March 2019 – Letters from Lisa

Collaboration is a hot buzzword in the business world. And with good reason. Working with people who have different perspectives or areas of expertise can result in better ideas and outcomes.

We often think of collaboration as this big thing that the whole organization has to improve, but collaboration is something that happens on a smaller scale. Collaboration is about two or more people working together on shared processes to achieve a common goal. If people are working together, but have no common goals, they are cooperating, not collaborating. Cooperation is usually much more lightweight than collaboration and often has less focused goals. Cooperation is certainly not a bad thing, but collaboration just gets us one step closer to being WOWing.

So how does one achieve collaboration?

Ensure a Clear Goal Exists
To begin collaborating on something, you need a shared understanding of what you are trying to do. Without a clear and common goal, it’s difficult to do anything as a team. The goal can be as simple as a statement everyone agrees on. I like to use a hypothesis to state the clear goal. A hypothesis is a proposed explanation made as a starting point for further investigation. I have found that doing this reduces team defensiveness.

Encourage Real Relationships
Team members will work together better when they have real, genuine relationships with one another. Of course, you can’t force that to happen—rather, you have to facilitate the building of relationships organically. It’s easier to build relationships when people work face-to-face and when people can relate to and empathize with one another.

Encourage Open-Mindedness
Individuals will likely be paired with others who have different perspectives and experiences at some point during the collaboration. All team members will need to come to know and understand one another in order to create a sense of security within the group. Openmindedness leads to a safer and more comfortable collaborative environment. Sometimes at BioZyme® I will title meetings as the _______ Party. Just using the word “party” changes how people come to the table. If you use this approach, you must take the theme to the decorations and have food, but it seems to help with open-mindedness.

Spread the Tasks
You don’t want the same people calling all of the shots all of the time. When this happens, individuals start to feel powerless, as if they have no influence or impact on the team. That causes passion to leave the team. You want to spread important tasks across a wide range of people. This actually has a dual-positive effect—not only does everyone feel valued and that they have an important role to play within the company, but you also keep individuals from feeling overloaded and overwhelmed.

Track and Share Results
The results of every collaborative effort should be tracked and then shared with the team. If you don’t share the results of your collaborative efforts, you not only rob your organization of valuable information, you minimize the impact of the collaboration itself.

In the end, collaboration happens when teams work together to generate an end result (product, change, policy, etc.) that’s greater than the sum of each individual’s contributions. Collaboration needs seamless, continuous communication and a commitment that ensures teams have everything they need to collaborate with ease.

Charles Darwin credited collaboration with mankind’s success: “In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” It’s tough to argue with Darwin. So, I won’t. In fact, as it relates to business, I agree that collaboration is essential. As a matter of fact, I believe collaboration is not just a business buzzword, it’s what drives successful WOWing businesses.

Dealer Spotlight: LaJunta Mill

Simple Actions Grow Dealership

Some people learn about the Amaferm® advantage from feeding one of the many supplements BioZyme® offers. Others read educational material, visit the website and/or ask questions of the Area Sales Managers. And yet, a select group run their own trials so they can experience and witness the benefits first-hand. That’s the case for Cody Stoker, who co-manages LaJunta Mill, LaJunta, Colo., with his brother.

About 10 years ago, LaJunta Mill received a request for a custom show ration with Amaferm added to it, according to Stoker. Unfamiliar with Amaferm, he started doing some research, comparing it to other additives from other companies he had used in the past. Once he saw the results, he was hooked, and has been mixing Amaferm into all his ruminant feeds as well as some horse feeds.

“You see those animals really get a healthier look, and you know if they look healthy on the outside, they are healthy on the inside. I have also seen a reduction in feed intake, especially dry matter intake,” he said.

Stoker has been feeding a custom mineral tub he developed for the Mill with Amaferm included in it for about the past five years. He uses the tub while feeding free-choice cane hay to mature cows. He said he sees a reduction in forage consumption while those cows maintain their body condition score, therefore he knows his cows are getting the maximum nutritional benefits from the Amaferm.

