Cattle Today

Cattle Today



by: John Crouch
Executive Vice President, American Angus Association

Turn selling into marketing

My last column focused on value and what constitutes and contributes to value in the Angus and beef industries. We considered some of the progressive programs adopted by your Boards of Directors in years past that have created value in Angus cattle. For a moment, let's consider what we do as Angus breeders to create value in the registered seedstock we sell.

Changing perspectives

In a recent meeting of our staff, we were treated to a keynote address by accomplished scribe and cattle breeder Troy Marshall of The Seedstock Digest. Troy talked about change in our industry. He alluded to the concepts of moving toward cooperation instead of competition, interaction in lieu of independence, and marketing rather than selling.

It has been said that seedstock producers do an excellent job of producing outstanding cattle, but they fall short when it comes to marketing. And I have often wondered why that is.

When we consider the tools at hand, there are many things seedstock producers can do to transform selling into marketing.

I was once told a story about a young man who tried his hand at many jobs before landing a position as a car salesman for a major automobile dealer. He fell into the swing of things for the first few weeks, waiting for customers to come into the dealership. During slack time he busied himself making notes and studying brochures, much to the dismay of the other salespeople, who occupied their time kicking tires and telling stories during their down time.

Long story short: After a few years, the young man was the most successful salesman in the company. When queried as to his success after an awards ceremony, his secret came out. Upon meeting a prospective customer, he would inquire about the customer's job, his family and the desired function of the automobile, whether it be for his occupation, family use or both. He then spent time offering different alternatives related to price and function.

After completing the sale, he recorded the information in an electronic filing system. On a regular basis, he telephoned his customers to make sure they were satisfied, and, if not, to ensure proper corrective action was taken. This attention to detail resulted in more business than he could handle, as customers were asking for him personally.

This is an excellent example of transforming selling into marketing. The salesman simply created value for his services.

Customer service

Registered Angus breeders can create and add tremendous value to the cattle they sell by including a few marketing services. With just a little effort, one can find out what the customer needs in relation to his cow herd and his marketing system, make a few notes in an orderly fashion, and prepare a file on each customer. As a follow-up, nothing is more appreciated than a courtesy call to determine satisfaction. If the customer is dissatisfied, try your best to make him happy.

We can make our commercial customers aware of AngusSource,® an Association-sponsored USDA Process Verified Program that documents age, source and genetics. AngusSource is proving to be an excellent aid in marketing commercial calves sired by registered Angus bulls. What's more, the AngusSource tag qualifies cattle to be considered for the Certified Angus Beef® (CAB®) program.

We all have tools at our disposal for creating and adding value to the registered animals we produce — we just need to use them.


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