Behind the smile. An account from the vendor side of the fence.
Onfarm Solutions have had sites at Fieldays® in NZ and across the world since 2009 when the first Teatwand was launched in the innovations tent at Fieldays® Mystery Creek, Hamilton NZ.
These events are an important platform. Farmers are there, asking you questions, looking at their boots, mulling the answers. Giving nothing away.
Our NZ farmers are a laconic bunch, you never quite know what they really think. Decisions are measured, not spontaneous, a bit of time to think about it, evaluate it before any commitment. So, we engage with our farmers at these events. The need to be there is proven.
The 2021 South Island Agricultural Field Days (SIAFD) held at Kirwee, just out of Christchurch had more than 20,000 people through the gates, best ever in the 70 years they have been running. It has been the first major farm centred NZ event since the world was turned sideways with Covid a year ago. Fieldays® held at Mystery Creek in 2020 was cancelled, the Canterbury A&P Show 2020 was cancelled as were many major US and European industry events.
On day one at the SIAFD I met farmers from Southland, Marlborough and the West Coast, they came from far and wide to check out what’s new, to compare this against that and collect intel for spending decisions. They came to catch up with mates, to indulge in some vendor hospitality and enjoy being off the farm for a bit.
One farmer I talked to was showing much interest in our Teatwand Stepover, he ticked all the boxes, continued to show interest.
“So is this something you might be keen on?” I asked
“Well I’m actually here to buy a mower/conditioner for silage making, so I’m just kinda checking out other stuff as well.”
This was a good chat. He stopped, he looked, we talked, he now knows about what we offer and the Teatwand range. He went away with a bit of Onfarm Solutions merch. He may look at it, he may not. Surely, he will try on the cap! Who doesn’t wear caps on a farm?
There will always be tyre kickers.
I recall one year at Mystery Creek talking to a guy for half an hour or more about the Teatwand Exact, I extolled the virtues of the Teatwand Exact eloquently and with technical detail, he asked relevant and intelligent questions. All going well.
“So how many cows are you milking mate” I asked.
‘’Ah no, I’m a school teacher, I don’t milk cows, I’m just interested in the stuff that's going on, my dad was a dairy farmer’’.
Wasted time? No.
I honed my ‘’talking about the product’’ skills. Worthy of the time. And a good conversation. Not every conversation is a lead. I find a positive in every chat.
Then there are the workers on our farms, the people who do the hard graft, they may not be making spending decisions but they are definitely worth talking to. Especially the ones who ask questions and are engaged, they know exactly what they’re looking for.
There was a young couple I talked to at SIAFD who had worked with the Teatwand Exact on a couple of farms around Canterbury. Now on a herringbone farm they were drawn to the Teatwand Stepover, seeing what a good thing this would be. But we’re just staff, they said, it would be up to the boss.
“We’re installing one of these Teatwand Stepover systems in your area in the next couple of weeks, not far away, talk to that boss of yours, he can check one out in action.”
If these guys want to grab the bull by the horns they will approach their boss with this great idea and it may grow from there. Kudos to the workers, being proactive. Benefits to the boss, invest to save.
So, for someone on a trade site for 3 or 4 days at a field days type event I have some sage advice to help maintain conviviality, patience and sanity.
LISTEN, and respond showing you have listened. Respect every chat.
SUFFER the time wasters with compassion. Find a positive.
SWOOP, when the time is right. Collect contact details to keep in touch.
HYDRATE, it’s hard work, look after yourself.
DEBRIEF, Share successes and anecdotes.
SMILE, all day long.
Bring on Fieldays® Mystery Creek, let's hope Covid doesn't get in the way!