“I sure hope another salesperson stops by today!”
A short week calls for a short article. So, let’s get right to the point.
The reason for this post is to help you with one of your biggest dilemmas. One of the most common reasons for not prospecting or cold calling is that salespeople don’t want to be pushy, salesy. They don’t want to be a bother.
Over the years of training and coaching salespeople in agribusiness, salespeople will often tell me about their most difficult moment when they stop by a farm to start the selling process.
In their minds, they play out the story:
- “This farmer is busy”
- “He is probably happy with his current supplier of my product line”.
- “The last thing he wants is another salesperson to interrupt his busy day”.
- “I’ll stop by another day when he doesn’t look so busy”.
And if you grew up on a farm, your dad probably told you how much he hated salespeople bothering him. So, that is one more negative thought running through your mind as you decide whether or not to stop at a farm.
As salespeople, we want to be wanted. We want customers and prospects to be happy we stopped by. We want to help. But we can’t help unless we stop at their farm and start the process of developing a relationship to eventually work with them.
I am no different. When I call a busy sales manager or VP of sales, I want them to be interested in my message. I want to help. But I can’t help unless I start the process of developing a relationship to eventually work with them.
To help salespeople get past this hurdle, I like to remind them. Not one single customer or prospect ever wakes up in the morning and says, “Oh boy, I hope another salesperson calls on me today!”
Not one! Zero! None! Now that’s a pretty bold statement, but I am extremely confident that it’s true. If you find one that actually feels that way, then please let me know.
How do we deal with this concept when selling? Certainly, we don’t want to go around feeling like we are bothering people.
Here are some ways to get it right in your mind:
- Recognize the fact. When I mention this concept with training groups, they always seem to laugh. However, it’s a nervous laugh as they realize the absurdity of a farmer wanting more salespeople to call on them. They realize that it will probably never happen.
- Reframe your thoughts with the message, “This farmer wants me to stop by and wants to do business with me…. He just doesn’t know it yet”. If you don’t believe that thought process, then rethink your selling approach. Your best customers probably started out just like this prospect. They were busy. You interrupted their day with a cold call or an appointment. Then, they started buying from you at some point. Now, they love the way you help them succeed in their farming operation. And, now they are happy you are showing up today.
- Differentiate yourself – too big of a topic for this article, but read any of my previous 300 articles. They are all about differentiating yourself.
- Make it quick: Everyone, farmers included, is busy. Most are not sitting around waiting for you to show up. So, make the first stop an extremely quick one. Don’t bring brochures, binders, or other sales material with you. Bring a pen, notepad, a business card, and your phone. Introduce yourself, offer them your card, and ask for the best way to contact them for a future meeting. Lastly, ask to set the date for the next appointment and enter it in your phone calendar. That’s it. Anything you might get beyond the next appointment is tremendous. This whole thing took less than one minute. If you don’t feel that your value as a salesperson is worth a minute, then there might be bigger problems to tackle.
Good luck and remember, “They want to do business with you. They just don’t know it yet”