Stoker uses computer software to assist him when it comes to formulating the Mill’s custom mixes and its own brand of feeds. He has been around livestock his entire life and understands the importance of a precision-based prebiotic like Amaferm that aids in intake, digestibility and absorption.

In addition to feed, custom mixes, tubs and show rations, the Mill also includes Amaferm in some of its range cubes. He has one producer who feeds the range cubes to his cows and has seen tremendous response to his cows’ nutrition at calving time.

The biggest challenge Stoker has with suggesting Amaferm as an additive in a custom-mixed feed is the price tag producers see for the bulk order.

“They shy away due to the overall cost when they see a product with Amaferm in it. But if they would do the math and break it down, they would see it’s only costing them about two cents per head, per day,” he said.

A simple suggestion by a customer led one leader at LaJunta Mill to dig deeper. With a little research, some trial and error, Stoker discovered the benefits of Amaferm on his own animals and knew this was a secret he needed to share. Progressive dealers like LaJunta Mill care about their customers and their customers’ animals and that is why they choose Amaferm as a trusted additive for their products.

Master Dealer Training Program Empowers all Employees

Professional development is a great way to empower your employees to grow in their skills and knowledge. Most licensed professionals from teachers to attorneys to medical personnel require continuing education hours on a regular basis. At BioZyme® , we’ve provided you and your staff with the tools needed to stay current on product information and knowledge as well as sales and customer service skills through the Master Dealer Training Program.

The Master Dealer Training Program was introduced at the 2017 Dealer Retreat as a way to increase knowledge and productivity within a dealership. It provides online training tools to all employees to learn more about all product lines, so they are armed with the information they need to talk to potential customers. In 2018, an advanced level of the Master Dealer Program was available to those who had completed Year 1. The second tier provides product updates and also focuses on marketing and selling techniques.

“In the beginning, the Master Dealer Training was just taken by one person per dealership, but we’ve made it so multiple people per dealership can participate,” said Trent Gabler, BioZyme® Inc. Sales Coach. “The end-users really see those counter people as experts, so I emphasize that everyone in a dealership who works with customers complete the Master Dealer Training, so they know the product features and benefits.”

Because it is important to the company that all employees understand the products and their benefits when they are talking to customers and potential customers, every individual who successfully completes the training is rewarded. Once a dealership completes the first year of training, that dealership receives Master Dealer designation on the online dealer locator (the most visited page on the website) as well as special store signage indicating they are Master Dealers. Individual employees receive a special Master Dealer jacket from BioZyme. Once a year has passed, the dealership is eligible for the second level of training that focuses more on marketing and selling techniques. Rewards are also sent after the second phase is successfully passed.

The training program is available online through the Online Dealer Center. A series of training modules allow employees to watch a short video presentation and then take a quiz about what they have just learned. If you do have multiple employees that want to complete the training, you should contact your Area Sales Manager or the Outreach Support Center at (816) 344-5769 to secure multiple login credentials.

Knowledge is power. In a world where customers have many options, make sure to empower your staff with information they need to be effective in product promotion and sales. Take charge and take part in the Master Dealer Training Program. It’s just one of many tools BioZyme offers its dealers to help them reach success in their business.

How to Empower your Sales Staff to Ask for the Sale

Developing relationships and providing top-notch customer service are two of the keys to a successful business. However, if you want your business to generate profit, you need to grow your sales. Perhaps one of the most challenging things about business, once you’ve developed those relationships is making the actual sale.

“A lot of good conversations take place when we build relationships, but did we flat out ask for the sale? Even the most experienced sales staff feel comfortable talking about products and having rapport, but they are scared of being told ‘no,’ so they might avoid the ask,” said Trent Gabler, BioZyme® Inc. Sales Coach and former ASM.

The fear of rejection is a natural reaction; however, until the question is asked, the answer is always ‘no,’ and when you do get a positive yes, it makes you and your business’ bottom line and outlook a little brighter.

Gabler offers three methods to empower your staff to feel more comfortable in closing the sale.

1. Summary close. Once you have discussed a particular product’s benefits or the Amaferm® advantage, have one or two summary statements and then simply ask when the customer would like to try the product or place an order. You could summarize with the three main selling points of improving intake, digestibility and absorption each time. Just keep your closing statement simple with an impact. For example, you might say, “Concept•Aid offers the benefits of increased reproductive success. When would you like to give it a try?”

