Our direct experience has shown that, in certain agribusiness companies, our workers are feeling the strain of the public debate over food. Has it hit your place yet?
We train our sales people about features and benefits, about how to overcome objections, and about how to close the sale. We guide and train these people but what do we do for the rest of our staffs? And even for our sales people, maybe we haven’t adequately prepared them as well as we could have on talking points and their behaviors. What are you doing to help them deal with emotions and to help them regain their personal confidence through “words that work”?
The words we choose certainly make a definite difference in our relationships with spouses, children, and co-workers. In our business lives, our choice of words can make or break a sales situation, cause a customer service moment to turn ugly, or strike a chord that conveys instant understanding. In fact, our words, in part, define our customers’ experience. Agribusiness companies have employees who take the brunt of the sometimes sensationalized debate home with them. It’s our job to seize upon this time as one of additional education and communication to relieve their stress and to help them use words that work when confronted.
The business model of agribusiness is self-contained, highly complex, and had been virtually hidden from public view until the last 10 to 15 years. The recent increase in public awareness, if graphed, would be up and to the right at a steep angle! How much clarity is there really for the public about agribusiness, farming, sustainability, and feeding and clothing the world? Agriculture cannot withstand a repeat performance of what we are witnessing in the public debate over Health Care Reform.
This is a very public example of what agribusiness is in for in the coming months and years. We’re living through a confused, and angry public debate over our nation’s true and real need for Health Care reform. After months of shouting, influence-led proselytizing, and raucous Town Hall meetings, where are we?
The next great public conversation will be about carbon emissions, global warming, and sustainability. This far-reaching, complex, and already highly fractionalized, conversation will include among its topics “cap and trade” versus “cap and tax”, agribusiness, emissions, the industrial food system, farming, and almost everything and everything related. The conversation, if we allow media to dictate it could become even more sensationalized than the one on Health Care Reform. The message gaining strength and credence, and the doubtless ongoing message will be: how we as “the people” must change past practices to create a sustainable future. Let’s keep that message constructive, educational and balanced.
This is a time to unite. Each of us across the value chain, from grower or producer to seedsman to corporate executive, needs to help shape the language of this conversation. For some of us, we need to start inside our very own businesses.