Just Keep Talking

The decline in corn prices has been causing farmers stress for a while. And now we’re getting to the point where the rest of the world is figuring it out. It was the lead story in the business section of the Omaha World Herald this past Sunday.

If you read through that, you get a good idea of where producers are, from many angles. But where does that put you if you’re the company that markets to farmers? THEY are your customer and they’re stressed. And I’ll bet that’s stressing you out as well. And if we’re all sitting around wringing our hands, then nobody is feeling better.

Certainly the price drop is making farmers more cautious with their spending. The business of farming is cyclical and that’s just what they do. It’s what any good business person does in those circumstances. So now, what do you do while the farmer is being more cautious?

Just keep talking.

When a farmer is doing well financially, when corn prices are good, they have a lot of company on the farm. When prices go south, cue the cricket sound. Where are all of those people who wanted to talk to me before? Now how do you think that makes them feel? This avoidance tactic isn’t good business. They’re stressed. They want to talk. Talking relieves their stress. I ran across this TED talk that dissects stress and its responses, and there’s an interesting element about the importance of human connection in times of stress. Health psychologist Kelly McGonigal, who gives the talk, calls it the “biology of courage” and shares how connecting in times of stress physically helps the stressed person.

This TED talk video clip is 14 minutes long, but well worth your time, from a business and a health standpoint.

Here’s the lesson we can learn from this. Being there when it’s not rosy will create a connection between you and the farmer, between your business and that farmer’s business. So don’t hide. Learn about them. LISTEN. Understand their business better. Help them if there’s a way to do that. But the bottom line is to be there, to listen and to create connection. And when corn prices turn, you’ll be in the driver’s seat.

And if you’d like to talk, hey, I’m here for you. Just drop me a note at info@beckag.com and we can schedule a time to connect.

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