It is exciting to sell cows.
Sometimes it takes years to get that sale. Whether it is because it has taken years to build your herd to the point where you have enough to sell, or if it is waiting on that cow to have her heifer.
The cattle industry isn't something that creates overnight success. It is a long, hard process. So, when you do finally get that sale, it is really exciting. Plus, your bank account is usually looking pretty grim by this point.
However, just because you have a check in hand and the cow has been loaded on the trailer doesn't mean your work is done.
Sometimes, the work is just beginning. You may have sold a cow, but you have just created a relationship. A relationship with the new buyer.
At this point, you know more about their new cow than they do. This means they many have many questions that you already know the answers to. Whether it is what kind of feed and how much of it you are feeding or when was the last time she was wormed. You have a wealth of knowledge about that cow that can and should be passed on to the new buyer. A lot of times, these conversations happen right there in the barn yard as the sale is being completed...other times, everyone has forgotten about these little details.
If we sell a cows to someone that is going to be showing in the same local shows we will be attending, we always offer to help clip and fit. Especially, if it is someone that doesn't have that experience. It is something we can do for free (other than our time) that helps out the buyer in their new experience. Just because we no longer own the cow doesn't mean we stop caring about the success of our cow and it's new owners.
Over time, the new buyer generally has a question about something. Sometimes, it is even a question about a cow you didn't sell them. We always answer the questions to the best of our ability. Building a working relationship is important, but more times than not, we are also building a friendship. If I would do this for my next-door neighbor, then I should be willing to do the same for a new friend in the cattle industry.
It may feel overwhelming to have to nurture so many friendships and business relationships, but it is part of the job.
Customer service isn't confined to retail stores, it is also a huge part of the agricultural industry. The buyer is my customer and it is my responsibility to keep the customer happy. Relationships can go both ways and sometimes you might need that buyer for something. There have been times that we have built a relationship off of a sale and then we have needed that buyer just as much or more than they needed us.
Word of mouth is a very big part of the agricultural industry and sometimes all we have is our reputation. If you treat someone right, they are going to pass that along. If you don't treat someone right, you can bet that reputation is going to spread like wild fire. Go above and beyond to protect your reputation.
Be helpful and kind, even when you don't have to and you might be surprised, not only by what others gain from your relationship, but what you gain from it too. We have built some of our greatest friendships all because we were available to answer the phone call of someone that just needed advice or a reassuring voice.
Can those late night phone calls be frustrating at times? Of course. But, if you are not willing to be there after the sale, then maybe you should consider if you should be making the sale in the first place.
We are a people to people industry. That means we have to deal with people. Sometimes it can be a trial, but most times, it is what makes this job so rewarding.
Hello! I am Heather... the city girl turned mom to manure loving country boys. My husband and I both grew up in the city, but spent weekends visiting grandparents in the country. We are first generation farmers who learn best by almost always doing things the hard way. I hope you enjoy following along with our adventures down on the farm.