“I think the summary close is the best. It highlights the benefits and reconfirms why the producer should invest in your product. How can a producer afford not to use it? Then, suggest how and when to order,” Gabler said.

2. Now-or-Never. One way you can ask for the sale without really applying sales pressure is during a promotion or sale. If you are a dealer that offers a good deal during or directly after a producer meeting or during a particular season of the year, this is a particularly effective pitch, according to Gabler. People like to save money, so if they know they have to buy “now” or they will “never” save money, they are more likely to buy on the spot. With the now-or-never approach, you might say, “This promotion ends tomorrow. If you don’t place your order now, you will miss out on this incredible savings.”

3. Direct Ask. If you aren’t afraid of hearing no or maybe, then try asking directly, “Would you like to place your order today?” If you don’t ask immediately after your conversation, and your potential customer says they need a little time to think, make sure you follow up with him or her within two to three days of your original discussion. That allows enough time for the person to think about the products and do any research they might want to do, and yet keeps you and the products fresh in their minds. Never assume they will get back to you; that is why it is imperative that you reach back out to them.

Training your employees to have product knowledge, customer service skills and build relationships are all important. Those skills will lead to empower them to make the ask and close the sale. Making sales and hearing “yes” will further empower and elevate your employees’ self-esteem. Make the ask, make the sale and watch your business grow!

Grow Your Business by Engaging and Empowering Your Staff

Good help is hard to find. But once you’ve found a good and loyal employee or several of them, you want to make sure they stay with your company. Turnover and hiring are costly in both money and time, and let’s face it, if you’ve found someone that meshes with your company values, mission and culture, isn’t it worth it to keep them as part of your team?

In a recent Inc.com 1 article, author Maria Matarelli suggests the best way to empower and grow your business is to empower and engage your employees. She quotes,

“According to a Gallup poll, only 37% of employees who feel they are engaged in their job would leave for a raise of 20% or less. That’s a big indicator of just how important engagement and empowerment are. Employees are willing to turn down more money if it means less empowerment.”

Employees need to feel like they are being treated as an unique individual, not just a robot following a set of rigid rules to accomplish a task. Yes, policies and guidelines are imperative to workplace productivity and safety, but happy employees are the key to a job well-done.

Matarelli reminds readers, “A machine can’t surprise you. A machine can’t be creative. A machine can’t innovate or contribute to the culture of your workplace.” Once you have hired someone provide them with the company vision and let them work. You might just be surprised at the type of contribution they make to improve a process, create a new product or provide other valuable input to help your company.

Follow these three simple steps to empower your employees and watch them succeed and help your company succeed simultaneously.

1. Listen. This might seem simple; however, often times employees have great ideas but have no one to share them with. People want to know that they have a voice and their opinion matters. As their supervisor, you don’t have to say yes, but you might just hear the next great idea for your company to soar.

2. Provide Safety. People like to feel a sense of security in the workplace. This can shape up in different ways. First, your employees will want to know they do have job security. No one works to their potential when rumors of firing or downsizing are circulating. If your company is experiencing hard times, be open with your team so they know what to expect. The second way you can make your employees feel safe, is by letting them voice their opinions, ideas, or thoughts on what works well and what could be improved on.

“The problem with leadership roles is that leaders are rarely the ones who interact directly with the customers. It’s important to hear from your employees that do, because they have valuable insight to offer. But they won’t share their thoughts if they don’t feel safe doing it,” Matarelli writes.

3. Mistakes Happen. Nobody likes to make mistakes. But, if you turn a mistake into a learning opportunity, it might be one of the best things to help boost your company’s growth. Being in the animal nutrition business, we conduct research trials with our products continuously. During those trials and experiments, we know that there will be mistakes, and that is often when we can learn both what doesn’t and what does work. Amaferm® , the product featured this month, might not even exist if Mr. Kistner hadn’t observed the growth effects of his livestock when he threw out some bad experiments and noticed how much more efficient his animals became. Allow your employees to try new ideas and let them feel safe with the idea that they might make a mistake.

