How many ways are there to get sales increases?
Every field seller knows there are just two: get new buyers and sell more to current ones. As simple as that sounds, many companies continue to struggle to get the increases they need. Why? Because they stop selling. Instead, they spend time listening to problems that exist in the marketplace which could ultimately do only one thing—put them out of business. With the proper training, sales increases are always possible.
Over the past few months I’ve asked field sellers how many new customers they’ve gotten this year and how many current buyers have made an increase since last year. I hear plenty of excuses why neither one has happened, but I don’t get any real reasons. They say uncooperative weather delayed decision making all summer and into harvest. They tell me low market prices have made farmers grumpy and unsure of their ability to get credit. And they claim a badly damaged crop slowed harvest, negatively affecting farmer attitudes. That kind of thinking does one thing—it gets salespeople to avoid selling.
The problem is not the weather, the markets, the farmer’s ability to get credit, or the harvest season. The problem is that companies are allowing their salespeople to stop selling before sales goals are met. When the talk in the marketplace is about farmers struggling to get financing, do you actually listen? When Mother Nature is not cooperating, do you actually believe it’s not a good time to call on farmers? When farmers say they’re not ready to talk about buying seed for next year, do you allow your salespeople to stop trying to make sales? I hope not, because you can never stop selling.
In a business like ours, laden with variables, you must avoid thinking like everyone else and do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. Call sales strategy meetings with your sales force. Make sure they’re riding harvesters with all growers, especially when your products aren’t performing the best. Ask your salespeople to be with growers when farmers say they don’t want them there. Never stop selling. Armed with over 40 years in the business, I teach salespeople how to sell regardless of 1,000-plus factors.
Weather, market prices, crop conditions, and attitudes are facts. But when you have goal and a mission, facts don’t matter.