Showing interest in others can pay off in big ways.
You can own the world if you can be interested in other people, says Bret Oelke of the University of Minnesota in quoting Jay Abraham Jan. 29 at Tomorrow’s Top Producer conference in Chicago, Ill.
"You need to be able to listen and be sincerely interested in other people," says Oelke, an Extension agricultural business management expert. "Every one of you can afford to take the time to be interested in and make other people feel valued and important."
Oelke explains that success is powered by three things: know-how, reputation and a network of contacts. "The formula for success is human capital or what you know times social capital or who you know times reputation or who trusts you," he says.
Oelke encourages farmers, young and old, to ask:
• What do my customers desire?
• What can I provide?
• How do I establish relationships?
• How do I improve relationships?
• How do I maintain relationships?
"Your employees are your customers," he adds. "What’s important to them? Is time off more important than a bonus or vice versa. Employees want to be valued and respected as an important part of the business."
If you are a junior partner in the operation, Oelke says to ask yourself what your supervisors want. "They typically want a job completed, completed now and the way they would have done it with minimal oversight," he says. "You need to find a way to get your ideas heard up the chain."
Most farmers don’t think of their partners and family members as customers, but they are, Oelke reminds. "What do they want?" he asks. "They want your time and these are your most important customers."
When dealing with external customers, Oelke encourages farmers to keep in mind how they are paid. "Grain buyers are not in business to get the most out of your production," he says. "They are in the business to maximize their own profitability Your task is to find out how you can help them achieve your goals while achieving your own."
When looking at your customers, Oelke recommends you understand what they need from you, be responsive to their needs, find ways to lower transaction costs and do not waste their time.
See full coverage of the 2013 Tomorrow’s Top Producer event.
Thank you to the 2013 Tomorrow’s Top Producer sponsors:
Agrotain, Farm Credit, SFP