Producer meetings are a great communications and marketing tool. However, do you know they can serve other purposes too? They can serve as an educational resource, and also as a way to help you develop your strategic plan.
Communications not only involves sharing information, but just as importantly it entails gathering information that can help you grow your business. Producer meetings are a great place to gather input from customers, learn what their challenges are and hear how you can help them become more efficient in caring for their animals. There are several ways you can gather this useful material during producer meetings.
Some dealers like to have small group meetings or gather people of similar backgrounds for coffee, a meal and individual conversations. This is an excellent way to find out about the concerns about a specific industry. Perhaps you are in a predominant cow-calf area but have handful of sheep or goat producers. Why not get them together to share insight on their industry. Maybe there are specie-specific concerns about health, nutrition, reproduction or hoof care. Hearing those concerns, from firsthand producers is the best way to determine how you can best assist them during the next year.
If you don’t think you have the time or will gather enough producers for a small setting, set aside an amount of time at your next producer meeting for some good candid conversation about what your business can do in the future to set your customers up for success. Having this dialogue will help you learn more about what your business needs to do, and you can write some of those steps into you next strategic plan. It also gives other producers in the room a support system, so they know they aren’t alone in their endeavors. Anything you hear, big or small, should be written down so you can follow up. If you are unsure of something you heard, contact the producer and make sure you follow up on anything you want to add to your strategic plan.
Perhaps you are not planning a producer meeting. You can still use a conversation to discover what is weighing on your customer. Here are a few sample questions to get your conversation started.
1. What is your number one production/management concern this year?
2. When do you feel you need the most help saving money on nutrition for your herd/livestock/animals?
3. Who determines the management plans and budgets in your operation? (Good to know if you are dealing with a multi-generation operation.)
4. What if I can show you how an investment in nutrition will help your bottom line?
Producer Meetings with a Twist
One way you might consider helping your beef producers realize more value in their calves is to make sure they are BQA certified. A recent study at Colorado State University shows “significant premiums are paid on calves and feeder cattle going through video auctions when Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) is mentioned in the lot description. CSU researchers found an average premium of $16.80 per head was paid when BQA was listed.”
In late August, Wilde Angus Ranch, Shevlin, Minn., hosted a producer meeting, in cooperation with the Minnesota Cattlemen’s Association, where attendees would be able to receive their BQA training. As of Aug. 6, 145 producers had already pre-registered. This is a great way to help producers stay educated on industry topics, which could lead them to premiums on their calves, all while sharing the BioZyme message with them.
Stay strategic. Use producer meetings as a two-way communications tool to help you plan your business and marketing strategy so you can help your customers succeed.