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7 Questions with Larry Nootenboom

Sales Representative, Mount Vernon, WA
Part of the #Connect To 7 Series

1.  Favorite bull in the past five years?
7HO9222 SHOT – He was a bull that was good for both the show guys and the commercial dairyman, and I still have guys using him!

2.  Years you’ve been with All West?

3.  Favorite Road Trip memory?
Well I have lots of them, but one memory that really stands out is a fishing trip!  Several years ago, a customer who had his own plane & pilot’s license, flew to Burlington, picked up Maynard (Axelson) and I, flew us back to Chimacum where we spent the entire day shrimping and then flew us back.  Yes, we caught a LOT of shrimp that day, but how great is that?  A customer thinks enough of us to spend some spare time off the dairy with us!  The friendships you make through this work are just as important as the business deals you do.  Of course, there have been some legendary baseball trips with other members of the All West group, but we’ll save those stories for another time!

4.  Approximate number of miles traveled in a month?

5.  First job at All West?
I was a technician.  Working 27 days straight was a hard job, but it was very rewarding to work with my customers.  To be a technician you have to have grit and be able to work some grueling hours.  I grew up in the dairy industry and when I was younger, I thought I didn’t want anything to do with cows.  So at an early age, I got a job at Skipper’s Fish Chips & Chowder, and knew after working there for a while that I wanted to work with people.  I loved it – got a huge charge out of it.  But I did miss the cows.  I guess I needed to get away from the dairy industry to realize how much I loved genetics…and I still love genetics.  When I was a kid, I would devour new bull books.  That hasn’t changed over time either!  

6.  Customers….business partners or family?
I love working in an industry where I get to take care of people.  The days of high pressure sales are over.  It’s more about relationships and building something together.  We’re no different than our customers.  We like doing business with people we enjoy, and I truly enjoy the teamwork aspect of this job.

When you think about it, it’s so hard to build relationships on an arm.  That’s replaceable.  What ELSE do we bring to the table – whether we’re a technician or a salesman – what else can we bring?  SRS is a huge tool we have underutilized.  We need to distinguish ourselves from the rest of our competitors and SRS provides a herd management system that’s unique.  As guys get bigger and bigger dairies, we need to earn their trust.  It’s a challenge, and it takes time.  And it takes a shift in your own thinking.  Some of the bigger dairies have owners who don’t have time to look at their own cows.  If you take time to do that, you’ve earned their trust.  You’ve expressed an interest in their business and you’ve solidified yourself as the genetic expert for their operation.

7.  Best advice you’ve ever gotten…or given!
If you haven’t made a sale in a place before, you’ve got nothing to lose by trying, but you’ve got a lot to gain so handle cold calls carefully.  And…be genuine.  It might take a few times to call on a producer repeatedly before you make a sale.  Immediate action is NOT required.  The longer it takes to earn the business, the longer it takes to lose it.



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