Cutting Through the Commodity Clutter
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  • 17 Jun 2015

Driving home from Fieldays at Mystery Creek last Thursday, it struck me just how many things farmers have to spend their money on. From fertiliser to feed, from polythene to pumps, from tanks to tractors, its endless – a huge amount of ‘stuff’.

And with all this stuff, come a huge number of salespeople too. Many dressed similarly, many selling solutions that sound very similar to lots of others – in most cases, with very little (on the surface) to differentiate their products and services from their competitors’.

But what is different is YOU – you need to stand out from your competitors so they can’t do without you.

So, how do you do that?

You need to provide them with insights. Tell them something they didn’t know or challenge their thinking to help them solve problems. This doesn’t mean spouting off latest research, it’s about applying that research to their situation.

Information. Know your technical specs but don’t baffle them with BS – talk to them about benefits, not features. Remember to always add ‘which means…’ after describing a feature.

And don’t take for granted the good old relationship skills (most salespeople are decent and ‘nice’). Don’t just try and shove your product down their throat, take time to get to know them and once you have, honour your commitments. If you say you’ll get back to them by a certain time, get back to them before then. Remember what team they support, where their kids go to school and show a genuine interest in them personally.

This isn’t just relevant for agricultural salespeople, but rather for anyone selling a commodity. And in today’s world that’s most of us.

So don’t be a sheep and follow the crowd, or you’ll just blend in. Or to quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”