By Frank Lessiter, Chairman
From the Lessiter Lore column of the April 2019 Lessiter Link newsletter
About a year after we purchased the Winning Hoops coaching newsletter in 1995, I took a phone call from an Iowa high school coach.
Pulling off the road, he asked for the price to obtain a copy of every issue of the 6-times a year newsletter — 60 issues and totaling about 1,000 pages.
I told him we didn't have extra copies of all the newsletters that had been produced since the publication got its start in September 1986, He argued we had one copy of each newsletter and told me to run them off on the copy machine.
When he asked for a price, I balked. He repeated several times that he wanted an immediate price and didn't care that I had no clue how to price it. I caved and off the top of my head gave him a $425 price. He immediately handed over his credit card number and we started copying more than 1,000 pages.
From that experience came the idea for the "Everything But The Kitchen Sink" project which feature all of the educational materials we've done with No-Till Farmer and American Farriers Journal. These packages include most of the special reports and books we've produced over the years.
The "American Farriers Journal Kitchen Sink" package includes 4,088 pages of valuable information in 41 reports and 15 books (including the 9-book "Farrier Classic" series) and is priced at $553.96.
Meanwhile, the "No-Till Kitchen Sink" includes 2,527 pages of valuable information in 37 reports and 8 books priced at $399.95.
Over a recent 2-year period, we sold $1,987 of "No-Till Kitchen Sink" packages. The "AFJ Kitchen Sink" package is part of the "Rising Shoeing Star" sponsorship package that honors outstanding farriers in the 3rd year of their career. Each of the 3 yearly winners and their schools receive an "AFJ Kitchen Sink" package. And promoting them more, we can naturally sell more of these "Kitchen Sink" packages. Plus, it's one more way of repurposing our valuable educational material.
One of these days, I look forward to pulling together a "Cover Crop Kitchen Sink" package.
One winter day in 2006, a half dozen farmers from the Ukraine visited our old offices. They worked for one of the largest private farms in Europe, a farm with 64,000 acres of no-till ground rented from 1,200 landlords. They also produced meat and eggs from 2,800 ostriches, milk from 1,800 dairy cows and turned out 190,000 hogs a year.
Before they left that day, they purchased a copy of every NTF newsletter and magazine produced since 1972. That meant copying more than 4,500 pages from around 450 issues. I think we charged them over $1,000.
6,080 Pages of No-Till Info
For each of the first 19 National No-Tillage Conferences (NNTC), we produced a 320-page "No-Till Farmer's Strategies, Techniques and Tactics Guaranteed to Increase Your No-Till Profits" manual. With a $69.95 price tag, it included hundreds of reprinted pages of no-till ideas from our publications, other farm magazines and university handouts along with inserts from the event's co-sponsors. It was among a half dozen "No-Till Bonus Value" items offered to encourage NNTC attendance.
The printing bill that first year for around 900 copies was about $6,000. Doing her part as the company's "finance guru," Pam Lessiter suggested we sell these reports to subscribers to cover the cost of printing the manual. I told her I didn't want to discount the prince from the $69.95 attendee value, and that I felt readers would not pay that much for the report. She argued that I didn't know that to be true, and she didn't give up.
I reluctantly offered the report to our subscribers at the $69.95 price. Yep, we sold for than 90 of these 320-page no-till manuals and fully covered the $6,000 printing bill. (One more example of the many times I should have listened more closely to my wife.)
We continued doing these annual NNTC reports until 2012 when Darrell came up with the idea of providing the same kind of extensive information on a CD for attendees. But in 19 years, we had provided NNTC attendees with over 6,000 pages of printed "no-till bonus" materials.
It all started with a phone call from a basketball coach. And that call led to what we now refer to as the "Everything But The Kitchen Sink" packages for both NTF and AFJ.