A significant amount of this impression-building happens long before your prospects ever get close enough to interact with you personally. Your goal before they actually make contact with you is to project an image that will make them want to meet you, visit your farm, and become your customer.
- Does your ad speak to a prospect’s needs? Does it say anything they didn’t know? Even a small ad can ask a leading question what will entice prospects to pursue whether or not you can fulfill their needs and desires. Be customer focused, not about how great you are.
- Use bullet points and headlines. Realistically, they are not going to read your entire brochure – just like most people will skim this blog. Get to the point. Overloading with wording and photos can turn people off. Use of essential photos is crucial. Keep the brochure clear, flowing and uncluttered.
- Is your business card graphically consistent with the rest of your identity package? Does it show clearly that you are in the alpaca business? VistaPrint.com has excellent quality products, but no alpaca related materials. You can get great business cards from them, but try to introduce your own theme into the cards. * And use good card stock wherever you go. Show prospects you are willing to put in a couple of extra dollars towards paper and gloss on your cards. This small piece of marketing collateral can begin to build a positive image of you or it can make a potential buyer stop right there.
- Is the sign on your vehicle in good condition? Does it offer a phone number and website to contact you in LARGE, legible print? Is the vehicle in clean and good repair? If it is, your prospects will perceive that you take good care of your farm, animals and customers, too.
- Is your website easy navigate to? Have friends and family test it out with a certain question they want answered in mind. Is it graphically inviting? Does it include photos of you living the lifestyle?
- Does it have AMPLE ways to easily contact you – phone and email and mail?
- Does your e-blast have an attention-grabbing subject line that makes prospects want to open it at all? Does is offer links to your website or your inbox to make it easy to investigate further and speak with you? You need to be careful you do not fall under spamming regulations. If your email is put on blocked lists, if falls back negatively on your electronic rankings.
Walk the aisles slowly and see what makes you spot your own both. Is there anything about it? Then think in your prospect’s perspective. Would you approach your booth? Is it clean, uncluttered and inviting? Does it offer take-away information about your farm and your animals? Is it manned throughout the show?
- Have the names and ages of the alpacas posted on the outside of your booth.
- Wear your logo on your shirt. Embroidery is about $10 and makes you look professional.
- Hand out an “Alpaca 101” or “Alpaca Fun Facts” sheet with your info on it.
- Approach people confidently but slowly with a smile, say “Hello”, wait another 5-10 seconds while they are still looking at the animals, and then start talking. Ask them what they want to know.
- Don’t overwhelm them with your knowledge of alpacas. Help them get to know about alpacas, and you, without inundating them.
- Many alpacas like chew toys tied to the side of the pen because they get bored. We often coat them with salt or molasses. This makes people smile and laugh, which is a good place to start a conversation.
- Speak up when a passer-by shows interest. Stand up and smile. You have a collective group going out of their way to learn about alpacas. Use the opportunity to your benefit.
- You never get a second chance to make a first impression – and this is no exception. Most farm visitors will form an initial impression of your farm within the first few minutes from the time they turn into your driveway. For those unfamiliar with rural living, they really do not know what to expect. Little things they notice will have lasting impressions. And all this will happen before you even get a chance to introduce yourself.
- Was the farm easy to find based on your brochure or website?
- Did you suggest cold/ warm clothing or farm boots? Patent leather shoes love to retain the alpaca manure smell. And for those having to get back on an airplane, no fore-warning is not appreciated.
- Is it smelly? Our “Spring Thaw” is rough for a couple of weeks and many understand that. But do your best to keep “farm smells” to a minimum.
- Is your farm sign visible from the road?
- What can visitors see as they drive up your road? Are the fences in good repair? Has the garbage been removed from the road? Are the buildings in good condition? Is your barn clean?
- As you there to greet your scheduled visitors or must they come find you?
- Inside the barn, are the alpacas approachable / catchable and is it clean and organized?
- After the sale is finalized and alpacas are either agisted or delivered, what do you do to initiate regular contact with your customers? We call about 3 days after they are on their farm to see how things are going and we also encourage them to call us. Send them cria photos of their alpacas to give them a sense of history with their alpacas. Offer to take them to shows, share herd management techniques and nutrition information. Do you make visits to their property to offer pasture evaluation and layout? Many buyers are happy to show you how they have developed their own alpaca farm.
- Share in shearing, tooth and toe trimming, birthing and farm operation. They want to learn and we can all use extra help with husbandry.
Help them to determine which male is the best choice for breeding their female. Does she need density, coverage, staple length, fineness? Who is the best match for each particular female?