Treating Farmers (& Friends) as Business Owners

May 30, 2024

In this edition I’m going to focus on farmers because that’s the audience I focus on serving day to day, but I believe this goes for any business owner. Far too often we blur the lines between friend and customer and it's a disservice we should avoid.

This week, I want to talk about something we might not always think about when we’re out there working hard—treating our farmers with the focus a business owner deserves. It’s easy, and I’m guilty of it myself, to fall into the habit of talking to farmers like they’re just friends or family. While it’s great to have those personal connections, we need to remember that they are running serious businesses.

Too often, we might lean on our friendships or family ties to encourage farmers to buy from us. I get it, it’s incredibly hard to sell and we lean on every available option. But it’s incredibly important to recognize that they’re making business decisions that impact their livelihoods, families, and communities. They aren’t just our friends or relatives—they’re business owners who deserve to be treated with the same level of professionalism and respect we’d offer any other businessperson.

When we approach a farmer, let’s make sure we’re focused on their business needs first. Understand their challenges, their goals, and how we can help put their business in a better position. This means offering them solutions that genuinely benefit their operations and contribute to their success. It also means delivering written (can be digital) quotes and executing contracts professionally. By doing this, we’re not only helping their business grow but also ensuring they can continue to provide for their families and contribute positively to their communities.

We need to focus on shifting our mindset. Instead of asking for their business out of friendship, let’s show them the value we bring to their operations. Let's offer insights, products, and services that can make a real difference. This professional respect strengthens our relationships and builds trust, showing that we see them as the capable business owners they are.

By treating farmers as the business owners they are, we create stronger, more respectful relationships that benefit everyone involved. We support their success, and in turn, we contribute to the health and growth of our business and communities.

That leads me to this week’s challenge… Spend some time reflecting on how we approach our conversations with farmers. Are we leaning too much on personal connections? Are we offering real value and solutions? Let’s focus on taking the amount of respect and professionalism we show them to the next level. Let’s ensure we’re helping these vital business owners thrive.

I’m thankful that you went to work today, that you took time to read this, and that you’re a part of what makes this world amazing.