For those that sit around waiting for the market to come to them, they won’t be in business very long. It’s like waiting for the phone to ring when you’ve done nothing to precipitate call.
Every time I put a pen in hand to write another column, I know I’ll reach someone that will reciprocate his or her opinion which starts a dialogue that opens unlimited doors of opportunity, which precisely is what you need to do if you expect markets to come to you.
They have to know about you, what you have to sell, and when will it be available. To accomplish this, you need exposure to the marketplace, the kind that puts you in their face on a daily basis. A broker type representative that is reputable offering up livestock to sell on a regular basis can be useful, or a website for which packers can depend on as a reliable source.
Either will work as long as the packer has conﬁdence in the story you’re telling. You should be networking with selected packers that specialize in your commodity. Once you’ve established a track record of weights, grades, yields, and cutability, then you’ve got hard-core marketing data that will get their attention in developing the highest possible premium price.
But even before you have such information, there should be communications with the marketplace about the livestock you’ve just placed in your feedlot —breed, genetics, weights, pictures, source, etc. Along with this, there should be management updates, progress reports, and health regimen.
This is just as true for feeder sources looking for feedlot operations. They are different regarding “market operandi,” as they are more concerned about fed efﬁciency and rate of gain. But, here again, breed/genetics plays a role in the development of the most marketable ﬁnished product.
Just like real life, the most significant asset you have to sell is reputation. Once you’ve established an excellent reputation in the industry for which you’re trying to serve, the market will ﬁnd you.
Before you become involved in livestock production, you ﬁrst have to learn to become a good salesman. Too often, some of the highest producers never get discovered by the markets of highest potential. It’s kind of like the best sermon never heard. It doesn’t do any good to “raise the best” if it’s not “sold as the best”.
Speaking of sermons, our livestock marketing seminars have often been likened to that of a sermon, as they dwell as much on motivational selling as that of marketing fundamentals.
Marketing is more than that of opening the gate, ﬁlling the trailer and chugging off to market — especially if the market in one of convenience rather than that of value.
Selling should begin the very ﬁrst day you invest your ﬁrst dollar in livestock Just as you shouldn’t spend hour ﬁrst dollar until you have a proﬁtable market plan in place, you shouldn’t invest until you’ve learned how to sell that which you have produced.
It is unfortunate that this isn’t taught in our colleges and universities where Animal Science degrees are taught. To graduate with a degree in Animal Science without ever taking a course in livestock marketing is as conceptionally wrong as that of buying the heifer without the bull. The job is only half-way done — all production and no marketing.
Not complaining though as this is what drives the demand for our livestock marketing seminars. If they were taught this in school, we would be out of a job.
If the price for not knowing how to market wasn’t so high, and we were just talking peanuts, then why even make an issue about knowing how to sell?
The price is high — as much as a $100.00 per head in most cases. If that’s just peanuts to you, then don’t concern yourself. But for those who work from sun-up to sundown in working conditions not seemingly ﬁt for some, it is a big deal.
Compound this with sizeable numbers, and you’re talking more than the average man’s salary — when you can lose more than the ordinary man makes, isn’t it time to take another look at what you’re doing?
If markets aren’t seeking you out, it’s because you haven’t gotten their attention. If you’re not getting full value for that which you sell, it’s because you don’t know how to create value.
If you want to change any or all of this, attend one of our livestock marketing seminars.