In a fiercely competitive market, we are always looking at strategies to improve product performance, how to get that next sale and a leg up on our competitors. Too often this keeps us in tunnel vision, and we forget to step back and look around to see what’s changed.
During winter travels, I’ve had the chance to do just that, and I want to applaud the industry as a whole for moving the needle as it relates to grower education and seed treatments. It’s clear to me that growers are taking note and paying attention to the many seminars, educational sessions, one-on-one conversations, brochures and other resources offered.
More and more, farmers are taking an interest in seed treatments and seed treatment equipment. They are stopping and asking questions. They are knowledgeable. They are interested and inquisitive. Most are not looking to buy their own seed treating equipment or to bring that function in house. Rather, they’re examining what their dealer uses and if it’s up to par with the rest of the industry.
They’re looking to better understand what separates different seed dealers in their network. They might have a dealer that uses an older, manual seed treater and another dealer that uses a new, fully-automated seed treater. They want to know if this matters as it relates to seed quality, seed protection and ultimately yield … and then there’s that little nugget, cost.
Increased competition in the seed and seed treatment market has challenged companies to better communicate their message, a part of this strategy is grower education. As with many markets, customers have access to what can be an overwhelming amount of information; they can easily become “experts” on their own through internet research, networking and looking at your competitors.
The questions I hear growers asking are:
· What is actually going on my seed? Is it better than a generic option? If so, how?
· What makes your seed handling and treating equipment better than what I can either purchase and use myself, or get down the street from someone else?
· How can I verify that what you say is going on my seed is actually going on my seed?
· How important is seed treatment accuracy when it comes to the efficacy of my seed? Can you prove the accuracy of your system?
How these questions are answered will shape the future of your business, and the industry as a whole. As seed and seed treatment technologies continue to advance, it’s important that seed dealers and retail locations take the opportunity to answer these questions. Lean in. If these questions are ignored, growers will go somewhere else or end up treating the seed on the farm.
Remember: Keep up the good work and don’t shy away from questions. It’s these very questions that make us better at what we do, sell and offer.