Agricultural retailers are in a unique position. Their primary focus is to serve as a partner for growers to help them increase their profitability, but the retailer also needs to keep part of their focus on their own profitability, so they can successfully manage their business too.
The ultimate goal for retailers is to provide recommendations, products and services that directly translate into value for their growers. With tough commodity prices, this goal can often be more difficult, as the retailers need to understand the grower’s individual goals and help them make decisions to reach these goals.
To be successful during difficult economic times, retailers are often called upon to help their customers stay informed on the different product solutions that will help them succeed, but also help them prioritize on which solutions are the most productive and cost-effective.
Relationships between the retailer and grower will deepen if the retailer:
- Understands the grower’s individual situation
- Helps the grower work through their individual scenario, with the end goal of helping them make a profit, or at minimum break even, on their farming operation
- Keeps the growers informed on prices changes or other information that can help them reach their individual yield and profitability goals
- Provides good customer service and delivers timely responses
- Supplies the grower with quality product recommendations
Beyond the everyday customer service tips for retailers, at the end of the day the grower-retailer relationship is not a one-way street. Ag retailers survive on repeat business and being the go-to retail partner for their growers.
One way to accomplish this is by continuing to learn about new products and technologies so the retailer can act as a trusted advisor to their growers and help them understand what products to use and why these products are important to help them increase yield and profitability. Growers want progressive, future-focused retailers to help them understand new products, services and opportunities that may benefit their overall farming operations.
Although retailers provide growers with product and service recommendations that have a cost associated with them, when retailers effectively provide counsel on the “best” solutions (e.g. products, services, and management practices) this advice can be priceless for the grower. This value is what make the retailer invaluable to the grower and provides a competitive advantage.
In this clip from our LIFT Summit, Dean Hendrickson with West Central Distribution, shares advice on how ag retailers can best work with growers to develop a mutually beneficial, long-lasting relationship.
Selling is an ongoing evolution. Sometimes growers are more profitable and [at those times] it’s a bit easier. [It can be] a bit more challenging with tougher commodity times.
I think at the end of the day you [need} to have a trusted advisor role. That’s [becoming] more challenging because growers are becoming larger and more selective on whom they want to work with. But having said that, earning that role is an integral part to being successful long-term — Providing the best solution and talking about ROI.
I think we all can strive for more salesmanship, more proactiveness, getting out there on the farm on a multiple-call basis. [In addition, by] truly bringing new information and things that will enhance grower’s profitability, [we can provide them more value.]
So [although these ideas are] not really too new in nature, they are good fundamentals and things we all can learn from. [We also know] it’s more important today than ever before.