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Offline Gators Rule

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Re: need help with 4H letter to buyers
« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2012, 11:35:39 PM »
As a member of the "buyers committee" for our show, we make personal visits. I assume you are talking about finding sponsors for your own individual project rather than the whole county or area you are competing in. Either way, as a former exhibitor, now father of exhibitors and sponsor, I would personally be more inclined to support your project from a face to face solicitation rather than a "canned" letter showing up in the mail. Go visit your prospects if at all possible and save the letter writing for the thank you notes to those that support you.


PERFECTLY stated!!!    I'm "aged" now, but when I was in 4H and FFA, my dad always made me call and set appointments with business owners.  I would then go and do a presentation, and discuss the business aspects of purchasing a steer or paying an add-on.  There is something about an 11 to 18 yr old calling and setting an appt and then discussing tax and advertising benefits with a business owner.    Fast forward to today. I would safely say that 75 percent of my success in business is due to my days in 4H and FFA....and can be directly attributed to my dad requiring a shy11 yr old boy to pick up the telephone and set appointments with business owners.   Today, I'm an insurance agent in FL, and I'm so thankful I took advantage of 4H and FFA.   Don't short change your opportunity by sending letters!!!   Pick up the darn phone and set appointments....and then give a presentation!

BTW, each year I buy 5 to 7 steers and pigs of kids who follow my advise of appointments at two different county fairs.  Gotta give back!!!
« Last Edit: July 25, 2012, 11:42:37 PM by Gators Rule »

Offline Gators Rule

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Re: need help with 4H letter to buyers
« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2012, 11:58:23 PM »
Also....FROM A BUYER'S PERSPECTIVE:

NEVER type a thank you letter or introductory letter!!    If my financial assistance isn't worth a kid sitting down and handwriting a letter, then don't bother with sending me a letter.   I do not care if a child has poor handwriting.   That makes it even more important the letter be handwritten.   Do not hand write a letter and make color photocopies either.   I use erasers to see if a pencil written letter is "forged".....and I can feel the letters when an ink pen was used.

I'm not beating anyone up...but buyers are often taken for granted.  I have been on both ends of the situation.   show the buyers a little more respect because I will promise you they can find ways to get more bang for their advertising dollars. My animals routinely out performed the grand champions on sell night because I went the extra mile.   Today I buy because there were men and women who purchased my projects, and they never received short cut letters of gratitude.   Go the extra mile....and reap the rewards!     (clapping)

Offline Gators Rule

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Re: need help with 4H letter to buyers
« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2012, 12:05:29 AM »
My son hand write the letters, we won't let him do it on the computer then print them all not personable enough (my opinion), then we will drive him every where and he must hand deliver and personally ask the potential buyer to attend the auction and if willing to place a bid. He also shares with them want he has learned though out the year with him animals.  We have found the potential buyers are app to appear at the action and place a bid by asking them personally then thru the mail. His letter contains what he is selling and what he has learned, along with what he is going to do with the money received from the buyer. Actually, that is what is on the agenda next. Happy trails. Good luck to your son, the letters can be hard, because you are asking for money.   


 (clapping)

Offline firesweepranch

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Re: need help with 4H letter to buyers
« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2012, 08:38:50 AM »

My 10 year old daughter wrote 15 letters this year. I assisted her with her wording, but she wrote her own thoughts by hand and basically copied it to each one, changing them a bit. She put things in there about her project, what she learned, what she plans on doing with the money, and what she wants to be when she grows up.  We also included a picture of her with her steer at one of the shows she went to, and how he placed so far that year. She hand delivered them to all the people she could (feed store, vet, local businesses). Our fair they just sell the ribbon (premium sale), so I think she ended up with about $300 total after the add on's. She actually did a better job than the 15 year old, but the 15 year old has a part time job at the vet clinic so she was very busy this year at fair time!

Good Luck, that always seems like the hard part is writing the letters and getting the 4-H award folders done!!!!
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Offline vc

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Re: need help with 4H letter to buyers
« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2012, 09:48:17 AM »
We get allot of computer generated letters anymore, put then the amount of effort that goes into them has increased, some of these letters are 2 or 3 pages long. It seems that the written letters come from the younger exhibitors, the creative letters come from the older ones. There are over 200 exhibitors at our county fair, we receive maybe 6 or 7 letters each year, my boss receives anywhere from 20 to 40 letters each year, but he buys 2-3 beef, 2 hogs, and a veal for his family and has bought and donated back to the scholarship fund as many as 8 hogs, 2 beef and 5 lambs on top of what he takes home. We live in a large county it could take some of the kids over an hour oneway just to get to our office so we see some kids from the town our office is in but that is about it.

I do not know when it started, it was going on when my boys started, the buyers receive a gift from the exhibitor right at the auction, once the animal is back in the pen here comes the exhibitor with anything from a hand made craft and a thank-you card to a gift basket full of BBQ supplies, seasonings, cook book and libations, most the gifts are somewhere in between, a pig wind chime, lamb oven mitt and dish towels, a book of Cattle in America, things like that. I have had to use the wagon to haul my bosses bounty back to his car. It kind of works out, you go thank your buyer personally, shake their hand, and give them their gift, most kids will send a letter as well after the fair.




