| May 27, 2014
On April 25th we shared a blog about Making the Most Out of Sale Weekends. This is a follow up to that blog as well as a supplement to an article called "Making an Extra Marketing Effort" that appears in the June 2014 issue of the Texas Longhorn Journal. Please feel free to contact Molly with any questions, comments or suggestions for future posts.
Once again this Spring, I was able to attend most of the Texas Longhorn consignment sales held throughout the nation, representing Hired Hand Website Software. It’s always so nice, after a long winter, to see some of the best samples of this beautiful breed of cattle in addition to all of the breeders who make our Industry so welcoming and successful. One of my favorite parts of the Spring Sale Season is seeing various breeders who have been striving to make a name for their programs for years, or maybe only months, get their break-through in the sale ring. I’m happy to share just a few of this Spring’s success stories in this article.
It’s also nice to see that seemingly each of the Spring consignment sales have made a nice niche for themselves in the Industry. Serving various groups of breeders through the caliber of Longhorns the sale encourages; buyers the sale attracts; convenient location; co-hosting with a competition or another event; or the tradition of a good time and good prices is what can allow for a variety of breeders to see success during any given year and sale.
Success at the TLBGCA’s Cattle Baron’s Sale
The Cattle Baron’s Sale was held in conjunction with one of the Winchester Futurities this year. This sale is the evolution of past events including the Gathering Sale and the sale at George Ranch. It features a pre-sale party at fellow breeders, George & Peggy Wilhite, Texas W Ranch, and tries to attract breeders from the Texas Gulf Coast area who are wishing to “genetically improve their herds and have a great time doing it.”
One way in which breeders strive to see success in the sale ring is through sale pen marketing. I am pictured here next to a re-usable sale pen sign designed for Bow Carpenter. I was working to insert the sire and dam pedigrees as well as photos of the service sire and impressive full sister to the consignment when the photo was taken. All of these components, when presented to potential buyers at pen-front help to convince them to bid and take home a quality addition to their herd.
John Helm, Helm Cattle Company, whose sale pen display during the Cattle Baron’s Sale is partially shown above says “Our past few sale seasons have been excellent and there are a few things we know: Great Texas Longhorns advertised properly bring great money.” John goes onto say “We know that on sale day the sale starts at the pen. More time is spent viewing the animal in the pen than in the ring and we believe in the power of the pen poster. The presentation possibilities here are unlimited. Supported with the power of the Eblast we feel that that this form of advertising adds excellence to the presentation like no other.”
John mentioned above that he combines his sale pen marketing with E-blast advertising for a powerful punch. E-blasts can play a vital role in the success of not only an overall consignment sale’s attendance but also the success of one’s single sale consignment. The great thing about e-blast advertising is that it’s so simple to measure your results and somewhat gauge whether there are numerous buyers interested in your consignment.
All Hired Hand websites are connected with Google Analytics and can produce information like that shown below. Reviewing the success of an e-blast is as important as the development of the e-blast content and design. (This chart is an example and is not from a specific site nor should the stats be used as a benchmark)
The internet is by far the quickest and easiest way to quickly reference an animal in order to garner interest. Here were some breeders caught in action showing off their Longhorn consignments or private treaty sale animals through internet based technology. Vincent Giralmo, White Rock Ranch was caught showing off some of his Vanizm offspring to John Lydick, Twin Creeks Ranch and Joe Dowling, at the recent TLBGCA’s Cattle Baron’s Sale.
Nate Schumpert, Elm Creek Longhorns is caught looking up the offspring of a consignment he’s deciding to bid on while at the TLBGCA’s Cattle Baron’s Sale.
Success at the Legacy Sale
Because the Legacy Sale is hosted by the Texas Longhorn Marketing Alliance it is heavily marketed in the Texas Longhorn Journal. Wes and his staff do an excellent job of showing off every consignment and appealing to all breeders to attend this classy event.
Because there are so many high caliber cattle consigned to this annual event, it’s necessary for consignors to find a way to set their consignment apart from the rest and ensure that it’s given additional attention. These ads placed in both the Texas Longhorn Journal and Legacy Sale X Catalog each emphasize a different form of success in advertising sale consignments. Helm Cattle Company placed this ad in the February issue of the Texas Longhorn Journal. I chose is as an example because it does an excellent job of showing off a consignments’ production power. Featuring photos and information on past offspring, it paints a picture of the potential that the calf inside this well-producing cow holds. The ad, in conjunction with e-blasts and social media marketing helped this animal to sell for $64,000 to Bill & Elizabeth Hudson. This full page ad was placed in the Legacy Sale Catalog by Mountain Creek Longhorns. It does an excellent job of putting an outstanding siblings in front of viewers in order to sell this heifer based on it’s potential – a key when selling young heifers in the sale ring. This ad, combined with similar ads in the magazine and word of mouth promotion of this heifer at the sale by owner Butch Geurin, helped to place her in a great new home. She is now at home at Craft Ranch, Catulla, Texas.
