3 Facts about Selling in Agribusiness

Unique thoughts that can help you when selling on-farm

  1. Sales success is boring

Sounds crazy, but to achieve success, you have to put up with spending 99% of your time on tedious, monotonous, and boring tasks just to have that 1% of successful moments.  Spiking the ball in sales might be when a prospect agrees to buy from you, that moment you are recognized at the sales meeting, or maybe when a customer thanks you for all you have done for them.

If you add up all those moments in your sales career, my guess is that it’s actually less than 1% of your total time.  The rest of your time (99%) is spent on boring tasks:

  • Completing the mountain of paperwork, emails, or texts it takes to keep a sales territory running.
  • Sitting through lectures, webinars, reading tech bulletins, or researching to remain as technically competent as possible in your busy life.
  • Anything to do with accounts receivables and collecting on them.
  • Fixing an internal mistake such as returning a product that was shipped wrong, or to the wrong location.  Doing damage control.  Ever drive down the road and wonder why the customer service department can’t “just put the order in correctly? How hard can it be?”
  • Prospecting a potential customer for the 10th time and not having a clue whether you will ever sell them or not.  Might not be boring, but often is emotionally challenging.

These aren’t exciting at all.  They are difficult, challenging and leave us drained at the end of the day.  Skip them and success slips away.  Avoid them and the 1% drops to maybe half a percent.  So, when I say sales success is boring, I don’t mean those moments when you achieve success.  I am referring to the 99% of your time spent on boring tasks it takes to be a success.

2. What customer problem are you solving? Focus on it.

This topic is so important for salespeople to remember.  Customers do business with you because you solve a problem.  Your company and your marketing department design products, which they think uniquely solve a customer’s problem.  However, they have to design them so they cover as wide of an audience as possible.  This means they don’t always solve your customer’s exact problems.  Said another way, your customers don’t care how great your products are.  They only care about how they help them solve their problems.

What to do?

  • Communicate heavily with your marketing department, early, often, and always.  Seek first to understand what they are trying to design.  Then help them understand what you see in your market.
  • Talk about your customer’s problems before ever talking about your products.  Soon, you will go out to call on customers and you will start the conversation with your current promotion or current pricing program.  Maybe, it’s an early order program, a summer load-up sale.  Stop it!  Those are your problems, not your customers.  I don’t care if you only have ten minutes to talk with them.  Spend it on their problems and then you can talk about how your special promotion can help.  If you run out of time, let them know you have a solution and you can come back soon to tell them about it.

3. Even the Lone Ranger wasn’t Alone!

Ever use the term “Lone Ranger” to describe someone who goes it alone or never asks for help?  Sure, I have too.  Many times.  In sales, we typically use it to negatively describe a salesperson who doesn’t work well with others.  They don’t ask for help and often, they aren’t helpful to their coworkers or manager. 

If you are one of these lone rangers, you may like it.  You might even think you are better off because you “do your own thing”. 

The problem that none of us ever realized when using that phrase is that the Lone Ranger wasn’t alone.  He had Tonto (Jay Silverheels).  His trusty partner in solving crimes.  Almost a forgotten character but definitely bailed out the lone ranger when the going got tough.

Today, you are going to be out there all alone on sales calls.  You are going to feel like the lone ranger.  Riding in on your white horse (pickup truck) and making things better for your customers.  Just remember, Tonto (your co-worker) is there too.

Have a great rest of your sales week and if you enjoy these articles, send them to someone you know who might find them helpful as well.

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