The #1 Advanced Ag Selling Skill

Pre-Selling the Sale

Got a tough sale coming up?  Maybe a price increase? Maybe your company is dropping one of your favored product lines and you are faced with switching your customers to a different product.  Maybe your marketing department just sent you the new promotional plan for the quarter?

These are all real-life scenarios that we face as salespeople.  None of them are easy to execute when standing face-to-face with our customers.  They don’t like change and these changes are typically not in their favor. 

So, what do you do?  How do you feel good about calling on all fifty of your customers and having this negative conversation?  Maybe you could tell them you’re doing it for their own good.  Go ahead and do that.  Then send me a note telling me how bad that conversation went.

Instead, let’s look at an advanced selling skill, which I call Pre-Selling the sale.  It’s so easy but takes a little extra time.  Trust me.  The time you spend doing this will save you a mountain of pain and possible embarrassment. 

To Pre-Sell the sale, all you need is a small subgroup of representative customers.  You might call them your mini-board of directors.  The selection of these customers is critical.  They need to be representative of your sales territory and representative of a decent volume of your business.  One more characteristic about them is what I call a bomb-proof customer.  They need to be someone you trust and who trusts you a lot.  They aren’t going to be offended and quit you if you pre-sell them on a really bad product or program.  This is critical so you can be comfortable sharing info with them in confidence before the final product is out.

Now, take your new product or program out to these “bomb-proof customers” and show them your beta version.  Explain to them that they are seeing this as a beta version.  It’s not final but it’s what you or your company is “thinking of doing”. 

Let them think about it and give you feedback on how it might work.  Most importantly, ask for all the ways it might not work. 

There were some significant errors in products, services, and programs avoided by this one small step. 

Why do companies not do this?

  • It takes time.  It’s one more step but absolutely worth the time and effort
  • We may get feedback we don’t like.  We really like what we created.  Now, we have to go back to the drawing board because we added an ingredient in our feed we shouldn’t or we didn’t accommodate the small farmer in our program or we would be unfairly charging a big customer too much, etc.
  • We think we know more than the customers.  This is a big one, especially for the bigger Ag companies.  Maybe you have a large marketing department that hires out market research.  The struggle is that a research group doesn’t understand the intricate details of taking a product all the way through to the end users.  Secondly, people will say one thing on a survey but do the exact opposite when they go to spend their money. 

To avoid these areas altogether, assemble your team of experts and Pre-Sell your great idea to some of your best customers.

Or, launch a product that you haven’t ground-proofed with an actual customer.  Then when it doesn’t sell, blame the customers for not being smart enough to understand what a great deal it is. Just kidding, that was sarcasm.

FYI, Pre-Selling the sale works great for co-workers, managers, and in your personal life.  Try it today!

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