One of the cows that also topped this year’s Legacy Sale was Wiregrass Magnolia, bred and sold by Joe Graddy, Wiregrass Longhorns to G&G Texas Longhorns, owned by the late Ben Gravett. She sold for $65,000. Joe did a variety of advertisements using print, e-blasting, a traditional postcard mailing, sale pen signs and social media marketing to promote this cow who is destined to be 90” TTT. He wanted to be sure that she was on the radar for many of the Legacy attendees so he made personal phone calls and mailings to a targeted list. When visiting with Mr. Graddy after the sale he told me “It must have worked!”
Success at the Blue Ridge Sale
John Marshall, owner of Blue Ridge Longhorns and host of his first consignment sale this past Spring says “I am quite loyal to the smaller breeder, having been one myself…I originally intended to sell our stock mostly via private treaty, but more and more, the sale of premium stock is through the major sales, and the principal means of selling yourself and your operation as top-of-the-line program is also through major sales events…After attending several sales in 2013, I resolved that we could and should host a sale of our own, both to (a) move stock out of our herd, (b) provide an opportunity for others to sell theirs, and (c) introduce ourselves as serious players in an industry which is regaining its economic health.” John went on to say “That was our purpose, and I think we achieved all three goals well for a first time sale. Texas is still the hub of longhorn activity, and we are poised in the Hill Country area of the state to serve everyone. Red McCombs pioneered the culture of major sales in the central Texas area and we wanted to capitalize on the wonderful work Red has done over the years. Now, along with Rick Friedrich, we want to provide a much needed outlet in our wide area for breeders to buy and sell; there is room for significant sales opportunities everyone can access.” John, Bubba and the others involved in marketing the Blue Ridge Sale combined a powerful package of print advertising, internet and social media marketing, e-blasting and traditional catalog mailings to promote attendance to their first annual consignment sale. The Blue Ridge team showcased a different consignment on Facebook each day leading up to the sale to ensure that each consignment received a look and that the sale constantly stayed in front of viewers as a reminder to make plans to attend.
Success at the Hudson Valentine Sale
Bill Hudson, co-host of the Hudson-Valentine Sale says “Our sale provides a key niche in the Longhorn Industry as it gives the consignors a safe place to market elite Longhorns. At our recent 2014 sale 112 Longhorns were sold at an average of over $11,000 per head. As sale hosts, we strive to ensure cattle prices are very consistent during our auction and that every possible potential buyer is in attendance or tuned in on-line.”
Here were just a few of the successes in marketing and advertising by consignors and breeders attempting to increase private treaty sales and general promotion as related to the 2014 Hudson Valentine Sale: This full page ad was placed in the Hudson Valentine Sale catalog by Billinglsey Longhorns. It is a prime example to follow for any breeder who wishes to position him or herself for private treaty sale inquiries at a sale they plan to attend. Rather than focus on a consignment, this ad focuses on their overall breeding program. It was a wise decision to feature a family photo in the ad so interested parties can seek out the owners to meet and make inquiries with.
When I asked Tom following the sale how he thought the ad worked he smiled and reported that several people he had not yet met in the breed had made a point to introduce themselves and visit about his breeding program. This sign is a top-notch example of giving a sale consignment viewer everything they could possibly need to sway them to bidding on your consignment. From featuring sire and dam pedigrees to outstanding full brother and sisters, to her most recent calf and service sire, there is nothing left for the viewer to do but bid on this animal. These two full page ads also appeared in the Hudson Valentine Sale Catalog. Each of these ads did a great job of putting outstanding offspring and/or siblings and service sires in front of viewers. These ads peak a viewers interest and encourage them to view the consignors’ website for additional information.
Davis Green’s heifer, featured in his ad, topped the Friday night heifer sale at $40,000 selling to John Marshall, Blue Ridge Ranch.
At this year’s Hudson Valentine Sale Brian Brett, Brett Ranch finally had a “break-out” moment. His consignment, Helm’s TC Laura’s Mercy, a Top Caliber daughter that he originally purchased from Helm Cattle Company, sold to Bentwood Ranch for $48,000. Brian attributed this success not only to her being a great cow but also to the combination of marketing and advertising he did. “My goal with advertising for this particular cow and the Hudson Valentine Sale was to get as many potential breeders interested that I could. I wanted people to know about this cow before they left their hometowns and to allow people to do their research before they left for the sale. I wanted them coming to the sale to buy this cow. I used print, social media and e-blasts. I also made a video to catch people's attention.” Brian went on to say “the repetition and the multiple sightings has to help. This is all in addition to everything that the Hudson Valentine folks did, which was also very helpful. I was very pleased with how it all worked together.”
