The following is a great question I received over Twitter. It’s one that I know a lot of sales reps encounter and it doesn’t matter if you are a rookie to the business, just changed companies or you are breaking open a new sales territory. This question is important.
@RodOsthus I have been to seed camp and bought the harvest customers audio, but I have a quick question for you. Since my seed brand is new in my area and not in any farmer’s fields how do you suggest I ride combines without the product knowledge I would have from seeing my products in the field?
Riding a harvester with a grower, in a new area, who has none of your varieties in his field, and there is no product history in that area, is no different than driving into a farmer’s yard who has never planted your products before.
In both cases you have no product history.
That means that, in all situations where your product has no history, there is only one thing to do and that is sell yourself.
Riding a combine, when someone else’s variety is being harvested, takes all of the pressure off both you and the grower. You aren’t trying to defend performance or attempt to get a sale. You are simply there to meet and greet him so he can see what makes you different.
During the entire combine ride or sales call on a new prospect, the only thing the grower is doing is checking you out.
He wants to know who you are and what you know.
He wants to find out, as quickly as possible, what value you bring to him, if any. He’s looking at the way you are dressed, how you talk, and how you lead and manage the conversation.
Growers never buy products, they only buy those things once they have bought you! Remember, “If they don’t buy you, they don’t buy from you.” We have proven that for years.
During my selling career, I had beaten guys side-by-side in their fields, won their test plots, and they still would not buy from me, but if they did, it was only in small amounts. Their perceptions of me and new sales reps were so low that they wanted me to do it again and again and again.
Prospecting can be a lot of fun and very productive, once you learn that you are not there to sell the new prospect anything on the first call. You are there to sell yourself, so there is no real need for product performance information. But you will do that only when you have decided you want that grower as a customer.
That means selling yourself first.
Thanks again for the excellent question and best wishes as you continue the selling season.
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