When salesmen call on the farm, we're hard to find

When salesmen call on the farm, we're hard to find

Unwanted solicitations can make a farmer flee for cover

I had just walked into the office after spending more than an hour dealing with some bad corn in a grain bin. I was in need of some R&R. It was then I saw through the window out of the corner of my eye a van drive in.

Frequent visitors are common. Then I heard the 'toot toot' of the horn. The dog wasn't around, so I knew what that meant. They wanted to sell something. I could see it was tag team day as there were at least three men in the conversion van. From painting to sand paper to "hot" tool deals (I'll leave "hot" to your interpretation), I think they've tried to sell us everything.

Unwanted solicitations can make a farmer flee for cover. (Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock)

I evaluated the situation. The room lights were off. I knew they couldn't see me through the window. I decided maybe if didn't go out, they would just leave.

No such luck, one of them jumped out and headed for the door. I ducked through the door to the shop area. I left it cracked so I could continue to monitor the visitors. He banged on the door. Then cracked it and hollered "Hello?" Then he went back to the van. They decided to try the house as well. No luck there either.

I came back to the exterior office door and watched as they sat at the end of the drive. It appeared they were each pointing toward farms on the horizon. Finally they chose a destination and pulled out. Whew, I made it undiscovered.

I can't say I'm much better about phone solicitations. I especially dislike it when they call my mobile number.  If I want to buy something, I'll google it or pick up the phone and call a vendor. Please don't call me to sell me something I don't need.

We have been on the "no call list" for years. If the caller doesn't know who they want to talk to, they don't pass the screening. If their survey doesn't pay, they don't get air time. If they can't pre-qualify me, they don't get through (I'm tired of surveys that have a dozen questions to "qualify" me, then I don't qualify. Does anyone actually think that wasn't the survey?).

Finally, the quality of my answers is directly related to the compensation package they are offering.

Maybe I'm too harsh. Maybe I should have gone out to talk to them. After all, a painter once saved us a bunch of money.

It was about 10 or 12 years ago we had him give a quote for painting the grain leg and drop pipes. It came back at $14,000. We politely told him we would opt for a new grain leg instead. That winter, for not a lot more, we ordered a new leg triple the size of our old one. It was later that year steel prices shot through the roof.

He stopped again the next year and inquired about painting again. I think he was taken back when we pointed to the new leg and thanked him. Our action in response to his quote likely saved us 25-33% over waiting another year!

The opinions of Kyle Stackhouse are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or the Penton Farm Progress Group.

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