You know that data is an integral part of a successful sales strategy. But it also makes you better able to have highly effective sales conversations.
You certainly can’t walk up to farmers in the field and divulge random bits of information, expecting to land a sale. More likely, being too knowledgeable will scare away potential clients and the opportunity for gaining new sales.When approaching the data-led sales conversation, you’ll want to apply what you already know about sales and tweak it based data that you’ve gathered on the farmers you’re prospecting.
Here’s a data-led sales conversation guide that you can use to succeed in selling to farmers in the field.
Listen and Learn
The most important part of your sales conversation will be not what you say, but what you don’t say. When you initially sit down with a farmer, listen rather than speak.
You’re listening for many reasons, but most importantly, you want to listen to develop relationships. After all, a relationship built on trust and understanding will get your closer to your farmers than any other means of connection will.
You can use your data to guide the conversation toward certain topics, but for the most part, this component of the sales conversation is less about what you have to offer and more of a fact finding event.
Walking in with a hard sales pitch is unlikely to win you new business.
Look for Pain Points
As you listen and learn, listen carefully for your farmers’ pain points. These may come up predictably, such as in part of the conversation where you and the farmer talk about the hot summer and how it negatively impacted crops during the last growing season.
Other times, pain points might come up randomly, and you’ll need to learn how to mine them from your conversation. A farmer might offhandedly mention the challenges of paying for their children’s Christmas gifts or truck repairs, which might give you an indication of the financial challenges that his farm is facing.
Or they might mention the trouble that other farmers nearby are experiencing in getting their tractors to work well in the rocky soil, which could indicate a challenge that multiple farmers in the area might need assistance to overcome.
After you hear about these pain points in conversation, you can then dive deep into the data to get more detail and, hopefully, be able to provide some insight or advice for them.
Your ability to pull out challenges and struggles unique to your farmers and/or territory will provide you with an advantage in product presentation later on in the conversation.
Demonstrate Your Understanding
In addition to listening carefully for certain pieces of information, you’ll want to demonstrate that you understand and empathize with the struggles that farmers face. After all, you’re likely engaging in conversation to show that the products or services that your brand offers can meet certain needs on the farm - you’re not sitting around to simply shoot the breeze.
Part of developing trusting relationships with the farmers you talk to involves your participation. It’s here where you’ll begin laying the groundwork to present the products and services that you’ve come to sell. If you can successfully connect with your farmer at a personal and professional level, your later work will be easier.
Develop Need Awareness
When you understand what your farmers need, you can draw the conversation to a more pointed discussion about what your farmers specifically need to do their jobs better. While this portion of the conversation should ideally involve plenty of time for the farmer you’re talking to to share their concerns and frustrations with the work that they do, you’ll want to circle back to how pain points are connected with real needs your products and services meet.
Be careful not to explicitly mention your products and services at this point. You don’t want to come off like a hard sell before your farmers develop a conscious awareness of the needs that they have. You want farmers to know their pain points before you try to dump information about solutions that you have for them.
Work to Spark a “Light Bulb” Moment
As you let a farmer you’re talking to process their needs, steer the conversation to a place where they can identify potential solutions that might solve their problems. Ideally, your conversation should lead your farmer to identify a solution or two that comes within shooting range of the products and services that your business has to offer.
You’re going to want your farmer to have a “light bulb” moment where they realize that a solution to their understood need actually exists. Depending on the complexity of your product or service, it may become immediately evident that the solutions you offer are exactly what the farmer needs to resolve their predicament. For more complex products or services, you will need to continue to steer the conversation specifically toward your brand.
Talk About Product Benefits
At this point in your conversation, the bulk of the discussion will shift away from the farmer that you’re talking to and to your own knowledge and know-how. It’s here that you’ll want to use sales aids to make a presentation about what your product does or what benefits the services you sell bring to the farm.
You may use various sales aids at this point, like live product demonstrations, product samples, binders full of information - whatever you deem useful for conveying product and brand information.
The main selling point for your product is the benefits that it brings to your potential clients. Sales demonstrations will help you explicitly connect the dots between what your brand offers and how these solutions can meet the needs your farmers have.
Depending on the pain points you extract from your farmers, you’ll want to focus on product benefits that meet these needs, rather than giving a point-by-point rundown of product features and potential benefits. You want to make the viability of your product or service as attractive as you can to the farmer that you’re trying to sell to.
Offer Pointed Solutions
If your brand offers multiple products or services, it’s up to you to decide which one(s) to push during your sales conversation. Some potential clients will be big buyers who will purchase multiple products or services, add ons, accessories and whatever else you have to offer.
For the most part, your clients will likely only be interested in one or two of the products or services that your brand offers. Don’t be put off by a potentially small sale. Instead, leverage the information you have about your farmers to get a realistic idea of the type of sale you can expect to make before going into any sales conversation.
Data regarding farm size and income levels should help you to determine whether a sales conversation you enter will be a potential large sale or more of a routine sales call. Use your data analysis to assess whether the farmers you’re visiting can or will be interested in purchasing certain solutions that you have to offer.
Demonstrate How Your Company is Uniquely Poised to Help
Your sales conversation should not only draw the farmer you’re talking to toward your products and services, but to your brand uniquely. Your brand has something that other brands don’t have to offer - that’s why you’re in the field or the farmhouse making the sales pitch.
You want to demonstrate that your company has something unique to offer your farmers. Perhaps you have a local know-how that national brands can’t bring to the table. Maybe you have technology that lets you stay on top of problems as they crop up in real time so that you can deliver pointed solutions as they arise, rather than having to wait for error reports to come rolling in.
Regardless of the physical or relational position your brand has to offer, you should certainly use your data driven knowledge of your farmers to put your brand in a favorable light for your farmers to connect with.
Close the Sale
Once you’ve drawn your farmer out through the course of the conversation to realize his pain points, need for a solution and the possibility that partnership with your brand can offer, it’s time to close the sale. If you’ve driven your conversation correctly, your farmer should be ready to make a buying decision.
Keep in mind that the sales conversation may not take place entirely over a single physical conversation - it may take months to go from initial contact to closing the sale. But if you’ve done your due diligence to study the farmers you meet with and use your relationships on the ground to build loyalty among the farmers you’re trying to sell to, closing the sale should be relatively easy when the time is right.
Emphasize Value in Partnership
As with presenting possible solutions, an important part in closing your sale is not only getting a contract signed and products delivered, but in the value in partnership that your farmers will gain in working with your brand. You want your farmers’ sales, yes, but more importantly, you want to establish a meaningful connection between your brand and the individual farmers in your territory.
Leverage the benefits of partnership in tandem with the products or services that your farmers are interested in purchasing to deliver an unbeatable combination that your farmers will find hard to resist. Not only will you win a sale, but you may end up gaining a new long-term customer that’ll bring far more value to your brand than a one-off sale ever could.
The data-led sales conversation is not challenging - especially for those experienced in sales. You need to combine information gained from close data analysis along with that gathered through authentic conversations in the field to pitch your products and close sales.
When done correctly, the data-led sales conversation empowers your sales team to make meaningful connections and build customer loyalty to gain more than simple one-time sales. With a bit of time and training, your sales team can use data-led sales conversations to improve client relationship, make more sales and add value to your brand.