I'm sitting here writing this article as we begin the 2005 New Year. This time of year always causes me to both reflect back on the past year and to look forward to what lies ahead. It goes without saying that all of us at TSM® are very thankful for the privilege of being able to work side by side with all of you in the Ag retail business (along with your growers). It is also a time to consider ways that TSM® can better serve you as our customer.
Here is a question to ponder: What separates your dealership from that of your competition? Almost all retail fertilizer dealers today have the same basic fertilizer products to sell to the farmers in their area, and what is left to say about the direction the herbicide market has taken these past few years, especially with the Round-Up® Ready crops? The answer to what separates you from the competition is "uniqueness". What makes your dealership unique or what separates your dealership from another? Let's focus on this thought here for a few minutes.
Generally speaking, you have three basic categories of growers: those who are fully committed to doing business exclusively with you, those who "shop around" and do business with more than one retail location, and those who do not do any business with you. What can be done to make those growers in the 2nd and 3rd category move closer to the first category? Again, I believe the answer is that you must have something unique, whether it be a product or a type of service, and then go to those "not so committed" customers and promote the concept that you have something your competition doesn't.
Don't hesitate to put TSM® into this category. We work hard to maintain our protected territories around all of the dealerships we work with. Our experience with those dealers who are the most successful with TSM® are those dealers who really push the idea that the TSM® Soil Fertility program is unique and cannot be duplicated by their competitors. The best part is that TSM® is almost always going to provide a better R.O.I. than other types of fertility programs. There are some unique products available to you also, available only to TSM® customers.
I would like all of you to consider making TSM® your "unique" service in 2005, if you haven't done so already. We are up to the task of helping you to make it happen. Let's get a grower meeting put together this February or early March and push the benefits of TSM®. And better yet, invite those customers who are in the 2nd or 3rd category above, and let's move them into the "committed" customer column.