Seed Seller Training Radio –
To a farmer, the harvest season is the second most important time of each year—second only to the planting season.
As a result, the farmer’s mentality toward salespeople during harvest is, “Don’t bother me, I’m busy.”
But the sales mentality is, “I need to get to farmers to either get a sale or confirm a sale I already had before my competitors do.”
So what does a salesperson do?
Well, if your plan is to wait until all the field work is complete before you start visiting current and prospective customers this fall, then you’re about to commit a deadly mistake.
In this episode of Seed Seller Training Radio, I’ll be talking about your Post-Harvest Strategy—the best strategies for you and your sales team to maximize sales and your time once harvest is over.
In this podcast, I give you three simple steps to follow.
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- #1. In the coming weeks, my brand new eBook titled “Why Seed Sellers Fail — The 14 Biggest Mistakes You Must Avoid” will be available for purchase at www.rcthomas.com. Whether you are brand new to selling seed or a seasoned veteran, you will want to read this eBook and make sure you’re not committing one of the 14 biggest and most dangerous mistakes that cause seed sellers to fail.
- #2. Our brand new audio training program called “How to Handle Price Objections” is now available! This hour-long, hard-hitting audio training program will make sure you can handle Price—the most common and deadly sales objection that stops seed sellers in their tracks.
- #3. If you or your company is interested in live sales training from the R.C. Thomas Company, please visit here — but act soon, as our 2014 spring calendar is filling up fast.
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Show Transcript:Hello and welcome to this episode of Seed Seller Training Radio. My name is Rod Osthus and this is THE podcast dedicated to the world of selling seed—the most difficult product in the world to sell. Why? Because seed is a living, breathing organism with over 1,000 different variables that can interfere with its ability to perform to its potential every year. That means that the only way both you and your customers can be assured that your varieties will perform as you want them to is to minimize the damage from those 1,000 variables. In this episode, I’ll be talking about your Post-Harvest Strategy. That is, what are the best strategies for you and your sales Team to maximize sales AND your time, once harvest is over? In this podcast, I will tell you exactly what I would do. First….a message from our sponsor. This podcast is brought to you by the R.C. Thomas Company—the #1 Seed Sales Training & Consulting Firm in North America. The R.C. Thomas Company works with some of the most innovative seed and technology companies, Ag retailers, and cooperatives all across the United States, Canada, and South America. If you or your company would like to learn more about how R.C. Thomas can help increase your seed sales, I will be telling you about some brand new sales tools available for field sellers at the end of this podcast, so stay tuned… Let’s get right into this episode… back in the early days of running my own sales territory, I managed more than 100 dealers, the majority of them were farmer dealers. But of those 100+ dealers, I was the largest volume dealer in my territory. I sold more seed myself, directly to farmers, than any of the dealers I managed. I sold all of my seed where I didn’t have any working dealers. That allowed me to do several things. Get sales I would not otherwise have gotten, have the opportunity to turn a few of my customers into dealers the next year to fill in those open areas, and it also kept my selling skills sharp and showed the dealers I managed that I could sell as good as they could. But one of the most important things that strategy did for me was keep me in touch with what was happening at the farm level at all times. That allowed me to have a real understanding of what the farmer was thinking about any time of the year. In turn, that allowed me to launch sales strategies with my dealers at times when they really didn’t want to. But since I knew so much about customers, I could do what few other sales managers were able to do with their dealer forces. I could merge a sales mentality with the farmer mentality. For example, to a farmer, harvest season is the second most important time of each year—second only to planting season. As a result, the farmer mentality toward salespeople during harvest is, “Don’t bother me, I’m busy.” But the sales mentality is, “I need to get to farmers to either get a sale or confirm a sale I already have, before my competitors do.” And in this discussion we are not talking about riding harvesters. We are talking about Post-Harvest—the combines are done rolling, but there is plenty of fall fieldwork that still needs to be done. What I learned over the years is that customers will seldom stop their combines to buy seed during harvest, but they will stop doing tillage or fertility work to talk, once the crop is out. That was very important information for me to know. And I knew it worked because I had tried this concept and it worked every time. At that point, I used it as the cornerstone to my Post-Harvest Strategy. Depending upon where you live, harvest is currently in various stages. But regardless, this podcast is applicable to you.
