One of the fastest ways to grow a sales territory is by getting current buyers to buy more.
This doesn’t replace the need for prospecting, but as a supplement to your plan to get increases, it can raise final sales to a whole new level.
Getting current buyers, especially those who harvested your products for the first time this year, to agree to buy more for next season is not always easy.
That takes leadership, along with a carefully timed set-up so that anyone you want to get an increase from already knows what to expect once they become a customer.
Stop Trying to Prove Yourself
The first thing seed sellers need to do is stop thinking that they need to earn a grower’s business before they ask him or her to plant more. That’s a ridiculous idea.
You never try to earn a grower’s seed business, you just take the business from your competitor. If you believe you have to earn business and prove yourself and your products before buyers get serious about buying from you, you don’t believe in yourself, your company or your products nearly enough.
You need to believe that every farmer should not just be buying from you, but planting every acre to your products!
In years when varietal performance is all over the board, as it was this past year, farmers really need you to take charge and lead them where they don’t know they need to go.
Without strong leadership, they will plant only the varieties that performed the best the past season and that is always the wrong decision.
How often do we have back-to-back growing seasons with identical conditions? The answer is never.
Every year environment distorts the performance of the hybrids and varieties that belong on their farms so smart reps need to help growers make the decisions as to what they should plant next year.
That’s called leadership.
You don’t earn someone’s business, you lead them to where they don’t know they need to go by being strong, decisive and smart.
Setting Up Sales Increases
Secondly, if you think you are going to get farmers to buy more just because you show up at the “booking time” of the year, you will likely be disappointed.
The process of getting sales increases from current buyers starts with setting up those increases the very first time you write an order with them, and it continues until you are ready to write his or her order again the following year.
For example, when I write an order with a new buyer, I always reassure him that he made a really great decision to plant our varieties and that he is going to be very happy with the results. I also reassure him that over the next couple of years we will be doing a lot more business together.
And as the season unfolds, beginning with my planter visit, I will find out what his goals are and explain my three year plan for his operation. Every time I talk with him I tell him about additional new varieties I will be introducing him to for next season.
I will also mention all of the benefits that come with buying at “customer” level and that once farmers become 100% buyers, they almost never leave.
Sales people need to position their buyers and get them so excited about doing more business long before the time comes to write the next order.
Stop Treating Orders Like an Anniversary
Getting sales increases from current buyers is not a one time of the year tradition.
Too many field sellers meet with a buyer after his first year, usually right after harvest, and neither the buyer nor the seller has a clue of what to expect.
The seller is just hoping that the performance of his product was good enough to get him an increase in sales.
But I have seen too many reps leave the appointment badly disappointed when the buyer either didn’t increase his order or didn’t buy any seed for the next season, even when performance was good.
Top sellers need to set up sales increases by conditioning every buyer and customer throughout the growing season, getting their minds prepared to increase the amounts they bought previously.
In summary, the secret to getting current buyers to increase their order sizes is to stop trying to earn their business and, instead, lead them to where you want them to go and they need to go. After all, today’s farmers are some of the most intelligent business owners and operators in the world, but they still need leadership!
If you don’t start using this strategy, you will most likely find yourself not only having to get a lot more new buyers on board every year, but you will also find yourself watching someone else get the business you should have had!