Empowering your employees is a great way to help your company grow. Happy, engaged workers who feel a true connection to the business will flourish, work harder and smarter and help your business achieve its goals. Customers don’t want to do business with a robot, so make sure that you treat your employees like people, and keep them a part of your team.

– Source: https://www.inc.com/maria-matarelli/so-you-want-higher-performance-in-yourbusiness-empower-your-people.html?cid=search

February 2019 – Letters from Lisa

Multiplication of effort has the power to allow you to achieve extraordinary, profitable growth through a structure that allows for a balanced life; however, you choose to define balanced. Empowered, energized people result in multiplication of effort that GROWS business.

If you want your employees to be defined this way, you must invite them to be more than just an order-taking drone by cultivating a culture of energized employee empowerment.

Every employee you have will eventually arrive at an intersection, if they haven’t already. At that point, you hope they turn the right way and buy-in to the vision and values of the company. Turning the right direction means that they see a future for themselves within the organization, so they’ll invest themselves fully and go all-in.

In the book “All In,” leading workplace experts teamed up with research giant Towers Watson to analyze an unprecedented 300,000 people, and they made a groundbreaking finding: managers of the highest-performing work groups create a “culture of belief.” In these distinctive workplaces, people believe in their leaders and in the company’s vision, values and goals. Employees are not only engaged but also enabled and energized (termed the three Es), which leads to astonishing results—average annual revenues three times higher than for organizations lacking such a positive culture.

What does it take to accomplish a culture of “All In”? Ask yourself these questions. (Please note that those in bold are my weaknesses and what I am constantly working on trying to improve. I figure putting them in bold can be kind of like making my New Year resolutions public enough that I do them).

1. Do you really care? Beyond praise and financial worth, can you really say you care for the well-being of others? Selfishness has no place in empowerment. The more you care, the greater the results you can generate.

2. Do you listen? When you stop and truly listen to those that you interact with, do you provide others with a sense that you are all in? Being all in really matters when it comes to having others follow your lead, so you better be listening to any constructive criticism you receive.

3. Do you freely admit your mistakes? Great leaders recognize that they don’t always make the best or right choices, and they don’t blame others for those choices. Instead, a true leader finds the error, fixes it and moves on.

4. Are you open and adaptable to change? Leaders must be constantly open to new ideas and cultivate this throughout the team. Now more than ever before, you simply cannot stay with the status quo and expect others to be on that band wagon with you.

5. Can you laugh? If not, why do we want to hang around with you?
Being open to having fun is by far one of the most enjoyable feelings, especially in the workplace. After all, most people spend the vast majority of their lives working, shouldn’t they enjoy it?

6. Are you making decisions? Only decisive people succeed, the indecisive ones never do. As a leader try to focus on making crucial decisions and delegate the trivial ones.

7. Are you cultivating a way for new ideas to be easily brought forward? Every business revenue generator or cost saver starts with an idea. I have learned that those really doing the work on a daily basis always have ideas, usually good ones, but they are not given safe, easy ways to share them.

Now that you have yourself on the right track you need to ensure your leadership determines the direction your team chooses as far as being all in. Here are four ways to encourage your team to be all in and help grow the future of the organization:

1. Hold Them Accountable. Remember that employer trust and employee autonomy is a two-way street. Holding employees accountable for their work and for meeting established goals and deadlines motivates them to achieve better results. Don’t let them off the hook. Demand their best effort.

2. Provide Constructive Feedback. Regardless of the results, let them know how they’re doing, and give them the coaching they need to improve. Although they might not always ask for it, they want and need your feedback to further develop their knowledge and skills. At BioZyme ® we recently replaced Performance Reviews with Progress Reviews. Progress Reviews should be done when opportunities for personal development occur, not every December.

3. Acknowledge Them on the Spot for Stepping Up. A few seconds of genuine one-on-one acknowledgement and recognition can go a long way toward reinforcing an employee’s willingness to step up and stand tall. Show you appreciate their above-and-beyond commitment with a reward that matches the result. Often times, the best reward is additional trust and an added level of responsibility.