THREE STEPS TO A PRODUCTIVE POST-HARVEST SEASON:
1. Schedule a Post-Harvest Meeting with your field sellers when the harvesters have stopped rolling, but before fall field-work starts.Get your sales force, calling on customers BEFORE the field work is done. Tell them that customers will still be at home, in their fields doing fieldwork of all kinds—from tiling to fertilizing to tillage—when they arrive. Remind them that farmers will take time and stop their fall tillage tool or tiling job for a few minutes to talk about their seed orders now that the crop is out. You would have a much harder time doing that when they are still combining. Also, tell them that if they wait until THEIR OWN field work is done or their customers are done, they will no longer find anyone home. They will be in town, or traveling, or taking vacations. Plus, if they wait that long, competitors will have time to steal business. But when we launch our Post-Harvest attack early, while competitors are waiting for field work to get done, we can get to all of our customers to confirm their orders, and get the cash before the competition even starts their Post-Harvest push.
2. Summarize the entire growing season for both dealers and your customers.There is a technique I used every year that I held Post-Harvest meetings. It allowed me to summarize the entire growing season while answering the most important question that every dealer and customer had on their mind—what varieties should I be planting next season? This technique allowed me to talk about variety performance without getting trapped into talking about the 1, 2 or 3 varieties that stood out that particular year, leaving the other 15 varieties I sold to look like dogs. Because if you talk that much about the ones that stood out, dealers and customers will want to start changing their orders to the varieties that were deemed the best that year and you are stuck with inventory. Each dealer or grower who walked in the door to register at our Post-Harvest session to get their name tag would also receive a small slip of paper with three questions on it. We would give him a pen, ask him to step off to the side for a minute and answer those three questions.
- The first question was, “What was your best corn variety two years ago?”
- The second question was, “What was your best corn variety last year?”
- The third question was, “What was your best corn variety this fall?”
- There are no winner or loser varieties in your lineup. If you sold most of the different varieties you had available to sell, they will all show up on those papers someplace at least once. Even the one that you thought had the worst year will show up as somebody’s best variety this year. That awareness alone tells the group that the entire line-up works.
- It validates the kind of year it was where every grower had a different story about performance and a different reason for what happened in their fields. That awareness alone tells the group they need to stop trying to find reasons for everything that happened to a variety they may have had poor luck with—the more than 1,000 variables dominated over variety.
- It tells everyone that they can trust your line-up, allowing you to change varieties more freely with growers when needed, and get those who have too narrow of line-ups on order expanded. That awareness will allow you to sell the entire inventory and get more mileage out of the so-called popular varieties.
- No trends. Even though some may be mentioned a little more often than others, virtually every variety you or your dealers sold in the territory will be mentioned as a favorite by someone. That awareness alone tells the group they need to balance their orders across different varieties to have the best crop.
- That exercise alone gave everyone a view of the growing season far beyond the scope of their own fields or own area. It took all of the pressure off of having to look at plot results and yield data at our meeting. That awareness alone allowed us to talk about things that really mattered to them, how to raise higher yields through better management.
3. Set a date with each customer attending your meeting to visit about his cropping plan and seed delivery schedule.One-on-one is as good as it gets with customers. Use the meeting as a mechanism to get the date and time set with every customer to meet one-on-one. Get all your buyers, customers, and growers together in groups once the harvesters have stopped, but before the field work is complete. You need to get their thinking back on track since performance was so variable this past year. Every year, every customer needs help getting refocused on what to do the next year. If you don’t help them, they will make decisions based on last year’s results. That means they will always be wrong because next year will be different from the previous year.
AnnouncementsBefore I end the podcast, I have three quick announcements: In the coming weeks, my brand new eBook titled “Why Seed Sellers Fail — The 14 Biggest Mistakes You Must Avoid” will be available for purchase at www.rcthomas.com. I’m super excited as I have been working on this eBook for over a year now to help Seed Sellers succeed. Whether you are brand new to selling seed or a seasoned veteran, you will want to read this eBook and make sure you are not committing one of the 14 biggest and most dangerous mistakes that cause Seed Sellers to Fail. Our second announcement is we have officially launched our brand new audio training program called “How to Handle Price Objections.” This hour-long, hard-hitting audio training program will teach you how to:
- Take price out of the sales conversation
- Stay in control, even when price comes up
- Use “outside the circle” values as your price antidote
- Understand and show the value you bring to the sales process with each grower
Show ClosingWell, that’s it for this episode of Seed Seller Training Radio. If you enjoyed this podcast, we’d really appreciate it if you would subscribe through iTunes, and while you are there please rate our Podcast and Leave us a Review. If you’d like to learn how to subscribe for FREE and get new episodes of Seed Seller Training Radio directly on your smartphone, click on the video in the show notes of this podcast at www.rcthomas.com/019 Until next time, remember the Secret Code to Getting Sales Is Not Programs, Products, or Price…It’s a Highly-Trained Salesperson!