Remember to thank your bidders as well as your buyers

Thanking everyone who bid on your market livestock animal can influence your potential market and provide a good networking opportunity for next year’s sale.

The fair has come to a close. The excitement of the livestock auction has passed. If you promoted your market livestock project well and networked with potential buyers, chances are you had multiple bidders offering that extra nickel or dime per pound during the sale. You probably gave the highest bidder who purchased your animal a buyer’s gift as a gesture of your appreciation. You may have even taken a photo of you, your animal and your buyer after the sale. Hopefully, you also sent them a follow up thank-you note or even took out an ad in the local newspaper thanking the buyer for their purchase.

Most veteran market livestock sellers will tell you the importance of multiple bidders at an auction. General knowledge about auctions and bidders tells us increasing the number of people bidding increases the competitiveness because the bidder’s perceived probability of winning is lower and prompts more aggressive bidding.

So, I pose this question to you: Did you also thank the other people who bid on your animal at the auction? It may have been a friend of the family or even your grandparents that incited the culture of competition at the auction that raised your final price per pound.

Sending a thank-you note is seen as a courteous and thoughtful gesture and can influence your future networking opportunities with potential buyers. A little pre-planning needs to take place to ensure you know who was bidding on your animal. Have a friend, fellow 4-H member or family member attend the auction and pay attention to who is bidding on your animal. Have them record the bidder numbers. You may even be able to obtain a list of bidders and their numbers from the auction. If this is not the case, return to the sale and find the bidders yourself and get their contact information. Minimally, find out their name or the name of the business they were representing so you can follow up after the fair. A few minutes of investigating and a handwritten thank-you note can influence your potential market and provide a good networking opportunity for next year’s sale.

Need help writing a thank-you note? Michigan 4-H offers tips to writing a thank-you note. The recently published “Youth Business Guide to Success: Make the Most of Your 4-H Market Animal Project” by Michigan State University Extension also offers a unit on writing thank-you notes in addition to many other resources focusing on the business, financial management and communications side of raising and selling market animals.

To learn more about the “Youth Business Guide to Success: Make the Most of Your 4-H Market Animal Project” curriculum, consider registering for and attending an overview webinar on the Youth Business Guide to Success curriculum. The next webinar will be Sept. 22, 2016, at 2:30 p.m. The curriculum is also available for purchase at the MSU Extension Bookstore.

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