4. Have Confidence and Trust in Them. Confidence has the power to generate passion which provides for opportunity that would otherwise seem impossible. Trust is an absolute prerequisite of efficiency. Therefore, confidence and trust are natural leverages for successful growth.

I usually try to close in a motivational positive way, but I thought these facts were pretty motivational despite not being all that positive. According to a survey of 23,000 employees conducted by Harris Interactive, only 37 percent of employees understand what their employer is trying to achieve. Pretty hard to be “all in” when you don’t even know what “in” is.

To dramatize the seriousness of this, Stephen Covey translated this sad reality into a soccer analogy. He wrote that if the typical organization were a soccer team, only four (4) out of the 11 players would know which goal to shoot towards. Imagine trying to compete — especially in an ultra-competitive arena — with the majority of your team not even knowing what end of the field they are supposed to be heading toward. This of course would result in ZERO multiplication of effort as most of the multipliers are headed in the wrong direction. David Zinger says it best when he states, “Create caring and robust connections between every employee and their work, customers, leaders, managers, and the organization to achieve results that matter to everyone in this sentence.”

Dealer Spotlight: Next Generation Genetics

Simple Actions Grow Dealership

BioZyme® dealers Tod and Sondra Brancel, Next Generation Genetics at Endeavor, Wis., wear many hats. They work together to manage and operate a registered cow herd, both work off-farm jobs and are raising two children involved in activities. Despite their busy schedule, they have experienced significant growth in their BioZyme business and their action rewards points in their second year as dealers. Sondra says their success stems from following the golden rule.

“We try to treat people the way we’d want to be treated if we were the buyer. Be good to all people,” she said. “We aren’t high-pressure sales people. But we’ve used the product, and the product has allowed for us to be not high-pressure sales people because it sells itself.”

The Brancels first started using VitaFerm® products after conducting their own research and trying the products on their cows that were experiencing lowered conception rates, likely due to high iron in the water source. Once they started using Concept•Aid® and saw the results, they became dealers. Word of mouth and their peers knowing they use the product have been good marketing tools.

“Sometimes I feel like we don’t do enough because our lives are so busy, and we are going in so many directions, but I think we just try to keep things simple and let people know about the products we have. The fact that we use what we’re selling, and we first believed in the product before we decided to become a dealer, that holds value for people.”

Sondra also emphasizes that keeping a small, realistic inventory is key to keeping happy customers, while making economic sense to her and Tod. They don’t keep an extensive inventory but do know what their customers need and try to have it because she knows not everyone plans ahead.

“We are willing to have products a customer uses on hand, even if we don’t use them ourselves. I try to circle back with regular customers to make sure their needs haven’t changed before I place an order,” she said.

Involvement with industry organizations and communication with BioZyme staff are also important steps that Tod and Sondra take. Sondra has helped ASM Kevin Arand staff the booth at the Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Meeting. Tod and Sondra are also active in the Wisconsin Hereford Association and have hosted a tour stop at their farm, allowing other cattle producers to learn more about the VitaFerm products.

“The Wisconsin Cattlemen’s is a small enough trade show space that we get noticed, have an attractive booth, and other producers like to see me there as a producer who actually uses the products and carries the product. We don’t run down a competitor, but rather show them the data and research behind the products. The product they are using might be just fine for them, but our product might go above and beyond for them if they give it some time. You can’t buy six bags of mineral and expect to see a change overnight,” she said about working the trade show.

In addition to industry involvement and peer interaction, Tod takes his training as a veterinarian and embryologist to help others understand how good nutrition ties back to reproductive health. He is able to create partnerships based on his practical knowledge of using the products and his academic training to explain how and why the products work. He also works closely with Kevin to help customers test feed samples to make sure the customers are getting the right supplements for their animals.

Simple human interactions along with knowledge and tools are what have helped Next Generation Genetics grow their business. Sondra offers four final pieces of advice to any new dealers or those looking to grow:

1. Set goals on what you want to achieve.
2. Be honest and fair with people.
3. Know your product and know why someone would use it.
4. Be knowledgeable; use the tools BioZyme provides so people will turn to you as a trusted source.

