Sale Catalogs

by Molly Clubb | Jan 04, 2012

Let's Challenge What's Always Been Done for What Might Work Better!

Several years ago (more than I'd like to admit) I had my first real job out of college. In the beginning I absolutely loved it. I got to be creative, worked in a hip, trendy environment, finally got to see my designs being published, got promoted and rewarded for exceptional work, etc. I'm not sure when exactly my feelings about that particular job or employer changed and I decided to move on but in reflecting back on that time I do recall one major frustration that still makes me cringe to this day. It's the phrase that goes something like "we CAN'T do it that way because we've always done it this way" or maybe (if they really want to get under your skin) they use the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" line.

Every office or committee or organization has them. Everyone has had a boss or coworker (or Mom) like him or her at one time or another. It's the "we can't do it that way" person. It doesn't matter what the idea - how noble or bold or cutting edge - this nay sayer wants no change whatsoever just because they're used to how things have been done before. They typically don't have any research or proof that the way it's always been done is working or that the new way wouldn't compete with a better ROI or results - I'm pretty sure they just like to shoot down ideas or that is part of their job description and weren't told.

At that job all those years ago I didn't push the limits of that phrase that I now dislike so strongly. Today however, when I hear that phrase - from a customer, committee member, relative, etc. - my ears perk up and it makes me all the more motivated to make them see that change can be a great thing or at the very least, that trying change can be exciting and rewarding!

So what's the point of this blog so far you're asking? It's not just to complain about phrases I dislike and nay sayers, I promise.

As a result of hearing my least favorite phrase today in relation to Longhorn Sale Catalogs, I'd like to challenge you to think outside of the box and consider a new solution in the realm of consignment sales and sale catalogs. Every year sale hosts are spending upwards of $5,000 - $7,500 to produce, print and mail traditional sale catalogs. That's a potential $7,500 that they could be putting in their pockets, investing back in the breed, or (my personal favorite) using to get a great website :) So sale hosts, attendees, consignors and buyers - I ask you this:

Why does it have to be that way?

More and more breeders are utilizing the Internet to make educated buying and selling decisions. Breeders are on iPads, iPhones/Androids, laptops, desktops, etc. Many of the breeders that I have spoken to may use the sale catalog to quickly view the lots they may be interested in purchasing but then they head to the internet to research the animal in full detail.

Here is my proposal. Let's use 2012 to challenge the need for thousands of printed sale catalogs to be circulated through the Industry.

Why can't we:

- Create the sale on-line via your Hired Hand website

- Use Hired Hand's ability to transfer administration privileges of animals back and forth in the consignment process (it's so much quicker than filling out all of that paperwork, trust me!)

- The sale host can use the Lot Order feature to order the sale animals

- Consignors and/or Sale Hosts can use the Breeding and Sales Comments features to promote these aspects

Just think with those few things how much more interactivity your potential buyers can have regarding your consignment. And I'm just getting started!

- How nice would it be to update a photo as you wish vs. having one in print months before the sale?

- How dandy could it be to update (with a photo) when that flashy heifer calf hits the ground vs. everyone reading "confirmed bred for a spring calf" - talk about getting more marketing exposure!

- Think of the possibilities for e-blasts of your consignment with direct link URL's to everything you need to share!

- Think about the potential for intertwining your on-line sale catalog with video streaming on the sale day, on-line bidding, etc. Not only can you show the animal on sale day but also buyers can use the Progeny tab to research her offspring in real time and make quicker decisions to bid!

Now I know that we can't expect to go 100% online at once so don't forget that you can use Hired Hand to cushion this change by:

- Using our Printer Friendly PDF pages to create a PDF sale catalog that can be downloaded for people to print on their own, emailed OR can be printed and mailed to those breeders requesting catalogs

- Sale hosts can also use our Printer Friendly PDF pages for sale day pen organization - they're complete with name, DOB, Lot #, etc. so why not use them?

One argument I have heard regarding this idea is that too many breeders utilize the sale catalog on the sale day for notes regarding prices, buyers, etc. My rebuttal would be: On the sale day, if breeders aren't entering notes on their iPad, computer or phone you can offer inexpensive black and white copies of the Printer Friendly sale catalog for people to take note on. Even if you printed a few (50 or less) color versions, you're still saving thousands of dollars with this new approach. Or (and this may be just enough change to push some of you over the edge) - why not give attendees a one page list of the lot, name, etc. with a column for "price" and "buyer" and they can fill that out sale day and then, if they have the time or interest, cross reference it with the website or printed PDF?

Another valid argument as to why this wouldn't work is that the sale catalog acts as an invitation to the sale - a reminder to attend and buy. To that argument I respond that it's significantly cheaper to create a postcard that invites them to attend, buy, etc. and include on that card a link to your website where they can view or download the catalog or even call you if they want you to print and mail one. Postcards are cheaper to print and to mail than a 24+ page full or pocket-sized catalog. E-blasts, Facebook, etc. should also be utilized as many of the social media options are FREE or very inexpensive in relation to the traditional way of doing things.

So, there's my rant on sale catalogs for this evening. Post or email your comments, challenges to this idea or complaints (ha ha) below - we can tweak the idea together until it works!

Special thanks to Hired Hand customers and breeders who are already utilizing many of the ideas above for thier sales including: Deer Creek/123 Heifer Sale, Marquess Arrow Ranch, TLBGCA, Red McCombs Ranches, Lazy L/3 Amigos Sale & Social, Longhorns & Lace Benefit & Sale, and anyone I may have overlooked.

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