R7® Tool Adds Value, Fortifies Relationships
In 2015, about 40 percent of Coats’ customer base used the R7® Tool, and he expects that number to reach 60 percent in the coming year. He attributes the majority of this success to the trust he has established with the farmers he serves.
Coats explains, “I work at developing strong relationships with my clients that allow me to make recommendations based on trust and product performance. It’s easier to persuade someone to try something new if they’re confident that you’re not just trying to sell them something extra. And since I still own and operate my own family farm, customers know that I understand the challenges they face.”
As an integral part of the precision ag offerings provided by the Ceres Solutions team, the R7® Tool is incorporated into Coats’ seed selection and agronomy conversations with farmers.
“Introducing the R7® Tool is just a natural part of what I do when I meet with clients,” Coats notes. “I pique their interest by showing them maps of their fields with the different soil types and field variabilities, wet- and dry-season field scenarios, and management zone grids. That introduction leads to discussions about variable-rate seeding and variable-rate nitrogen applications.
“Two of my clients had asked me to create R7® Tool variable-rate seeding prescriptions for their over-seeded soybeans. Using variable rates allowed them to reduce seed costs, because they had previously been over-planting their soybean fields. They not only cut their seed expenditure by more than the price of the R7® Tool service, they also ended up with better yields. That was a double-win that went a long way toward solidifying those relationships.”
Coats included two of his tech-savvy customers in a successful pilot project with the R7® Tool farmer app this season and will expand to 10 customers in 2016. “Data-driven farmers especially like this feature of the R7® Tool.”
I often partner with Coats during R7® Tool demonstrations to help with technology-related questions. With the team-selling approach, Coats can talk about how the technology relates to the farmer’s operation, while I demonstrate how the technology works for greater success.
Coats constantly finds new ways to provide extra value for farmers by matching the right products and services to each operation.
Along with offering farmers an opportunity to fine-tune their operations, I believe the R7® Tool helps sellers strengthen customer relationships and create more business opportunities. At Indiana-based Ceres Solutions, I frequently work with Ron Coats, agronomy business manager, who has had success delivering value-added service with the R7® Tool.
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