It would be no secret that Sales Talk was my favorite contest at the AJSA events, and it is also one of my favorite to judge. I guess you could say the contest came easy to me due to my dad, background, and future line of work. Sales Talk should be a fun contest, but junior members are actually able to interact with their judges instead of simply speaking to them such as public speaking. As I spoke of in my public speaking post, we have great AJSA educational events, but sometimes lack preparing those newbies on what to expect. Everyone “sells” themselves and their animals differently, but I thought we would look at some of the tips that worked for me as AJSA member winning the contest, and what I like to see as a judge.
Some people might say, “I just can’t sell things!” So “selling” might not be in your wheel house, but a knowledge of your animal in important no matter if you are in a sales talk contest or simply being an educated beef cattle producer. So you’ve got a registration paper in your hand, and an animal to sell…. what’s next.
Introduction: Some people take the approach as you have heard they are looking for something to buy, others take the approach of finding out what type of operation/needs the buyers have. Personally, I take the second. Every producer is different – some are looking for a show heifer, donor cow, replacement females to make bulls, or crossbreeding. You, as the seller should be familiar enough with your animal to turn your sales pitch into whatever your buyer is looking for.
After the introductions you can move into your animal. Personally, I move into the details of my animal. First, the animal herself, birth date, show record, disposition, status of open or bred. It is also a great time for the judges to take a walk around your female and check out her phenotype. Then move onto her pedigree. Here is where I believe we are lacking in our sales talk. The depth of the knowledge of the animal isn’t there especially in the pedigree. Now this part might require you to look up some stuff on the ASA website, do a little internet research, or talk to breeders. Yes, you should know WHO the sire and dam of your animal is, but TELL ME MORE! Below is an actual animal that I did a sales talk on back in the day. To many of the junior members, this will be an old school pedigree. So obviously, as you look at this pedigree, we are going to know that the sire if GW Lucky Dice. (I always started with the top part of the pedigree, I’m not sure why). So instead of just telling me that the sire is Lucky Dice, you need to know more as the pedigree is extended. LCHMAN Lucky Buck especially. These two bulls would have played a large role in the breed, so those would be things I would have brought up. Champions sired. Usage of the bulls through AI. If they are rated in the most used bulls in the breed. Number of calves registered. Homozygous black, polled.
Then move down to the maternal side of the pedigree…(see the usage of the word maternal). Now HC Honeysuckle Rose was the building block of my herd, so I had a lot to talk about. If the dam of your animal isn’t in your herd, try to do some research to learn more about her. If you purchased your animal through a sale, try contacting the seller to see what you could learn about the dam. On the dam side of pedigree, we want to talk about what the cow has done; what she has produced. If the dam is a first calf heifer, tell me how she did as a first calf heifer. As you can see this female was a embryo, so I want to talk about the flush record of Honeysuckle Rose. How has she flushed, who have you flushed her to, and what has any other offspring done. Then again, we extend the pedigree to talk about Right Time and 81B; both who had a big impact on the breed. Talking about their success, their usage, offspring, etc.
Now lets move on to the genetic side of my female. Of course, I pulled this pedigree off the ASA Herd database so my paper doesn’t look like a normal registration paper, but the information is still the same. First lets point out that if you are working off a registration paper that was not issued this Spring, your EPD’s are not correct. Go to the ASA Herdbook and check out how the EPD’s have changed. Though you can’t take the new ones in with you on a piece of paper, it would be very beneficial to know how they have changed whether up or down. Of course, the biggest thing about EPD’s is knowing what they stand for and how your animal compares to breed average. Point out the high notes in the EPD’s. Like with my heifer I would talk about her Yearling EPD as it is in the Top 25% of the breed. From pedigree knowledge, I know that this cow family has great growth EPD’s, which I would want to highlight. Currently, API is important to many breeders so know where your animal falls based on the breed average. EPD’s is also a great place to showcase how a breeding decision might alter the EPD’s. If you chose to breed your female to a bull with a great calving ease EPD for a first calf heifer – highlight it here. If your buyer is looking to produce bulls or feeder cattle, you will want to talk about the carcass trait EPDs.
Breeding Status of female: If your female is bred you will want to know who she is bred to and when she is due. Of course it is more than just knowing who she is bred to – you need to know WHY. If it because of a certain trait that you want to improve phenotypically or a trait that you want to work on genetically. It is also great to know what the resulting progeny will be – purebred, percentage. If the calf should be red or black – if the bull you bred her to is homozygous black or hetero.
Price: This subject differs depending on who you talk to. In my personal opinion, if you come in and tell me you what $10,000 for your female then you better be able to tell me why and how I am going to make my money back, and she better fly or do some kind of trick. Which would make all the above things we talked about make more important. I am a firm believer that you price reasonably and be able to make a good reasoning for your price and sale. When I showed Sazerac, who won numerous shows and later sold as donor for over $50,000 – I priced her in sales talk in Sedalia, Missouri for $2,500. Just remember its not about the price of the animal – its how well you sell it.
As they call time: Don’t let them call time and you walk away without closing your pitch. Whether that ends with them saying they will make the purchase or if they need more time to think about. Tell them you hope that you have given them the information they need to make an informed decision, you would love to visit with them more, and look forward to working together in the future.
And ta-da.. your seven minutes are up! But really, the more you know about your animal, pedigree, and how she can work for the breed the faster your time goes and the easier it is to make the sale. Don’t get worried about whether or not they actually “buy” your animal by the end of the sale. I hardly ever sold my during sales talk and I rarely buy during the talk as a judge.
I realize this is ALOT of information, and I’m not saying my way to go about sales talk is the only way. If you take away anything from this blog post know that that knowledge and depth of information are important aspects to a great sales talk!
- Don’t be too rehearsed. If you write out your sales talk or prepare too much on what order you are going to say things it is easy to get thrown off if they ask you a question.
- Don’t be too pushy. People always want to buy something from someone they trust and can have a genuine conversation with.
- Smile and act like your are enjoying yourself. I’d much rather buy from a happy person.