When Calmer Corn Head hosts a pre-harvest clinic, Marion Calmer, owner, uses the timeline below to organize the day.
9:00-9:30: Coffee and registration. Customers have a chance to mingle and meet the technicians that put the equipment together.
9:30: Classroom learning. Classroom portion begins with customer introductions. To kick things off, Calmer invites the attendees to introduce themselves, sharing where they are farm and how the past season went. “It can be funny because everyone has a sense of humor about it,” Calmer says.
10:00: Agronomics discussion. Calmer says the first phase of the classroom session is focused on moving to narrow row corn. They don’t use this time to try and sell the customers anything, but instead they discuss new technologies. While Calmer does most of the talking himself, he invites farmers who had a good experience to share their ideas. “Outsiders can lend something to the event,” he says.
11:00: Break time. Calmer warns that after about 60 minutes of sitting the audience’s attention begins to wane. “They need a break after eating doughnuts and drinking all that coffee,” he jokes.
11:15: Back to the classroom. The discussion then moves on to additional agronomic information, fertilizer rates and populations and how to set up the machines. Calmer spends about 45 minutes presenting and then opens up the room for questions.
12:00: Lunch time. Calmer Corn Heads provides a lunch for the attendees as a thank you. “If they take time out of their busy schedule, drive and maybe stay overnight, the least we can do is buy lunch. It’s a time for them to relax, check on markets or catch up on emails. We turn them loose and they start chit-chatting with others. It’s a chance for customers to encourage each other to buy products from you,” Calmer says.
1:00-1:45: Back to the classroom. After lunch the classroom discussion focuses on why Calmer Corn Heads does what it does. They will show pictures and use examples of problems farmers might run into in the field and then discuss the machine’s solution to the problem.
1:45: Live demonstration. After the classroom portion wraps up, Calmer gives a live demonstration in the shop with a cornstalk, showing the features of the header. It’s at this point that he gets into the sales pitch.
3:00: Wrap it up. Calmer says he likes to wrap up the event by 3 p.m. so customers can drive home that night.