Many rural businesses are asking “how do we gain and retain customers / clients that will stick around with us for the long term?” “What will make our customers stay with us and not go to the competition?” Growth may not be what these businesses expected and some are shifting or merging businesses / business models to stay operating.
Some reasons for asking these questions may include the following; it costs so much more time, effort and other resources to source new clients than it does to keep and service existing clients, clients can easily move to another service or product supplier due to perceived “cheaper” prices, some business cost structures are increasing, and rural business is competitive. You only need to glance at the sheer amount of purchasing incentives, rural advertising and advice being bandied around. But why would these questions be asked in the first place?
A key concept I learned from my own coaches and mentors (and since confirmed in practice) is that money flows to where the value is. That means those that provide tons of value are the ones who get the business. If you think about it, don’t we all subscribe to that? If we feel we are receiving plenty of value (in other words getting more benefit than what we expect or what we pay for) we want to stick with that, right?
This is a great recipe for a solid business with longevity and loyalty from clients. Ensure that your clients are receiving not only what they really want, but also more benefit than what they expect or what they pay for. Your client wins first, and therefore your business (that provides those services and products) wins through continued business second. Trust develops. Your brand is known for that ongoing trust and value. Additionally, loyal clients are usually very happy to insist that their friends and others do business with you too! That is definitely a win/win in my book!
It follows that those who are genuinely concerned through asking the above questions may not be providing enough value to their clients to ensure their longevity and loyalty. If that is you, have a think about what you can do to help your clients receive even more benefit from you and your business. If this seems like too much to ask, then perhaps you need to carefully examine your value system. Taking farmers for a ride by seeing them as opportunities to sell technology to and extract income from without ensuring they are actually receiving what they really need, is not only a sure way to ultimately fail, it is downright irresponsible.
Why is it irresponsible? Because farmers own the lion’s share of our industry, have the most emotionally invested in their assets, have the most to lose and they provide the base product upon which all downstream businesses extract their own profits from. In some cases, businesses are extracting record profits while most farmers limp from year to year with just enough to live on. To me, this is just wrong and it is clearly unsustainable. However, by providing real value to clients (not just shareholders), strong businesses attract loyalty and trust and have the best chance of continuing and growing well into the future.
Yes, I agree that there are some farmers who will always chop and change suppliers regardless and there will always be those who are very difficult to deal with. It happens. You can minimise that by choosing to work with the right type of farmer client for your business and providing real value to them. Only then will you not have to worry about longevity and loyalty because the bulk of your clients will want to keep receiving the excellent value. People buy from people they trust.
Value and price are two different things. Price is rarely the issue – it’s more about what value the client receives for the price they pay.
So, how about giving it a try? How can you ensure that your rural clients or customers are receiving far more value from you and your business than they are paying for?
If you are curious about how the GrowFARM® System can help sheep and beef farmers generate the profits they really want, contact me here.
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