“If you are confident in the advice you’ve given your customers, use the sales tools and product information that you’re provided as dealers, and treat others the way you want to be treated, you should experience growth,” Sondra said.

Why Growth Depends on Todays Actions

Dictionary.com defines “take action” as “start doing something.” For your business to succeed today, tomorrow and in the future, you must take action now. That seems pretty simple; however, as a business owner, manager and employee, you need to take initiative and know which action to take.

According to the best-selling author and Inc.com columnist Jeff Haden, “motivation comes from taking action and finding success, not the other way around. So, if you need motivation, then you are not doing it right.”

In business there are so many actions that can be taken, it is often hard to prioritize which step to take first. The key is to be sure to take a step and keep the action moving forward. An Inc.com article¹ outlines three truths to help you prioritize your action steps and keep growing your business.

1. Connect Team Objectives to the Organizational Mission. Your key objectives are the foundation for taking proper action. Make sure they are aligned with your company mission. This helps everyone get on the same page. If the alignment between objectives (goals) and mission is off, nothing will make sense. The more clearly linked the team’s goals are to the group’s mission, the more likely the proper actions will take place.

Every business, regardless of size, needs to have a mission. At BioZyme®, a summary of our mission is to create and produce the highest-quality animal care products that will in turn help our customers achieve greater profit. We don’t accomplish that mission by standing still, but by establishing regular goals that are in-line with our mission. For some teams, those goals might be established and measured monthly, others quarterly and some annually. Whatever your mission is, make sure it is clearly written so every employee has access to it. That way they know if their goals for action are connected.

2. Weed out Non-essential Actions. Although taking action is critical to growth, moving backward does not grow a business. Sometimes we try to do too much, and those actions are not essential to growth. As the article on Inc.com states, “Weeding out mediocre opportunities allows you to spend time with the winners.”

3. Create Authentic Relationships that will Drive you to Take Better Actions. Action in business is about different parties making connections. In today’s world it is easier to make those connections if you are authentic – being your true self – instead of being the person you think somebody else wants you to be. Remember, “taking action is so much easier when everything you do is natural, is real, and is in congruence with who you are. Deciding on the correct action is not hard when you know who you are and do not try to hide it.”

With proper action comes growth. Set your objectives to make sure they align with your mission. Don’t waste time on non-essential actions or people. And, be true to your true self, and the actions will flow much easier.

 

¹ – Article Source: https://www.inc.com/mareo-mccracken/dont-wait-for-motivation-why-your-companys-growth-depends-on-todays-action.html?cid=search

 

6 Steps to Hosting an Effective Producer Meeting

Producer meetings are a great way to share your business story, bring together people of common interests, renew enthusiasm in loyal customers and gain new customers all in one setting. However, effective producer meetings don’t just happen with a phone call or text to your Area Sales Manager (ASM); they require some advanced planning in order to become more than just another social event.

“It’s evolved. The first time I had one as a new dealer, I didn’t even have product on hand and the next day I sold a semi-load of product. Now after some meetings I sell up to eight semi-loads or more within a couple weeks after the meeting,” said Keith Micke, Triangle K Feed at Glendo, Wyo.

Micke hosts two large producer meetings each year, spreading them out over his sales territory. He shared some of his what he’s learned over the years that helps make his meetings successful.

1. Schedule in Advance. It is a good idea to get dates on a calendar as early as you can. That way you can start working with your ASM and the marketing team to get invitations designed and mailed, reserve space at a restaurant or other venue of your choice, and make sure the BioZyme® staff you want to speak are available on your dates.

2. Plan your Invitation List. Micke said he likes to invite a mix of both his regular customers and potential customers to the meetings. He will ask his long-time customers to share their success stories during the meeting, and it is always good to have a well-respected, prominent rancher in attendance, because he said often a new customer will try the products because he or she wants to be like the neighbor.

“That’s really solid. They are getting the information from someone besides a salesman, how the products work and what it’s done for them,” Micke said.

Micke said he will send around 80 invitations each fall for his two meetings, where he usually has around 30-35 people at each one. And since ranching is a family business, he also includes the wives and children, as he knows many young families don’t always have access to a sitter.

