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October 31, 2018 | Coach’s Corner | Greg Martinelli | Views: 801

3 Keys to Increasing Sales by Following Up

It involves more than just "checking in"

3 Keys to Increasing Sales by Following Up

It’s one of the least emphasized aspects of the selling process. Sales trainers typically give it a small portion of their overall training time. With cold calling, prospecting, closing skills, and overcoming objections taking up most of our training time, we tend to give little attention to this very important part of selling.

National statistics suggest it takes an average of five sales calls to sell an account. While 48% of all sales people don’t follow up after one sales call, less than 10% follow up more than 3 times. For an ag sales professional, following up is even more critical than other selling environments. We work with long term relationships that involve daily, weekly and monthly interactions with our customers. First, we become part of their business. Then we become part of their lives. These relationships last years and even a lifetime. So, unseating an entrenched competitor is going to take a lot more than 1, 2 or even 5 calls. To be successful, you have to be in the game for the long haul.

Organization:

Step one of following-up is to have a system. I prefer electronic over manual or written and I prefer that salespeople use their company’s CRM program if they have one. Either way, any system is better than none at all. And, scraps of paper or your memory is not a system. To manage a large prospect funnel with changing needs for each interaction requires that you take good notes and get back to prospects. Getting back to them requires timeliness and accuracy. Your organization skills around timeliness means that you get back to the producer when they said to or when it’s seasonally appropriate. If the prospect said he’ll decide on his fertilizer in a couple weeks, then you need to have it on your calendar to reach out for an appointment in 7-10 days. If the prospect is filling a building with pigs in February, then you need to schedule a phone call in late December to get an appointment to discuss his feed needs by early January.

Unless you have a picture-perfect photographic memory, build a simple spreadsheet to track your prospects and the critical time & task to follow up with

Planning for it:

Besides disorganization, one of the main reasons sales people fail to follow up is they have no reason to go back. They don’t know enough about the prospect or his business to go back and add anything new to the discussion. Getting the initial appointment, the salesperson spends the whole time on small talk and then presenting on their products. Learning little about the prospect, the salesperson now has to wait weeks or months to go back and “Check in” with the prospect. The prospect’s usual response to this check in is “Nope, nothing has changed. I’m still happy where I’m at with my current provider.” So, it’s another couple months before the salesperson can “check-in” again to see if anything has changed.

Prevent this by having a follow-on goal in mind prior to any prospect interaction. There’s an old say, “The purpose of the phone call is to get the first appointment. The purpose of the first appointment is to get the next appointment.” The concept behind this old saying is that you need to have enough information and understanding of your prospect to come back for a follow-up sales call, before you leave the farm, feed mill, or grain elevator.

Doing It:

So, now you are organized for timely follow up. You also have a plan going into every prospect call for how you want to follow up on the next call. Now, you have to execute! You have to just do it. Here are some tips and advice for making sure you do it.

  • Fear of being pushy or "salesy" – If you dug deep enough and have a plan to bring back new and relevant material, you shouldn’t feel pushy. Remember, you found a way to help this person. The sooner the better for helping them.
  • Feels futile – Prospecting and endless following up can seam futile. It’s hard to see progress and you feel like you are wasting your time. Often, that’s why many salespeople continue to call on customers when they should be out prospecting. Calling on customers gives a feeling of accomplishment. With a prospect, you might be right at the doorstep of closing the deal or you might be miles away. This feeling is what causes salespeople to “just check in” to see if something has changed. Prioritize your prospect list and spend some quality time on following up as if the prospect is going to buy on the next sales call.

Ways to Follow Up

Bring someone new back with you: Your tech department or research department are popular choices. However, don’t forget your folks in production, distribution, and customer service. They do a lot for customers and you want prospects to know the quality people in your company.

  • Go back for a tour or an opportunity to see operations first hand: If the buyer is in an office location or removed from the actual production of their products, ask to take a tour of their farm or operation. This can reveal a lot of ways for you to follow up.
  • Network: Find where your prospects go for business meetings and go to those meetings, if you can. Find a way to connect with prospects and customers other than a sales call. Customers want to know their vendors are involved and support their industry.
  • Call to Action (CTA): Every industry has seasons, especially agribusiness. They make for a great call to action. Spring planting, Fall calving, harvest, federal crop insurance dates, etc. A prospect has to decide on their supplier prior to these dates. This timeframe is a great reason to follow up.

