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Ag Retailers, Here’s the Key to Farmers Adopting Your Suggestions

Ag retailers wear many hats on the job: supplier, project manager, advisor, the list goes on. But arguably the most difficult task on an ag retailer’s plate is simply getting their growers to listen!

Of course, it’s not hard to see why farmers are reluctant to try new technologies on their land. A change to the status quo is a gamble – and if it doesn’t pay off, the result is a poor harvest and much lower income. As a result, many growers are hesitant to change. 

If you want to be successful in this business, you must build trust with your farmer customers to help them move beyond this fear and take your advice. But how do you do it? Here are a few key tips for helping you present your ideas.

Take Advantage of Tech

As an ag retailer, you’re going to work with lots of farmers during your career. And over time, you’ll learn one simple fact: no two farms are exactly alike. Soil conditions, flow paths, and even growing needs vary from one field to another – and sometimes, even from one acre to another.

There is no “one size fits all” approach. Each farm will need a unique plan and agritech based on its specific needs. But how do you figure out which methods work? The answer will come when you invest in some technology of your own.

Data-collection technology is a growing field in the agriculture industry, and it is essential tech for any ag retailers. When you use emerging tools to collect soil samples, analyze nutrient contents, and even run “what-if” scenarios, you learn more information about your customer’s land and the specific things it (and your farmer needs. The tech is the secret to getting vital data about their farms, and helps you convince them to take your suggestions. 

Follow News Updates

Ag retailers need to keep their ear to the ground on behalf of their growers, listening to the local news for any information that could affect them. If your region is anticipating a drought, your farmers need to be aware. If the state lawmakers are talking about implementing mandates and sanctions on agricultural workers to combat climate change, your growers need to know!

Make sure you’re up to date on consumer media, local government, and any other news information that might relate to your customers. If you can help them stay on top of these relevant issues, you are sure to build a relationship on trust and respect (and they’ll be more likely to listen to your ideas).

Be a Thought-Leader

In the business world, a “thought-leader” is known for offering guidance and insight to his or her colleagues. These individuals typically have many years of experience in their industries, but they also have a unique perspective and a willingness to innovate that helps them inspire others and move their whole organization forward.

In the ag world, retailers like you need to be thought leaders for your farmers.

Farmers are hard workers, dedicated to their land and their skill, but innovative? Usually not. Like we mentioned earlier, a farmer’s entire livelihood can be wiped out by a change to the status quo, so most farmers aren’t jumping at the chance to try something new. But ag retailers can advise and mentor growers, inspiring them to try new tech or a new farm plan to achieve great results.

Study up on the digital trends impacting agriculture today. Learn how new agritech can help a grower with their crops. Use your unique perspective and your knowledge to help them see that new technologies can change their land for the better.

Test Ideas

As you study up on local news, emerging trends, and new agritech, it can be easy to get excited about all the possibilities. This data collector can help make sure you don’t overwater your fields… that software will make it easier to connect with restaurants for food sourcing… these drones will make productivity skyrocket…

But remember: every farm needs something unique. No two farms are alike.

Before you present your ideas to a farmer, make sure you’ve taken the time to test them out. Run a “what-if” analysis for everything (there are programs for that now). Test fertilizer types on soil samples. Do everything you can to make sure your ideas are as relevant as possible for your grower’s specific situation.

Doing this extra research will take time, but it is an invaluable practice if you want to be the best ag retailer possible. The more you’ve tested an idea, the more likely you are to successfully explain it to your farmer – and most importantly, the more likely it is to work.

Emphasize Outcomes

Finally, let’s talk about the WAY you present your ideas to your farmers. Sure, you can talk all day about how new agritech works, or why you think it’s valuable, but there’s only one element that truly matters: how will your ideas affect the farm?

Growers seek advice from ag retailers because they want to see results. They want to resolve inefficiencies in their crops, boost their yields, and improve their overall productivity. If you want a grower to take your suggestions as an ag retailer, you need to explain how your ideas will help them achieve their goals.

When you talk to your growers, try not to focus on price. Instead, talk about the ways your suggestions will benefit the grower. Farmers are more likely to gamble on a new technology if they are confident that they will see positive results. You need to help them become that confident!

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