The Best Translator

We’ve been talking about listening lately. Have you given it a shot?

If you have, I think that you’re hearing that those in production ag are concerned about a number of things that challenge the business.

Labor issues are critical. It’s difficult to find good help: people that are vested in a farming operation the way that the owner is. Farmers who lead operations with employees are having to change in order to find solutions to this issue.

Government regulations are popping up all the time, sometimes without rhyme or reason; sometimes a side effect of legislators trying to fix some other issue. Often the burden is left with the farmer or agribusiness.

Profitability is more challenging this year. That’s what we’re all noticing after a few easier years. The game has changed as commodity prices have come back down.

The time crunch is on! Those in agriculture are trying to keep all of the balls in the air, and it’s really easy for things to drop when one of the three previous items strikes from out of the blue. Prioritizing is critical.

These are some of the things that we hear when we spend time listening to those who drive agriculture at the ground level, those closest to the seed and the breed.

As a company serving the producer, what you do with this kind of information, how you translate it for the business is what’s most important to creating the value proposition….to making the connection between the product you market and the most pressing needs of the farmer.

What do you do with this information if it’s not directly related to your product? Use it as a filter for future communications and marketing messages. Use it to connect to the audience, to be where they are. You’ve just learned more about your customer and their hot buttons, and now you’re ready to help. You’re ready to become more relevant. It’s all about being the best translator.

So often we tick off a list of product features, and leave it to the prospect to draw the lines between their needs and our product. And often, they don’t. They haven’t been living with your product for as long as you have. It’s all new to them. They haven’t thought through it.

Let’s say you’re marketing a bovine respiratory product that protects cattle from lung damage. You talk about lung damage. The prospect hears lung damage. Their number one issue that they just told you is labor, not lung damage. But there’s a line between labor and lung damage. They need more pen riders to take care of sick cattle. The more sick cattle they have, the more times someone has to ride through the lot. If the cattle weren’t as sick, the prospect could move in the direction of solving the labor problem – not by hiring more people, but by needing fewer people.

In whatever business you operate, think about how your product impacts farm labor. Can you draw a line between your product and labor? Do it. After you’ve listened, after you know the issues, take them one step further – and draw that connection. Be the best translator.

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