Put your customer in the driver’s seat

Quit talking and let them test drive your products

My friend Jim got up to the podium to make his presentation.  Everyone before him had great PowerPoint presentations.  He had nothing.  His opening line was, “I’m sorry I don’t have any pictures.  So, you’ll have to settle for my thousand words”.  It was a great way to self-deprecate and connect to the audience.  And he was a great speaker.  His presentation went well.  But honestly, I can’t remember a word he said.

Why?  Because humans don’t think in words.  We think in pictures and video clips that we play over and over in our mind.  And we especially think in pictures and videos that we were part of.  To help audiences understand this, I ask them to think of their best and worst moments in sales.  Then, I ask them if they imagined those two events as a short video in their mind or in words or spreadsheet format.  Most remember it as a video that they play in their mind or maybe a snapshot picture of the scene.  I have yet to have someone say they remember a really good Excel spreadsheet.

The picture enclosed is what I drew up as the order of learning.  As someone who runs training programs every week, I needed some way to explain to my audiences the importance of putting their customers in the driver’s seat of their products.  Our customers are called on by an army of salespeople.  They need some way to remember us when they go to buy our products. By moving your selling process up the Ladder of Learning, you increase your chances of being selected.

Too many of us in sales want to talk and explain our products or services.  We love to use data to prove our selling points.  While data is important, it’s too forgettable.  We need to bump our customers up the retention scale of learning.  Getting them as far to the right as possible.

By using a demo or real-life experience, we don’t have to use any of those other techniques to make our point.  Ever shop for a car at a dealership?  I’m willing to bet that you were given a test drive almost immediately.  Why? Because it works and you need to experience the car before you buy it.  I’m also betting they didn’t have the stripped-down basic model for you to try.  It just so happens that they have the platinum model right outside the showroom for you to try.  Now the Platinum model has all the bells and whistles that the basic model does not.

As a frugal buyer, I don’t care nor spend much on “bells and whistles”.  However, when I had the chance to experience heated seats, stow-and-go seats, and power sliding doors, I was sold.  That salesperson could have spent hours explaining their value and it would have been a waste of time.  Not until I experienced them was I convinced.  Same thing with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Prime, and soon the NFL channel.  I was a staunch avoider of these subscriptions.  During the pandemic, we tried Netflix thanks to my son giving us a subscription as a present.  That trial run turned into 4 years, the purchase of several more channels, and we canceled cable.

So, how can you put your farmers and Ag buyers in the driver’s seat of your products and services?

  • For physical products, it’s fairly easy to bring an actual sample to the farm.  This is especially important when you have a product or packaging detail that sets you apart.  A free sample. 
  • Demo your Difference – feature and highlight those aspects that are different from your competition.  Mention that you have all the basics too, but here is the feature/benefit that is unique to us.
  • Bring your customer to the demo or facility – If you have a great facility or great people in your production, distribution, or admin locations, then bring customers to it. 
  • Bring your prospects to your customers – Create your in-person version of Yelp.  There is no better testimonial for you than for a prospect to meet one of your current customers.

Good luck employing these techniques and enjoy the fact that you don’t have to use thousands of words to explain the benefits of doing business with you.

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