Success at the Cherry Blossom Sale This full page ad placed in the April Texas Longhorn Journal does an awesome job of conquering 3 topics in one ad. First, it features a herd sire from whom they are trying to gain exposure and also increase semen sales; Second, it showcases the herd sire’s offspring who were consigned to the Cherry Blossom Sale; and third it shows off many more of his offspring that are being offered for sale private treaty.
When visiting with Paul Corlett, Fox Longhorns, following the Cherry Blossom Sale he made a point to say that he thinks the above ad, combined with an e-blast and print card they did on a sub lot and herd sire, WF Poker, seemed to help all of the Poker offspring sell well and encouraged several new breeders to inquire about Poker semen being offered for sale private treaty.
Success at the Red McCombs Sale
Alan Sparger, sale organizer, says "the Fiesta sale is a link to the promotion of these cattle in the late 70's. This push expanded the breed as well as the number of breeders. It has always featured a large number of consignors from many states and it gives people the opportunity to be a part of breed history when they participate. There is no other sale just like it and it has serves as a marketing showcase for many years." This full page ad was placed in the Red McCombs Sale Catalog to which the advertiser would be attending and had animals consigned but focused only on outstanding heifers he is offering for sale private treaty. It allows viewers to see the depth of his herd and make inquiries regarding these young animals at the sale in person. This full page ad was placed in the April Texas Longhorn Journal and positioned the consignments for success by showing off sale consignments but also service sires.
Success at the Millennium Futurity Sale This ad was placed in a sale catalog to which a daughter and female bred to these bulls was consigned. It allows viewers not to focus on the consignment, who they can see in person, but on her sire and service sire who may not be there to view in person.
Keep Your Momentum Going!
Overall, it seems that the Spring sales were successful and breeders are excited about their programs and the caliber of cattle being bred across the Industry.
Not to be overlooked, and possibly still needing to be done by those breeders associated with the sales in May are your “After the Sale” marketing checklist.
☐ Say Thank You.
Whether you sold an animal through a consignment sale or worked a private treaty deal, it’s so very important to take a moment to say “thank you.” This can be done through a hand shake after the sale, a phone call, text, email or even a hand written and mailed note. This can also be done publicly, many times associated with a high dollar purchase, through a print ad or e-blast. A quick and easy way to tell a large group of breeders about an animals new home, while somewhat crediting yourself for its breeding, is to make a post on Facebook tagging the new owner and providing a link to the animal on yours or their website.
Here are a few quality examples of ways that breeders used print, social media and technology to acknowledge and thank buyers of their Spring sale consignments. Page 44 of the May Texas Longhorn Journal is a prime example of breeders taking the time to thank those who purchased sale consignments and private treaty animals. This full page ad makes great use of the real estate by thanking not only buyers but also those who sold them cattle. The ad also takes space to promote key breedings available for sale by private treaty from the herd.
This ad packs a powerful combo of showcasing not only a cow that were sold but photos of the new owners which is a wonderful touch when publicly thanking buyers through print advertising.
This ad does a nice job of balancing between the excitement of adding a new animal to their own herd while being sure to name each buyer of a consignment and thank them individually.
☐ Close the deal.
If you have some lingering deals that were discussed at Spring events, closing them may require extra effort on your part. If location allows, invite them to your ranch to view the cattle in question, send them a video and new photos, or consider sweetening the deal a bit with an add on or discounted pricing from the last time you spoke. Striking while the iron is hot is always beneficial when trying to make a sale.
☐ Promote similar breedings.
In the days following a consignment sale, promote animals of similar breeding (that topped the sale) that you own and are willing to sell . This can easily be done through an e-blast or social media marketing. These efforts could result in additional private treaty sales for you. It never hurts to follow up with any competing bidders, who could be interested in more than just the consigned animal.
Whether it be with competing bidders on your consignment, a new contact you made or someone you visited with about cattle for sale from your herd back home, follow up needs done and in a timely manner. Follow up can be accomplished through phone calls, e-mails, friending and messaging on Facebook or other social media or mailing them a personal note with your business card enclosed.
☐ Don’t wait.
Following a consignment sale we’ve all thought “I wish I’d have attended/consigned to that sale” or “I’m going to start becoming more active.” Don’t wait! The Fall consignment sales will be here before we know it. Start planning your schedule and consignments now. Ensure that you are free to attend; set an advertising budget and begin to reserve your space for ads, e-blasts, etc.; choose your consignment(s) and ensure they will be bred and are in good physical shape for the sale.
As always within the Longhorn Industry, the Spring sales were a great time to enjoy beautiful Longhorn cattle and the camaraderie that our Industry has to offer. I’d like to personally thank the breeders who offered testimonials and material for this article and encourage any who were not featured to send me their experiences and results for future marketing articles. I look forward to seeing everyone down the road at our Fall sales and events.