We are all familiar with the saying, “It’s not WHAT you know, but WHO you know that counts!” when you’re looking for a job.  However, when you’re in the business of selling cattle, it isn’t who you know but who knows YOUR COWS that will get the job done!

If you don’t intend to sell dairy genetics, stop reading now.  However, if selling is in your future, this article is for you.

Selling breeding stock in 2013 is a rapidly changing market which means that old marketing strategies like waiting for someone to beat a path to your door just doesn’t cut it anymore.  I know the argument, “But I’ve got the best (fill in the blank with cows, bulls, calves, embryos or genetics.) They sell themselves.” To start with, all the great genetics in the world won’t have you making deposits in the bank, unless the right people (aka the buyers) know what you have to offer.

Grab Customers by the Horns and Fire Up Your Brand

You could be the best dairy cattle breeder the world has ever seen, however, if no one knows you exist you might as well be doing something else.  Branding is about letting the world know that you are here and that you are selling exactly what they need. Just like a brand burns into cowhide, you want to make a memorable impression on the marketplace.  When they’re looking for embryos, heifers, cows and bulls, you want your Herd Prefix to spring immediately to their minds. Long before you offer a product for sale, make sure you know what the market is looking for.

Don’t Just Shoot the Bull. Get Them Talking About Your Cows!

Every time you shake a hand, you market your brand.  Think of all the people you interact with daily. Share your passion so that when people talk about you they become walking, talking advertisements for what you’re selling. What other farmers say about dairy breeders is becoming the most important input in cattle genetics buying decisions. Statistics say that more than two-thirds of buyers seek review or recommendations from others.  And we’ve all been put off a product or service by a lone bad review. Make sure that everybody has heard great things about your herd. Revenue starts with your reputation and the reputation of your cow families.

You Must Have a Tale – not just a Tail – to Sell

Even if you don’t believe what you offer is truly spectacular – and it’s important to be honest with yourself about that – there are still many ways to differentiate yourself from others.  Every breeder is not starting from the top 10% and there are many improvements to be made along the way. Make sure you know what your genetic “improvers” are. Educate the audience so they know the story of your success breeding strategy and how it can work for them.  Of course, your usual farm charm and gregariousness will help too. Buyers love to be part of a success story.  Share your good news! Follow up with buyers.  Encourage their success and share it online, on your website and over the farm fence.

Establish Your Cow-Know-How

Once you have captured the interest of your audience, you must then establish your cow sense.  People do business with those they trust.  Deliver what you promise.  That is your brand.

But some will say, “I’m not a company. I’m just a one-person-show.  There is no one else to help me market my genetics.” That’s one of the biggest branding myths out there! Everyone you know is on your “marketing team” and can help spread the word! The truth is everyone already has perceptions, thoughts and feelings about you and your herd. This is why it’s so critical to take charge of your brand definition.  Leaving it to chance is no way to build a genetics business. After all great herds didn’t get to be great by accident.

You Can’t Sell All By Keeping Secrets

So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.  If you want people to buy genetics from you, they have got to know what’s in it for them.  What can they expect to improve in their own herd, if they buy something from yours?  This means you have to be as open about problems as you are with successes.  It is never as simple as the single sale.  That customer who leaves your farm– glad or sad – is going to have an impact on your future sales too! You have heard the saying, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold?” Well these “old friends” are your existing customers.  Just how golden are they?  Studies show that it costs six to nine times as much to attract a new sale as it costs to keep a current customer happy.  Responsiveness is the name of the game today.

Talk Back

There will undoubtedly be times when you face a less than perfect situation.  There are many things that can change both before and after money changes hands.  The only mistake is trying to “shout down” or “freeze out” any unpleasant discussion.  Learn from big business examples.  BP failed to engage with the debate after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010.  Their big budget advertising retaliation only served to alienate people and further damage the company’s reputation. In the real world and with dairy genetics in particular, caring trumps bullying every time.  The ability to engage with customers one-on-one particularly after purchase is vital to success and key to customer loyalty.  Focus on making sales transactions, easy, convenient and delivery of real benefits.

Market Dissemination. 10 Ways to Achieve Sales Success.

The test of your marketing success will be the number of customers who know to come to you for what they need. Your goal is to have your Prefix seemingly appear everywhere.  Seize every opportunity to make sure customers have heard about your Prefix from several different validating sources

  1. Make it easy for customers to find you and your cattle genetics information.
  2. Use all media: Internet, television, radio, farm signage. Start small. Keep growing.
  3. Subscribe to industry e-newsletters and blogs, follow Twitter, “like” or comment on dairy articles on Facebook, share YouTube videos. Your “brand” will come naturally.
  4. Invest in a good website.  Unfortunately a bad one will work against you.  Highlight what makes your genetics unique.
  5. Make it easy for customers to find you, find your farm and find your genetics.
  6. Learn how to work with potential clients to help them meet their goals.
  7. Always provide full disclosure, in writing, of cows available for sale, their performance and what you see as their strengths and weaknesses. Trust travels fast.
  8. Make sure information is always up-to-date and that you are always ready to work with customers to meet their needs.
  9. Don’t hesitate to send customers to another seller if you don’t have what they’re looking for. .  Your openness will be appreciated and the favor could come back in the future, from this same potential customer or even from your competitor.
  10. Keep up the connection. Don`t miss future sales because of poor follow-up.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

If you can engage customers and enhance their good experiences with cattle breeding, you will undoubtedly build long-term dairy breeding sustainability and value! At the end of the day the it`s not YOU but YOUR CATTLE that will do the talking!

 

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