What do you like best about being a consultant with ANC?
As consultants, we are not employees, but are independent. This has allowed me to be flexible with my work schedule and gives me time for other priorities in my life. There are times I wish I could be running some of my own rations, but that usually passes, as I do not know how I would get everything done without the ration department working through the rations. We have good communication between us to make sure the ration is how I need it to be to fit the customer’s needs.
I have enjoyed working with the kind, caring people at ANC. One of the things that convinced me this company really did care about their customers and consultants was back in 2001-2002 when the milk price was quite low. The top four men in the company took pay cuts so they could keep prices at the farm level more competitive and do their part to weather the difficult time. I never received that feeling of “caring” from other feed companies out there, so it has been a big blessing to me to work with people with these kind of values.
ANC’s emphasis on quality, profitability, and not just “cheap” has also been a main-stay with my customers.
What was your biggest hurdle to overcome in order to be successful as an ANC Consultant?
I think the biggest hurdle that I needed to overcome was myself. Fear has a way of making you run scared, and it distorts your thinking. There were times in the past that I sat at my desk with the problems getting bigger, and the longer I sat there, it seemed like everyone must think that I am surely the worst consultant in the valley. I needed to learn to get up out of my desk and go out and see some other people. I realized that they did not think I was a bad consultant, and were actually quite happy with the way things were going! Talking to prospects made me realize other consultants also have problems.
Describe a customer who had a problem and what you did to help solve that problem?
I had one customer that underscored the need for effective fiber in the diet. The client was seeing the cows come fresh, and they would do okay for about one week. Then they would drop on intake and take a long time to get going. This had not always been the case. After thinking through the facts, we remembered that we had been feeding straw, but had dropped it in light of a new haylage trench that was just opened. This trench had a lot of fiber in it, so we felt we did not need to feed the straw. The next trench did not have quite as much fiber in it, but still a fair amount. We decided it would be okay to continue without the straw. It was then that he started to see the drag in the fresh cows.
We determined that it was time to reinstall one pound of straw in the milk cow ration and increase the straw in the dry cow diet to three pounds (we had two pounds before). Over the next few weeks, the fresh cows were not dipping off on intakes. All along, I was fairly certain that this was not a pre-fresh diet problem, but a milk ration issue, as the sluggishness always came about one week after the cows had eaten really well for four to seven days. The total DMI (dry matter intake) increased about two pounds by adding the extra fiber.
What do you feel is the key to turning a prospect into a customer?
Have an attitude that creates a warm and inviting place to enter into a relationship. This is not a forced, “I want to sell you something” relationship, but a “What are your needs, do you want to be more profitable?” and “May I show you how this can be reached?” kind of relationship. The focus is on others’ needs and not my own. This can be hard to do, especially if you are in a straight financially and you really feel like you need the sale. Remember that relationships take time and effort to build. Eighty percent of sales come after the fifth call.
What ANC product(s) have you seen the best results, and what were the results?
In more recent years, Ultmt-Blend is a product that has helped more than anything else. Decreasing the toxin load in the cow frees her up to utilize the other nutrients in the ration. The most dramatic response I had was in a herd that had a high load of DON (vomitoxin) and aflatoxins. We increased the Ultmt-Blend to .1 pound per cow. The intakes came back up five pounds of DM and the milk responded by seven pounds. There are plenty of other results that are positive, but this was the best!