I don’t want to be a salesman. I’m a dairyman. I would rather wear rubber boots than shiny slip-on shoes. I would rather smell a little bit like manure than reek of musk oil. I will gladly wear a cap with a drug logo or even a breeding organization and I don’t like checkered sport coats.
I want to feed my cows, milk my cows, and not worry about saying things like, “What can I do to put a little more provolone in your refrigerator today?”
But then, a city couple decides to take a leisurely Sunday drive out in the country with their inquisitive 2.5 children. They have no connections to agriculture but they like to look at crops in the field and see livestock grazing. They think it’s peaceful and relaxing. I agree.
By chance, they drive by my dairy. What do they see? Manure on the road left by three days of manure hauling? Do they see the reality of a dead cow next to the road and interpret that correctly? Do they see a place they want to point out to their children as a place their food comes from?
It’s not fair. People see things without looking for an explanation of why. They see a video and never question the integrity of it. The opponents of dairy know this and take advantage of it as they promote their products or agendas with their own slanted explanations.
In today’s information laden world people buy more than just the product. They want to buy into the industry too. They want to know their milk comes from an industry that they can feel good about just as they worry about who makes their shoes and what happens to animals in laboratory drug trials.
Is it every consumer? No. Do consumers research their concerns diligently using good sources? No, and, again, that is not fair but that is the YouTube-Facebook world we live in.
If our industry is going to continue growing production each year we are going to need every cheese-eating milk-drinking person we can get and to do that we are will need to educate them on what dairies and milk is all about. Consumers are going to form an opinion based on snippets of information so I want it to be correct information.
I may have to be a salesman or at least tell my own story. Who else can?
Sometimes non-ag people ask me the most basic questions about dairies and cows. Sometimes I want to imitate a 14-year old and say, “Duh! What do you think?” Shame on me. That’s my opportunity to engage someone in a conversation. It’s an opportunity for a consumer to see how the world looks from my side. It’s a chance to sell them on milk, cows, and dairies. It’s not hard stuff.
Sales is not just about delivering smooth lines to make people do stuff. It’s also about projecting a good image so people feel good about their decisions. I can do my part. Maybe I am a salesman.
Now, let’s talk about a sales commission…………but I’m wearing boots.
– John W. Wright of Wright, Inc. Dairy in Wendell, Idaho