When I first started at Flint, I had no idea what went on in the world of agriculture or farming. I was intimidated. I had to learn the reasons for the seasons and what goes into baling hay, growing crops and maximizing yields.
While I still have much to learn, after being here for over a year and a half, I find myself speaking the language and noticing the difference in equipment and being able to spot a certain tractor model with the naked eye.
How did I learn an industry? Let me share a few tips!
1. Make sure your employer knows your lack of knowledge on the subject matter.
I made sure in my first interview that my supervisor knew I didn’t grow up on a farm and knew nothing about the ins and outs of the agriculture world. They promised to train me and assured me that over time, I’d get the lay of the land. 😉 Today, I’m a go-to person for all their farming questions.
2. Do your research.
Reading blogs, magazines and brand websites was really helpful while I was first learning the language and becoming more familiar with how to talk about different equipment. Subscribing to farming or livestock newsletters helped me pick up the lingo and what farmers look for when buying equipment, too.
3. YouTube is your best friend.
There is an abundance of information on YouTube from how to change a tire to how to tie a tie. And in the farming world, there are so many farmers in the livestock, dairy and crop industry who film their daily life. Watching them accelerated my knowledge of brands, how to maintain equipment and why farmers buy new vs. used equipment for their farm based on their needs.
4. Use social media to your advantage.
Twitter has been a lifesaver for learning the lingo. I’ve searched #AgTwitter a lot when I wanted to learn more. Most tweets are about the weather and how frustrated farmers are with the forecast, but I also see them selling equipment and commenting. I pick up on their frustrations and try to see how a particular piece of equipment or tool we market can help them. I use that in our marketing to write taglines and copy.
There are so many resources that you probably didn’t know existed. Don’t think that because you know nothing about something right now, you automatically don’t qualify for that job. Tell them you don’t know much about the subject matter but you’re eager to learn. Odds are, you’ve got a good chance at nailing the job.
At Flint, one of our values in “Stay curious and open-minded.” I’ve found that means learning never stops! It’s helped me continue to increase what I know about the ag industry and my specialty.
Finding your voice takes time, but it’s absolutely possible.