Offline AAOK

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Re: need help with 4H letter to buyers
« Reply #20 on: July 26, 2012, 06:10:43 PM »
In my opinion, the best approach is to inform buyers of the date and time of the show, invite them to watch, and then mention the sale.  Invite them to support youth in your county, not specifically you.

Usually, our county level board sends out letters, not the kids. 

I do think buyers appreciate face to face invitations more.
[/quote

I agree about the County Board.  I had a retail clothing store specializing I Work & Western wear for many years before our family got into Show Calves. It always really irked me when I received those letters kids I didn't know. Even more irritating was the face-to-face pleas for money when they were pretending to make a purchase. Worst of all was the parents who would leave giving me a cussing and throwing down the merchandise after I had refused to promise a premium.

When we started showing, at County Auction time, I would have my daughters contact the local radio & news paper to give Public Service Announcements. Several times they were asked to have pictures made with their calves. This way advertised the event, and taught my girls how to make deals and promote events as well as themselves. Parents, teach your kids to communicate and promote, not how to beg!

Offline Glorifying Pastures

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Re: need help with 4H letter to buyers
« Reply #21 on: July 28, 2012, 07:38:21 AM »
Some kids may beg for the buyer to promise a preminum, that is not right in my opion, our buyers say they really like the face to face invites. I can tell you of four buyers right now that will only buy from a face to face invite. This type of invite helps the kids break thru a shell if they are shy. My oldest son is not shy in the least, until it comes to invite the buyers, because he is asking a person to spend alot of money. We are a small operation, we don't spend tens of thousands of dollars each year with some of the potenial buyers, so asking them is a hard thing to do when others do spend a chunck of change with some of the buyers. I understand the advertising thing, what does the kid learn by not inviting thru a letter and/or a personal visit. If the parnents leave cussing and ticked off because the buyer dosen't promise a premium, I guess it's time for the parents to GROW UP a little, the sale is a oppertunity for the child not a right.
 
I disagree with the County Board doing the inviting, again what does that teach our children. My thought is "Let's do a project, and the county board will do all the inviting, that's great less work I gotta do."

The picture thing is a great idea, we did that this year, every buyer we had visited so far thought it was a great extra touch, helps remind them of who did the asking, and who cares about thier project. What a great reminder at auction time, put a name with the face and the animal.   
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Offline lightnin4

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Re: need help with 4H letter to buyers
« Reply #22 on: July 28, 2012, 08:37:06 AM »
For our county fair the junior livestock exhibitors have a meeting a couple of weeks before the fair.  At the meeting, the 4-H agent hands out preprinted invitations that include some basic info about the projects (what the kids spend on average and what the average prices have been in the sale the past few years).  Then they go over the list of past buyers and the kids divide up to make personal visits to each business.  They also have a buyers meeting about a week before the fair where they invite past buyers to "meet & greet" with the jr. exhibitors.  The exhibitors bring finger foods and photos of them with their projects to share with buyers.  On sale night, they take their buyer a small gift immediately after their animal is sold and invite them to the Jr. Livestock Banquet the following week.  Most buyers deliver the checks that night and the exhibitors give the buyers a photo of them and their animal taken at the fair.

Offline rf21970

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Re: need help with 4H letter to buyers
« Reply #23 on: July 30, 2012, 08:59:47 AM »
Some kids may beg for the buyer to promise a preminum, that is not right in my opion, our buyers say they really like the face to face invites. I can tell you of four buyers right now that will only buy from a face to face invite. This type of invite helps the kids break thru a shell if they are shy. My oldest son is not shy in the least, until it comes to invite the buyers, because he is asking a person to spend alot of money. We are a small operation, we don't spend tens of thousands of dollars each year with some of the potenial buyers, so asking them is a hard thing to do when others do spend a chunck of change with some of the buyers. I understand the advertising thing, what does the kid learn by not inviting thru a letter and/or a personal visit. If the parnents leave cussing and ticked off because the buyer dosen't promise a premium, I guess it's time for the parents to GROW UP a little, the sale is a oppertunity for the child not a right.
 
I disagree with the County Board doing the inviting, again what does that teach our children. My thought is "Let's do a project, and the county board will do all the inviting, that's great less work I gotta do."

The picture thing is a great idea, we did that this year, every buyer we had visited so far thought it was a great extra touch, helps remind them of who did the asking, and who cares about thier project. What a great reminder at auction time, put a name with the face and the animal.   

Every program is different, but our committee attempts to keep the pricing of the calves on a fairly equal level based on placings. We try to avoid what others have mentioned here-one family's calves bringing way more because they run the "big operation" and deal with all the feed and seed suppliers, banks etc. The kids are assigned ads to sell in our show book that we use for promotion. They are also encouraged to find a "freezer" buyer for their calf. This past year 59 out of 60 calves were sold back into the community in halves or wholes at a 10-15 cent premium. The kids are urged to notify the committee of any prospective  buyers they know who may be interested in sponsoring a calf. The committee will follow up with them just to make sure they understand how the program works. Not saying this process is any better than one where the kids do all the inviting, just explaining the logic behind it.

 

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