3 Ways to focus your selling process on Outcomes
As salespeople, one of our greatest fears is to appear pushy or annoying to our customers. This is especially true in Ag. Many of you grew up on a farm and saw how irritated your parents became when certain salespeople stopped by your farm.
Prior to sales training workshops, I spend a lot of time interviewing the salespeople that will attend. After many years of doing this, one problem seems to come through in every company I work with. The salesperson struggles with how hard to push for a sale and when to back away. Their solution is to inform customers about their products and then let the customer make the decision. Most err too far on the go easy-back-off strategy.
The problem with this strategy is that it doesn’t give the salesperson the results they want. They want to push harder. They want to follow up sooner with the customer and explain more about their products. Yet they don’t out of fear of pushing.
The real solution to this problem starts in the mind of the salesperson. It has nothing to do with the customer at all. Here are three thoughts to consider:
1. Customers are not in your Selling Process. You are part of their Buying Process
There are hundreds or maybe thousands of different selling processes out there. There are 5-step selling processes, 7 step. I was once trained on a 9-step selling process. Here’s a revelation I like to share. Nobody wants to be put in your process. They don’t want to be part of your sales funnel. However, 100% of them are in their own buying process. They may not know it, but they have a way or process of making purchases.
This shift in thought process may seem like such a small twist of saying the same thing, but it completely shifts your way of selling.
At a trade show, I stopped by a booth and talked with a recent graduate. He just got his Precision Ag degree. His struggle was what to do with that degree. Of course, I asked about his interest in sales. “Oh, no way. I don’t want to go out and force farmers to do things they don’t want to”, he said. I couldn’t let it go. I asked him, “Is that what you think salespeople do?” He replied, “That’s what I saw salespeople do on my parent’s farm.” I moved on as he was absolute in his conviction. However, the important lesson for us is that we don’t “do” anything to our customers. We help them on their journey through their buying process. We help them solve their problems.
2. Nobody wants to be a pushy salesperson
Is your doctor a drug pusher? Do you think your doctor wakes up in the morning and says, “I don’t want my patients to think I’m just pushing drugs at them. I better just inform them about their disease and then let them decide.” Of course, they don’t. I think most, hopefully, all of them wake up and think, “I am solving medical problems for my patients.” They diagnose your problem and then sell you an outcome: the best outcome in your best interest, based on their experience.
I want you to feel the same way. When you get that feeling of being pushy or that fear creeps into your mind and prevents you from turning down the farm driveway, I want you to remember that you are there to provide outcomes: the best outcomes in their best interest, based on your experience.
3. Not one farmer wakes up in the morning and says, “I hope another salesperson calls on me today…. Or, I can’t wait to spend more money on planting these fields and raising my livestock!”
When I say this comment in my training workshops, it always gets a laugh. The audience laughs because they know it’s true. Often, a salesperson will tell me they want their customers to want them on their farm. The sad truth for everyone is that nobody wants to spend money or go to a doctor, or go see their lawyer. Nobody wants to buy your expensive nitrogen or hire you to sample their forages. They want to farm. That’s why they are farmers. However, every customer wants to solve their problems. Every customer wants outcomes. Your role as a salesperson is to make sure you are solving them – AND – communicating how you solve problems with your products. The product is not the focus of the sale nor the focus of your discussion.
The focus of everything is the outcome!
Bonus tip: Listen to the podcast episode for an extra tip on how I can prove this concept to you! And that gives you the outcome you are looking for.