Developing long term relationships with customers is one of the great elements of selling in agribusiness. Please don’t underestimate that relationship when calling on a prospect to switch them over to your products. Keep your focus on what you can do for them and keep adding value as you return. In time, it will happen. It starts by helping them in a way their current supplier does not. To do that, you have to keep going back.

October 29, 2018 | Monday Mycotoxin And Crop Report | | Views: 660

Monday Mycotoxin & Crop Report for October 29

This week's spooky edition features new DON and aflatoxin reports

Monday Mycotoxin & Crop Report for October 29

This week's spooky edition features new DON and aflatoxin reports, harvest pace remains behind schedule, and best practice tips for corn harvest.

 

October 29, 2018 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 337

Speculators Add to Bullish Position on Corn

Largest net long position held by speculators since June 5

Speculators Add to Bullish Position on Corn

Speculators Add Bullish Position for Corn and Bearish Position for Soybeans

Managed money, a proxy for speculators, increased their net long position for corn by 6,645 to 27,903 contracts. This is the largest net long position held by speculators since June 5. Money managers were selling soybeans in the week ending on Oct 23, increasing their net short position by 8,167 to 39,279 contracts. Much of the rain over the Midwest has let up, allowing farmers to get back into the field and resume harvest. Managed money also increased their net short position in Chicago SRW by almost double, adding 13,771 shorts to total 30,023 contracts. This marks the largest bearish position since April 24. Speculators also decreased their net long position in KC HRW by 6,386 to 17,106 contracts.

China Announces New Government Guidelines for Animal Rations to Dampen Demand for Soy

Last Friday, China’s Feed Industry Association approved new standards for livestock feed. The guidelines call for 1.5% less protein in hog feed and 1% less for chickens in an effort to reduce demand for soymeal. The new standards aim to reduce Chinese soybean demand by 14 MMT or nearly 13%. Prices of soybeans and meal in China have skyrocketed following the Trade War with the US. China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange has seen the most actively traded soymeal contract rise to all-time highs of $474.37 per tonne. Traders’ sentiment has been that these new standards are enforceable as they are just guidelines for now and that the price of soymeal and its substitutes will be the primary drivers for any change in rations.

Export Sales Notice

Private exporters reported to the U.S. Department of Agriculture export sales of 120,000 metric tons of soybeans for delivery to unknown destinations during the 2018/2019 marketing year.

Weather Forecast Calls for Isolated T-Storms Over E Iowa, W Illinois

The National Weather Service is calling for thunderstorms to begin later this night and bring rain until Tuesday afternoon. Some areas could see as much as an inch of rain. The Mississippi River remains flooded in certain areas along the coast of Iowa and Illinois but has been receding. The NWS reports that the water level at Muscatine, IA was 16.2 feet, just above the flood level of 16 feet. W Iowa and E Nebraska have also been dealing with too much moisture and the Missouri River there is flooded as well. However, very little rain is in the 10 day forecast for the area.

 

The risk of trading futures, hedging, and speculating can be substantial. FBN BR LLC (NFA ID: 0508695)

October 26, 2018 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 493

Hog Farmers Feeling the Pain from the Trade War

U.S. farmers, producers find themselves in very poor margin environments as tariffs on pork from China and Mexico take their toll

Hog Farmers Feeling the Pain from the Trade War

Hog Producers Around the World Feel Pain from Trade War

Hog farmers and pork producers in the U.S. find themselves in very poor margin environments as tariffs on pork from China and Mexico take their toll. China has imposed 62% duties in response to U.S. tariffs and Mexico has 20% duties of its own. China and Mexico represent the two largest export markets for U.S. pork. In Brazil, feed prices have skyrocketed as hog farmers must now compete with Chinese buyers to source soybeans, as China has been keen to buy as many South American soybeans as possible to avoid U.S. tariffs. Brazil is the fourth largest producer and exporter of pork in the world. Chinese hog farmers have also been struggling to feed their herds as the soybean prices have risen dramatically following the trade war with the U.S. Many Chinese farmers have been sending their hogs to slaughter, weighing down on the price of pork. WH Group, the largest pork producing company and owners of Smithfield, have stated that excess supply of meat on the market is now their biggest hurdle.

