What business are you in?

Please answer the following question….and state your response out loud.  

"What business are you in?"

Perhaps your answer was something like "I farm, teach, manage the home, and lead my family." Or, "We raise corn and soybeans, manage the dairy, run a cow/calf operation, farrow or finish hogs, feed cattle, raise poultry, grow vegetables, fruits, or forage." I understand what you're saying. We speak the same language.

But, what if the person who asks you the question knows absolutely nothing about today's agriculture and you want to be a positive promoter? Would your answer be different?

Here's what I've discovered. When "preaching outside of the agricultural choir" to those who know little of our business, we need adifferent song book- one with an inviting cover, a catchy tune, crescendos and phrasing and a depth behind meaningful lyrics that ties the notes together and keeps the song in their heads.

Here's what you'd find in my Agvocacy Song Book:

An inviting cover: Are you approachable? Much of an invitation for introductory or curious dialogue begins with the non-verbal messages - a friendly smile, respectful eye contact, acknowledgement of interpersonal space preferences, open body posture, and attentiveness to who and what is around you. This may be second nature when we are around friends. Yet when surrounded by "newcomers" we tend to ignore, look down or walk away. Or, we may actually be willing to defend and confront, rather than engage in a much needed dialogue. It's the "invitation" to interact that is the first step in "agvocating for agriculture."

A catchy tune: When asked, "What business are you in?" I often respond that I am in the consumer service and products industry. The vagueness in my response invites a question, so be ready. They ask, "What do you make?" And I share, "The food for your family, the clothing on your back and the fuel for your car. I am an American Farmer." And then I add…."By the way, do you breathe oxygen?  I make it! I make it by the acres full."  Laughter follows and the conversation continues.   

Crescendos and phrasing: As I question and listen to others, connections to their personality, joys, frustrations, work and home evolve. I'm listening for their values and needs. Once what I do is matched to what they require, utilize or desire, we've made that important bridge to agriculture. Remember, the value of what we do is in the eye of the purchaser, not the producer.

Meaningful lyrics: You and I must know the "words" or the facts and figures of our job. For me, this means I must research and stay current on the uses and value of the agriculture products I raise on our farm. Oh, yes, emotion sells, but basing that emotion on sound science and facts is an enticing combination.

During conversations, I also find others expressing an opinion or position quite different than mine, or different from the facts. So, I listen to their comment/opinion, and ask, "Wow. Do you suppose that's true?  I'd love to confirm that information. Would you please share your source with me?" And, then I share what I have learned from my credible resources.

Remember, the underlying purpose of "agvocacy" is to dialogue, not confront. It is to accurately offer the value of our products and services for others, and to learn from them. It is to build a relationship so others will come to those who understand agriculture for information about agriculture.

Jolene Brown, CSP

Jolene Brown is a farmer, professional speaker, author and champion for the family owned business. She's from West Branch, Iowa, USA, and travels worldwide sharing leading-edge best practices that have the power to increase productivity, profitability and peace of mind. Her passion combined with her fun-filled spirit and valuable information brings humor, hope and helpful ideas to the people of agriculture. For more information and to check out her speaking availability, contact her at Jolene@JoleneBrown.com, www.JoleneBrown.com

Full Rights Consent.  Jolene Brown LLC, West Branch, Iowa, USA, maintains full rights to utilize the content and/or format of all materials submitted by her for the www.PinkTractor.com website in any future speaking, writing, audio, video or electronic format.

Copyright © 2015 Jolene Brown, LLC. All Rights Reserved
Reproduction granted for PinkTractor.com by Jolene Brown

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