Grow Your Customer Relationships
So, you’ve embraced the concept of consultative sales training; you understand your responsibility as a trusted advisor to be attentive and to put your client first, and you’re ready to take your new mandate to the field.
But, before you go charging into the unknown, one last question: Are you truly an expert on your client’s business and industry? I mean, have you REALLY taken the time to understand the landscape?
We work with a lot of agricultural clients at The Brooks Group with our Agricultural Sales Training Program, so for us, “landscape” isn’t just a parable – it’s the verdant ground upon which our clients trod. And if you are planning to go toe-to-toe with your agriculture buyer, you’ll need to walk the walk even better than you talk the talk.
Whether you are working with agricultural buyers or others with a very specific and narrow market, here’s how to work from the top down to arm yourself with the insights you’ll need to resonate with relevance.
4 Keys to Agricultural Sales
- The 30,000-foot view: It’s simply not enough to be an expert only on your client’s business, or on the industry. You need to be knowledgeable on what I call the full value chain – in the agriculture business, that means everything from what drives consumers, to trends on the horizon, to what’s driving the next decisions in the food chain, to what growers need to do to stay relevant.
- A look at the competitive marketplace: Next, you’ll want to understand how your buyers’ competitive interests are conducting their business – everything from the speed of manufacturing, to time to market, to supply chain. Being able to fully encompass that and understand it is extremely important in creating a win-win for your buyer.
- One-on-one, from ground level: With the insights gained in steps 1 and 2, above, you should be able to have a detailed discussion about your buyers’ unique strategic advantages. Here is where your pedigree as an advisor comes into play. Now is not the time to come across slick and eager to make the sale. To the contrary: You should be focused on how to deliver on what you say you can. This requires an honest understanding of whether your product is a good fit, right now, for your buyers’ needs.
As an example, let’s say you know your customer needs a certain type of seasonal vegetable seed, and they have a specific time window in which to buy it. That will likely eliminate a percentage of buyers from closing a sale right now. For the rest, you can likely set up a demo trial, so they can see, touch, and feel it, and make sure the vegetable meets their standards for disease resistance and other characteristics.
Questions you’ll want to ask at this phase to qualify whether your product is right: What is the strategic advantage of your product to the buyer? How is the product and your company different than others in its field? What can you do better than anybody else in the industry? And how can you help create a solution that really fills the need?
- Your personal brand: Remember what we said at the outset – you understand the importance of consultative selling. If you are going to be the go-to person in your industry, you need your personal brand to exude trust. You want to be the person that people come to for information and market knowledge, and because they know that if you say something, it’s credible. That doesn’t mean you come charging into the room and say, “You need this bar of soap because it’s the best in the world.” You’re there to ask, “What do you enjoy about your bathing experience?” By starting in this manner, you can connect on a level that transcends the traditional seller/buyer paradigm.
Agriculture sales training programs from The Brooks Group teach your sales force how to differentiate from the competition and establish trustful, long-term relationships with customers. Your team will learn to use a structured, consultative sales training process to guide them through every interaction with prospects–from getting their message in front of the right people, to building value and winning sustainable sales at premium prices.
For more than 40 years, The Brooks Group has partnered with sales organizations around the globe—helping them to hire, train, coach, and develop salespeople and sales managers to reach maximum performance levels.
The Roles of Urgency and Patience in Consultative Selling
Emerging technology and unlimited access to information has changed the sales landscape—putting buyers more in control than ever before. These changes require your salesforce to transition to a consultative selling approach, or get left behind.