Drought Conditions In Eastern Australia May Cut Total Crop Production In Half from 20-Year Average

With the eastern portion of the country in the midst of one of the worst droughts in decades, Australia expects to see a 23% drop in total grain and oilseed production. Eastern Australia by itself is forecast for production to fall 53%, which is home to major wheat production areas. Winter wheat production is expected to decrease by 13% to 16.6 MMT and canola is set to drop 20% to 2.2 MMT. Despite feed prices increasing, Australian slaughter rates for cattle and sheep have not moved much higher. Livestock run on pasture in SE Australia have been moved further north in large numbers as due to drought stress on pastureland.

Export Sales Announcement

Private exporters reported to the U.S. Department of Agriculture export sales of 260,000 metric tons of soybeans for delivery to unknown destinations. Of the total 200,000 metric tons is for delivery during the 2018/2019 marketing year and 60,000 metric tons is for delivery during the 2019/2020 marketing year.

5-Day Weather Forecast Calls for Rains Over East, Rain OverRest of Midwest Next Week

In the 5 day forecast, the Eastern Corn Belt can expect up to 1.5 inches of rain with a weather pattern starting over central Illinois moving east through New York and the Mid-Atlantic. Rain continues to be forecast for the Ohio River Valley, which has been struggling with flooding and quality issues for soybeans that have yet to be harvested. The 6-to-10 day forecast shows another storm pattern sweeping up from NE Texas up through Michigan. Some areas could see as much as 3 inches of rain.


 

The risk of trading futures, hedging, and speculating can be substantial. FBN BR LLC (NFA ID: 0508695)

October 24, 2018 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 485

Canadian Farmers Struggle to Finish Wheat Harvest

Some unharvested wheat is beginning to sprout in their stands, ruining it for milling

Canadian Farmers Struggle to Finish Wheat Harvest

Canadian Farmers Struggle to Finish Wheat Harvest As Quality Issues Become Common

Hot, dry weather over the summer in the Canadian Grain Belt, followed by a wet and snowy September has hurt the wheat yields and slowed down harvest considerably. Alberta, the second largest wheat producing province, is only around 50% finished with harvest when they are usually completely finished by this point. Some of the unharvested wheat is even beginning to sprout in their stands, ruining the quality of the wheat for milling. The weather forecast calls for clear skies over much of Canada, likely allowing farmers back into the fields. Canada is the 3rd largest exporter of wheat in the world.

Ukraine Reports Harvest Progress, Yields, and Planting Progress for Winter Wheat

The Ukrainian Ministry of Agriculture has pegged total corn harvest as 62% complete as of Oct 23. Total harvested area is about 7.16 million acres with an average yield reported at about 101.4 bpa. Barley harvest is 100% complete and resulted in 7.53 MMT of production and a yield of 45.1 bpa. Wheat harvest is complete in Ukraine with total production coming in at 25.1 MMT and yields of 56.5 bpa. Winter grain is also 95% complete with planting, with the total projected planted area being around 17.8 million acres. Winter grains include winter wheat, rye, and barley.

More Rain May Be Headed to Central Texas, Midwest as Hurricane Willa Makes Landfall

Hurricane Willa, a Pacific Ocean hurricane, has made landfall on the west coast of Mexico and will quickly make its way over land towards Texas, which has seen severe flooding in the central part of the state over the past few weeks. Willa was rated as a Category 5 hurricane but was downgraded to Category 3 upon making landfall. Parts of the Willa storm system may work their way across the South, as well as southern portions of the Midwest. Along the Illinois-Iowa border, the Mississippi River remains flooded. The National Weather Service reports that at Cape Girardeau, MO, the river is at 34.1 feet, above the flood stage of 32 feet.

 

The risk of trading futures, hedging, and speculating can be substantial. FBN BR LLC (NFA ID: 0508695)

October 23, 2018 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 518

Corn Harvest Nearly Halfway Complete

Soybean harvest lags behind five year average

Corn Harvest Nearly Halfway Complete

Corn Harvest Nearly Halfway Finished, Soybean Harvest Lags Behind Five Year Average

Yesterday, the USDA released their weekly Crop Progress report, which pegged corn harvest as 49% complete nationally, slightly above the five year average of 47%. Illinois and Indiana continue to make rapid progress but wetness further west has caused slow-downs for Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Soybean harvest is reporting in at 53% complete nationwide, well below the five year average of 69%. Iowa is significantly behind schedule at only 37% complete versus the average harvest completion of 71%. Across the US, winter wheat is now 72% planted. Kansas and Oklahoma are both lagging behind the average planting pace, likely due to frosts over the past week.

