*Today’s article is a
version of a
Huffington Post blog on Modern Dating.
A Modern Farmer’s Guide to Grain Marketing
The rules of grain marketing change continuously!
Twenty years ago, most grain buyers and sellers worked with people from their immediate social and geographic circles. Today, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Barchart, Kijiji or Agfinity.com, most people, whether they realize it or not, are savvy, online grain marketers.
Technology makes marketing easier, but, in some ways, also more challenging. With the illusion of limitless choice, some buyers and sellers can have a hard time settling down.
Technology has also brought forth a few unfortunate grain marketing habits! Three of the biggest tendencies you are likely to experience are ghosting, benching, zombieing and catfishing. Here’s how to know when they’re happening to you and how to handle them.
Ghosting is when a grain buyer or seller “dumps” you, but doesn’t tell you about it. No more calls… no more texts… Just silence.
It could happen after a single conversation or after a full-fledged, multi-crop year grain marketing relationship. Obviously, the longer you were working with the person, the more it hurts.
Continued attempts at communication won’t help! For whatever reason, they aren’t interested in continuing the relationship. But you deserve someone who wants to buy your grain, or someone who wants to sell to you.
Their loss really…
Benching is when someone keeps your grain “on the bench” or in the “back of the bag” or the “bottom of the bin“. They’re not that into it, but they’re not ready to cut all ties, either. Your grain might be “good enough” and they want to keep it as an option.
Unlike ghosting, it can be tricky to know when you’re being benched. After all, you’re probably not in a committed grain marketing relationship, so you might not be able to tell if a buyer is taking it slow or benching you.
More likely than not, the buyer likes you, but for whatever reason, wants to keep your grain at auger’s length. Maybe it has a slight odour. Maybe they prefer something a little heavier or a little plumper. Worst case scenario – they’re using you for market information, a convenient chat on weather, or some other benefit they feel you provide.
If you are happy with having an occasional, casual phone call / text exchange with the person, then no harm done… However, if you are hoping this buyer will come to their senses and enter into a committed grain contract with you, you must find the strength to walk away.
Hold out for the buyer who sees your grain the way you see it. Sometimes, it might mean a lower price, but at least you’ll be on the same page.
To be zombied is to have a buyer or seller you care about disappear from your life altogether, sometimes for multiple crop years, only to have them try to bring the relationship back from the dead with an out-of-the-blue text or email. Some people go full-blown – a phone call, an old-school letter, or showing up in person somewhere they know you’ll be, like the coffee shop, or the local UFA. The point is – a grain marketing contact from your past rises from the metaphorical dead and wants back in your bins!
The zombie might want a quick load and they think you’ll be game. Or they might also be feeling regret, or genuinely didn’t intend to let you slip out of their rolodex.
Ask yourself – was this grain marketing relationship one that I would want to re-live? Was I treated fairly and paid on time? … If it was dysfunctional the first time around, chances are it will be again.
A catfish is someone who creates a false grain offer. Catfishing is common on non-regulated grain marketing sites, and runs rampant at local coffee shops throughout the country.
Everyone knows a catfish! Sometimes, a catfish’s sole purpose is to innocently engage in grain marketing fantasy. For example, $4/bushel for their 45 lb six-row, spring-threshed barley containing wild oats, volunteer canola and “a few deer droppings here and there”… The only difference is, they marketed it as heavy two-row barley, harvested last fall…
If you think you might be dealing with a catfish, it’s usually best to walk away fast. In the end, good intentions or not, you’re both going to get hurt.
Do you have a trendy grain marketing term we could add to our glossary!?
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