Jabber Sheep Farm
Ewes & other
Marketing your Lamb
4-H or FFA
Advertising - aka "Marketing" your 4-H or FFA Project Animal
We've been in the auction business for over 39 years and during that time have been very involved with 4-H and FFA kids and their market animal projects. It is very important to learn marketing skills to get your animal sold for a good price. Do not rely on showing up at the auction ring without prospective bidders and expect to do well. You need a minimum of two possible buyers at an auction. The second one is to push the bids of the first bidder.
Write letters and talk to prospective
bidders. These can be mailed or delivered directly.
Letters can include: a hold the date/ introduction sent early and then a reminder or follow up about 30 - 20 days out from the auction. When writing, remember: Who, What, Why, When, & Where
If at all possible, drop off the letter personally. Talk with the potential buyer and invite them to the auction persoanlly.
Who: Introduce and promote yourself - let people know about you and your project. When writing letters, tell either your age or what grade you are in. State your experience in raising your animal (how many years you have been in 4-H or FFA).
What: Promote your animal - Tell what type and breed of animal you have. Provide a photo of you and your animal if at all possible. Computers and digital photos are great. Let the prospective buyers know why they should buy YOUR animal. Use facts about the way you are raising your animal: type of feed (this is very important for many buyers), how long on feed, how much your animal weighs and how much you expect it to weigh by sale day.
Why: Let them know why they should come to the auction and buy a meat animal. Explain the high quality and yields they should expect. Let the buyer know what you plan to use the money raised for: purchase another animal, save for college/school or something special.
When & Where:
Don't forget to list the
day, time and location of the auction!
Explain that they can share an animal with other party, encourage them to bring friends. Also explain the ease of buying and that they do not need to handle the animal in anyway. Lastly, Don't be selfish, let buyers know there will be other animals available. The prospective buyer might not like lamb but loves pork. If they attend, they still might offer you an add-on.
Visit prospective bidders and invite them to come see your animal either at your farm or at the fair/event. Make sure you do a follow-up with prospective buyers, especially those that seem highly interested.
Mail, mail and more mail. Even though a bidder might plan on bidding on anther animal, your letter just might encourage them to give you an add-on. Mail to businesses, friends, family, your parents banker, insurance agent, and pretty much anyone your family does business with. Ask your parents for ideas. You want to get them to attend the auction. If they get in free with a letter, make sure you tell them that. If there is a free buyers lunch, let them know.
Don't Set a price you expect to get. Nothing turns off a buyers like a reserve or someone telling them how much they need to spend. DO NOT ask for donations in your letter! Encourage them to attend the auction and be in the stands. If you ask for a donation and they give one, they now have no reason to attend the event. If they attend and fail at the winning bid, they still might offer an add-on. The end result is actually better as they have pushed the bid price and possibly given an add-on.
DO! send out thank you cards to every buyer and supporter. Don't forget sending out to anyone that came out to support you. Make it a point to know who came out to support your sale. Follow-up's can help with a sale next year.
Sign each letter yourself.
Jabber Sheep Farm
Club Lambs - Suffolk Sheep
Jamee Boardman, Mark & LeAnn Boardman
Port Orchard, WA