Chinese Grain Imports Fall Dramatically During Sept as Trade War Takes Its Toll

During the month of Sept, total grain imports by China fell significantly as trade with the US has ground to a halt and prices have soared in other countries such as Brazil and Argentina. For Sept 2018, corn imports fell 83.4% from last year to 40,000 MT, the lowest since Nov 2016. Sorghum imports fell 76.9% to 90,000 MT, which is largely used for animal feed in China. Barley imports also dropped 27.1% to 680,000 MT. Pork imports to China actually reported an increase of 8.4% to 94,317 MT as African Swine Fever continues to spread to hog farms across China.

Light Precipitation in Forecast, Temps Expected to Fall In The East

The 1-to-5 day forecast calls for scattered showers in the West, primarily over Nebraska, Kansas, E Colorado, and E South Dakota. The GFS model shows no more than 0.5 inches of precipitation. Rains are also forecast in the East, particularly over the Ohio River Valley in S Illinois, S Indiana, S Ohio, and N Kentucky. The next 5 days are also calling for lower temps in the central and eastern Corn Belt. Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio could see temps as low as the mid 30s over the next week and then another cold front is expected to move over the West the following week.

 

The risk of trading futures, hedging, and speculating can be substantial. FBN BR LLC (NFA ID: 0508695)

October 22, 2018 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 507

Brazilian Soybean Planting Zooms Ahead

Timely rains in Mato Grosso, the largest soy producing state in Brazil, has lead to beans being 62% planted in the state

Brazilian Soybean Planting Zooms Ahead

Brazilian Soybean Planting Zooms Ahead to a Record 34% Complete

On Friday, Brazilian consultant AgRural pegged soybean planting as 34% complete in Brazil, compared to 20% this time last year and the 5 year average of 18%. Timely rains in Mato Grosso, the largest soy producing state in Brazil, has lead to beans being 62% planted in the state, well above this time last year at 27% and the 5 year average of 26%. Planting was delayed considerably last year as much of the Brazilian growing area was suffering from drought conditions. Brazilian soybeans remain in high demand from China following the Trade War with the US and a rapidly planted soybean crop will allow for increased export to occur weeks ahead of schedule. Also, the faster soybeans are planted, the faster the second crop corn, or safrinha, can be planted, which represents over two-thirds of Brazilian corn production.

Speculators Enter Into First Net-Long Position for Corn Since June, Cut Down on Soybean Shorts

According to the Commitment of Traders report, money managers turned bullish on corn, adding 60,657 long positions during the week ending on Oct 16 to become 21,258 contracts net long. This is the first time speculators have been bullish corn since June 5. Managed money also cut down their net short position for soybeans, cutting 8,579 to 31,112 contracts net short. Heavy rains over the Midwest during harvest has lead to quality and yield questions for both soybeans and corn. Money managers reduced their net short position in Chicago SRW by 1,846 to 16,252 contracts. They also increased their net long position in KC HRW by 2,019 to 22,291 contracts.

Cold Temps Remain in Ohio River Valley as Parts of Iowa Continue to Deal with Flooding

Areas of Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, as well as S Indiana and S Illinois, have had freeze warnings put in place by the National Weather Service.

Overnight temperatures could fall as low as 27 degrees F. The NWS has also issues frost advisories in the western and southern most areas listed above. The Mississippi River and smaller tributaries in E Iowa and W Illinois remain flooded. The 5 day forecast shows little chance of precipitation in the area, giving fields a chance to dry out.

 

The risk of trading futures, hedging, and speculating can be substantial. FBN BR LLC (NFA ID: 0508695)

October 22, 2018 | Monday Mycotoxin And Crop Report | | Views: 536

Monday Mycotoxin & Crop Report for October 22

This week features a report from Sarah Weiland of NutriQuest comparing DON testing methods

Monday Mycotoxin & Crop Report for October 22

This week features a report from Sarah Weiland of NutriQuest comparing DON testing methods.

