For a business owner the amount the customer is willing to spend is very important to his or her sales pitch.

At CJ Feed & Supply, Charlene Rein knows how to profile a prospective customer.

She developed a question years ago that lets her analyze just how much people are willing to spend on their animals.

“When they walk in the door I introduce myself then ask, ‘Do you like your animal, love your animal or is it a yard ornament,’she says. “This question applies if they own horses, cattle or a cat.”

Rein says the answer to this question tells her how committed customers are to their animals and what price point she should pitch. She says if they love their animal people are going to buy the best product for it and are committed to keeping that animal around for a long time. If they like their animal then she offers a middle-of-the road product. Answering “like” tells Rein the owner wants his or her animal well fed, but is also price conscious. And if the customer replies, “Yep, I own,” one this means they consider it a yard ornament. Rein believes the customer likes taking care of its animal but won’t go for the all the bells and whistles. She’ll show this potential customer the lower end of products.

CJ Feed & Supply is located in Paola, Kansas. Rein owns and manages the store, as well as her own herd of horses and cattle. As a dealer for BioZyme® she orders products she has used and can attest to, along with Sure Champ® products, which she sells in her store.

First impressions are everything, Rein says. When she asks the customer her intro question she is working to be more efficient. Understanding right away what they have and what they are willing to pay for means meeting their needs more quickly.

In the case of a customer who has a small budget, Rein says she tries to help them understand that they get what they pay for. If they are price conscious and want cheap feed, she is also prepared when they come back to the store six months later stating their animal looks rough.

“I tell them if you want your animal to look better here’s what you need to do,” she says. “I want people to understand they need to look at the label and see this is the nutrition in bag A versus in bag B. If it’s something they are keeping around for a couple of weeks and are just maintaining it, that’s fine. But if you’re going to show your animal, feed it show feed. And still for the child’s sake, please do the best for the animal and at least feed a show supplement like Sure Champ.”

Besides asking the profile question Rein says also keeps track of every customer. Each person is input into a computer system so her employees know their name, animals and previous purchases. She teaches her sales people to learn this information so when the customer walks in they automatically know what they purchased on their last visit. Then she prompts her employees to ask, “Do you want the same?”

Keeping track of customer information is another form of efficiency because if they want the same amount of feed, supplement or vaccine the order can be put together for them quickly.

“We try to know people’s names, their animals and what they do,” she says. “We build relationships with them.”

Rein, her two full-time and five part-time employees all work to make CJ Feed & Supply stand out. They send Christmas cards and thank you notes. They also host a large open house for nearly 400 attendees and serve chili or roast a hog, all in an effort to show appreciation for their customer base. Rein wants to
be able to recognize a customer by the car or truck they just drove into the parking lot so by the time they hit the doors she can be ready to offer a greeting and meet their needs.

Still, Rein says the feed store is a business, not a bank. She has to be willing to call in accounts receivable and make sure the books are in order. Rein buys many products in volume so she can keep prices low. She also encourages her employees to look at price sheets each time they come out so they know when prices increase and are not surprised at the register.

Profiling customers is a natural fit for Rein, and it helps her understand the commitment and the investment a customer is willing to give to their animal and to her store. Asking the right question at the start keeps her efficient, and she knows when to push forward as well as hold back with her customers.

“You have to know how to manage and when to draw the line,” Rein says. “From time to time, I get into a rut but I take a step back and reevaluate. I believe it’s best to take care of those who will take care of you.”