3. Focus on a Topic. Although there are a lot of subjects a dealer could cover, Micke said he typically picks one topic to cover at each meeting, and then follows the topic by explaining all the products and highlighting any new products or changes. Narrowed down topic subjects might include how Amaferm works or the importance of protein.

4. Educate with Fresh Faces. Micke likes to include outside experts at each meeting.

“I get a lot of benefit having my sales manager and a nutritionist there. Then they can learn about the research, and the ranchers know there’s more than just a dealer out there. They bring in a fresh face, a different look,” he said.

5. Be Flexible. Micke said he is always up for trying new things. He originally had two fall meetings and two spring meetings each year. Then he discovered that the ranchers were busy calving in the spring, so he quit having those. He has had some smaller dinner meetings with four or five customers with similar interests. And, at his larger producer meetings, he has even seen ranchers eating at the same restaurant who weren’t invited to his meeting. He pulled them into the meeting, bought their dinner and turned them into customers.

6. Follow Up. At the meeting, you will want to keep track of everyone who attends, either by way of a sign-in card or sheet. Make sure you have their phone number, email or address so you can follow up with them. It is said it takes seven touch points to make an impression. You’ve likely already made a few with the invitation and the interaction at the meeting. Be sure to give them a day or two, follow up, answer any questions and see what products they would like to buy from you.

“It’s become a social event for a lot of guys now because they get to see the other ranchers there, and they really enjoy it,” Micke said.

Yes, your producer meeting can be effective AND enjoyable at the same time. Remember a worth-while producer meeting is a way to increase your customer base, show appreciation to your existing customers, and be a great educational forum.

As you make plans for your next effective producer meeting, be sure to reach out to your ASM.

Growth Starts with a Plan

Set your goals. Increase your sales. Grow your business. These are all great thoughts; however, do you have a plan on how to accomplish these tasks? A business without an action plan doesn’t really have a plan at all. And although creating an action plan might seem like just another thing to add to your growing “to do” list, the steps of creating an action plan are a healthy way to gain another perspective of what your company is doing and hopes to accomplish.

According to an online resource, Community Tool Box, there are five reasons a company, business or organization should create an action plan:

1. To lend credibility. An action plan shows members of the community (and your employees, board members) that your business is well ordered and dedicated to getting things done.
2. To be sure you don’t overlook any of the details.
3. To understand what is and isn’t possible for your organization to do.
4. For efficiency: to save time, energy and resources in the long run.
5. For accountability: to increase the chances that people will do what needs to be done.

It is wise to start creating an action plan as soon as your business is formed, but an action plan is an evolving document that will change and grow over time. Remember, once it is created, use it. Don’t just stash it away in a folder, never to be seen again.

Action plans can be grueling to create. They aren’t going to be generated overnight, and they are going to make you think about the priorities in your company. However, once you have the plan created and have shared it with everyone who works for you, your employees should be more efficient, and will spend more time working on the actions rather than doing tasks that don’t lead to growth or success.

Let’s review some key components of an effective action plan.

First, outline the clear goals you plan to accomplish with your action plan. When making a goal, make sure it is “SMART,” specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Next, assign the person, people or team to complete each particular goal. Yes, it might involve others along the way, but these people or teams should be the primary action-takers. Then, list the action steps to be taken to attain that goal and give deadlines for each step.

There is some other key information you will need to consider for your plan. What will you need to do to start your action? What are some obstacles that you might face? How will you overcome those? What resources will you need? Do you need sales coach help? If so, who will you reach out to? And finally, list the milestones you will reach along the way.

It is vital to have a plan to accomplish your goals. An action plan helps you to stay on task, make sure what you are working on is pertinent to the company and lets everyone know who is responsible for given deadlines. You may even find as you are creating an action plan that a goal you had in mind was actually a task to help you accomplish a greater goal, or it wasn’t part of the company’s overlying mission or vision, so there isn’t a need to spend time on it.

As the new year gets started, we challenge you to think about the goals that will drive your success in 2019 and create an action plan to help you get there. We can’t wait to watch your business grow this year!