[how to] Make More Money from Your Bull Sale
Filling the ag publications, cramming your mailbox, taking over the online feeds – everywhere you look this time of year, there’s bull sale propaganda.
If yours is in the fray, you’ve probably laid awake after checking cows in the middle of the night, wondering how you can compete with the thousands of other bulls that are going to go through the ring this spring? Like so many others, you feel the crunch of ever-increasing input costs weighed against the finite number of dollars that are available in the bull market.
More than ever, there is tremendous opportunity in agriculture. It’s always said that this is a people business, and with today’s technology you can leverage that like never before.
Here are five simple steps that will ensure your genetics look their best, and your program stands out to potential customers:
- No. 1 is always CUSTOMER SERVICE. People buy from people they like, people they trust, people whom they feel have their best interests top of mind. Take the time to connect with your customers through out the year, rather than just in the week leading up to your sale. Call them during calving to see how it’s going, check in and find out how their calves sold, send a card when they celebrate a milestone – show you care about them and their success. It doesn’t take but an hour a year, just 60 of 525,600 minutes for each one, and you will absolutely see the results.
- STRATEGIC ADVERTISING has replaced mass media. Ineffective advertising is a costly mistake that you can’t afford anymore. What does that mean? Well, if you are running a $1,000 print ad placement and getting less than 10% response, you’re wasting money. Thousands of ads are placed every year in this industry without the advertiser even knowing the publication’s circulation and demographics, and lots of those ads are just money down the drain. A well-defined target audience, in-depth multi media research, and a professionally developed campaign that covers all your bases will ensure you get the most bang for your budget.
- GREAT PHOTOS are an absolute necessity. You put a lot of expense and effort into developing your genetics, managing them well and feeding them right. Take the time to get the bulls ready, set up a picture pen with consistent background and plenty of straw that faces the right direction for good light, and have a crew in place that can help the photographer with moving the bulls and getting their attention. Photos that represent the cattle in their best light don’t cost money, they make money.
- Put out a STAND-OUT CATALOGUE. When a stack of sale books in the mailbox adds to a bigger stack on the coffee table, there is a real risk of getting lost in the mix. It’s easy to look at the catalogue as your biggest expense and try to shave down the bill to save money, but it’s also the most important marketing tool in your sale arsenal. With printing industry advances, the cost of doing a colour catalogue is less than that of a full-page ad in most publications, and it will likely have more impact. Speaking from experience, most designers have a few tricks up their sleeve that they would love to put to good use if you are willing to invest in creating a piece that will have worn, well-marked pages by sale day.
- Speaking of, your SALE DAY ATMOSPHERE will help set the tone for prices. How you present the offering and make buyers feel will go a long way toward determining the perceived value of your program. We’ve all been to a sale that has a paid concession, is in a cold building, and you go through all the pens without so much as a hello from the people putting it on. By the time the sale starts, it doesn’t matter how good the cattle are. Making people welcome, putting together a tidy display with helpful signage, and having staff on hand whom buyers can be confident going to for information on the bulls are small details that make a big difference.
So that’s it: customer service, strategic advertising, great photos, a stand-out catalogue and creating a sale day atmosphere. Here’s to your success, and creating a sale buyers want to invest in! Cheers!