 

October 19, 2018 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 563

China Has Culled 200k Hogs to Date

Policy is to destroy all swine on a farm where ASF has been confirmed

China Has Culled 200k Hogs to Date

China Has Culled 200,000 Hogs Since August Due to African Swine Fever

In an attempt to stop the spread of African Swine Fever in the country, the Chinese government has culled 200,000 hogs. Their policy is to destroy all swine on a farm where ASF has been confirmed and then additionally all hogs in a 3 kilometer radius of the infected farm. Analysts expect hog prices in China to increase heading into Lunar New Year, where pork is a traditional holiday dish. Zheijang, a province in eastern China, has seen pork prices increase by about 4.30 yuan ($0.62) per kilogram. Annually, China slaughters around 700 million hogs and is the largest pork producer in the world. African Swine Fever has had 41 confirmed outbreaks in China alone and has been reported in Eastern Europe.

President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to Meet at Next Month’s G20 Summit

According to the South China Morning Post, a tentative agreement has been made between President Trump and Xi Jinping to sit down for talks with one another at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires on Nov 29. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He has told reporters that officials from Washington DC and Beijing have been in contact with one another regarding the summit. China’s GDP data was published this morning, posting 6.5% growth in Q3 2018, below expectations of 6.6% and dropping from Q2 2018’s number of 6.7%. This marks the slowest pace of growth in China since 2009.

Export Sales Announcements

Cancellations of export sales totaling 180,000 metric tons of soybeans for delivery to China during the 2018/2019 marketing year. Cancellations of optional origin sales totaling 120,000 metric tons of soybeans for delivery to unknown destinations during the 2018/2019 marketing year. An optional origin contract provides that the origin of the commodity may be the U.S. or one or more other exporting countries.

Some Rivers Remain Flooded But Forecast Remains Dry for Midwest

The 5 day forecast shows little to no rainfall for the Western Corn Belt, where areas of E Iowa, W Illinois, and E Nebraska are needing to dry out. The National Weather Service reports that the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers are still overflowing past their banks. The Missouri is still flooding from Council Bluffs, IA to St Joseph, MO and the Mississippi is flooded from Dubuque down towards Keokuk, IA. Further south, the Colorado River in Texas is also flooded and is expecting even more rain, which could lead to even more flash flooding in Central Texas.

 

The risk of trading futures, hedging, and speculating can be substantial. FBN BR LLC (NFA ID: 0508695)

October 18, 2018 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 380

Corn and Soy Export Sales Come Up Short

Commodities miss expectations due to large amounts of cancellations

Corn and Soy Export Sales Come Up Short

Corn And Soy Export Sales Both Come Up Short Following Large Cancellations

The USDA’s Weekly Export Sales report pegged corn export sales for 382,000 MT, falling 62% from the previous week and missing the trades expectations. Several countries reported reductions of corn sales in the period of Oct 5-Oct 11, including 326,500 MT to unknown destinations. The countries reported to be doing the most buying were Mexico, Colombia, and Japan. Soybean sales also came in much lower at 293,600 MT, again missing expectations due to large amounts of cancellations, notably a reduction of 694,400 MT from Unknown destinations. Top buyers of US soybeans were Spain, the Netherlands, and Mexico. Sales of wheat rose nearly 40% from last week to 476,000 MT, right in the middle of the range of analysts expectations. Major purchasers were Bangladesh, Japan, and Unknown destinations.

Ethanol Production Drops to Lowest in 6 Months as Supplies Continue to Grow

The Energy Information Administration reported that ethanol production in the week ending on Oct 12 was 1.011 million barrels per day, the lowest production rate since April 20, 2018. This is 29,000 barrels per day less than the previous week. Ethanol stockpiles continue to grow amid declining demand, reaching 24.130 million barrels, marking the highest levels since March 9, 2018. Ethanol producers continue to face poor margin environments despite President Trump requesting removal of the ban on year-round E15 sales. The EPA expects to end deliberations on lifting the ban in May 2019, before summer driving season begins.

Drier Weather Expected Over Much of Corn Belt, Cold Front Moves Across the East

The forecast calls for little to no precipitation over the West and Central Corn Belt for the next 5 days, ideally giving wet fields a chance to dry out and harvest to resume. Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio may see light rains or snow over the next week and temps are expected to drop to the upper 20s. The National Weather Service has issues freeze warnings in these states. Heavy rains are expected to continue in central Texas, which has been causing severe flash flooding that has destroyed a bridge and killed 1 person.
 

The risk of trading futures, hedging, and speculating can be substantial. FBN BR LLC (NFA ID: 0508695)

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