Thanks to conducive weather in the Williamette Valley, harvest is coming along very nicely. All the annual and fawn fields have been cut, as well as many of the orchardgrass, and turf-type tall fescues. A few rain showers last week slowed harvest, but growers are at it again. Yields seem average at this point.
The annual ryegrass harvest is about 30% completed. From reports we’re getting it seems like an average crop. The market has been quiet in recent weeks and there is a limited amount of high weed/off-grade Gulf available at $28/cwt. Time will tell if this is a good buy. As growers have begun harvesting turf tall fescues, they are being pressured to get it cleaned. Because carry-over is nonexistent, there is great demand for early shipment. It appears the perennial ryegrass supply will be less than 2005. With a higher asking price in Oregon, increased production in Canada and the Midwest, and limited budgets in the overseeding market, it’s anybody’s guess where the price will settle in.
The summer slowdown won’t last much longer, but there is still time to get in some schooling - for yourself, your staff, and your customers. We all know that once the busy season hits, there simply is not enough time to increase our own, let alone our customer’s product knowledge. So with that in mind, here are a few easy-to-implement ideas :
- Take time to review product literature, websites, and any other educational material - ideally, together with your sales staff. For example, we have three websites - SmithSeed.com, TitanLimited. com, and PersistOrchardgrass.com. Each is loaded with everything from technical data, to photos, downloadable brochures and presentations available 24/7.
- Invite product representatives to join you and your staff in person or on the phone during a sales meeting and/or take out for a field visit to see key customers.
- Make sure your customers, especially retailers have all the tools they need. For example, we have numerous Point of Purchase (POP) tools include banners, stickers, brochures, shelf-talkers, signs, etc. available to help both re-sellers and installers increase their sales.
- Along those lines, take this time to educate your customers. Don’t try to educate all of them. Rather focus on those top customers who have DONE SOMETHING with what you’ve shared with them in the past. Give these guys some new information or a new source for further study. For example, the next time you visit one of your key customers, pull up SmithSeed.com while you are there and show him information on one of the products you are asking him to carry. And since we don’t sell direct, you never have to worry about him contacting us for purchase information.
- Read some of those industry journals you haven’t had time to read.
- Attend a field day.
- Finally, without taking away from focusing most of your efforts on your existing key customers, look to make some measurable in-road with one, two, or a handful of new customers.