Talking the Talk, that Walks the Walk
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Talking the Talk, that Walks the Walk

April 10, 2009   |   ShareThis

Which area contributes the most to your bottom line: seed, fertilizer, crop protection or application? If your business is like most, fertilizer sales weigh in at 40 to 60 percent of revenue, followed by crop protection products (between 20 and 30 percent), then seed (maybe 20 percent) and finally custom application (< 5 percent).

Now consider the amount of time your business invests in education and promotion for each of these areas. Is the investment in proportion to revenue? If not, should it be? If 40 to 60 percent of revenue is from fertilizer, how much would this grow if 40 to 60 percent of your employee and customer education effort was spent on fertility and plant nutrition? 

Perhaps it's time to consider the return on investment if the investment is proportionate to percent of revenue. Invest your time where the money is. . . or. . . talk the talk that walks the walk.

Progressive growers want and need to know

Progressive growers may, in fact, be anxious for more knowledge of plant nutrition. The newest crop genetics require greater nutrition to perform at their optimum potential, and with the cost of double- and triple-stacked corn hybrids, growers will insist on squeezing every bushel of yield potential from this investment. 

Higher yielding genetics also mean increasingly higher crop removal rates which will mine soils if not carefully managed. Helping your customers understand the nutritional needs of these new generation hybrids and getting the right nutrition in their fields at the right time has the potential to grow volume and application revenue. It's also essential to grower success with the genetics--particularly if he buys his seed from you. 

Precision farming applications provide the information and technologies to optimize productivity almost on a plant-specific basis. Growers are seeing the results of their early-adopting neighbors and recognize they also must embrace the practices.

There also are new fertilizer products on the market which provide an opportunity for retailers to discuss plant nutrition and grow sales. The MicroEssentials® family of phosphate-based fertilizers is one product being used to grow fertilizer business and secure new customers. Educating growers on plant nutrition is often the primary part of closing the sale.

However, information, technologies and desire are of little benefit without the knowledge to apply the information. This is when growers turn to their trusted retail resource--you. 

Changing the grower-education focus

How do you change your focus? Our customers always tell me they start with the staff. Understanding and buy-in from your agronomy and sales teams is critical for success.

Call on your suppliers 

Mosaic and most suppliers provide training and a full spectrum of educational and promotional materials for both staff and growers. Hire a specialist. An individual with the specific responsibility of grower education and product marketing can make a huge impact on your company's focus and ultimately on sales.

Start now

Post-planting sales calls and in-season agronomy visits to customers as well as agronomy newsletters, summer plot tours and field days (even radio advertising) are all prime opportunities to begin talking about fertility needs for 2010.

By Dan Froehlich, Agronomist, Mosaic Company