By: Cole Condra –Customer Success Manager, Growers
Want to close more deals? And achieve better, long-term results with your customers? The answer lies in collaboration.
In a nutshell, collaborating with your farmer will strengthen the relationship and demonstrate you care about their overall success vs. making the sale.
Today, farmers have more options and higher expectations, but they also recognize the value a dealer can bring to the table. Farmers demand someone who not only knows their operation and preferences but can use data from their farm to simplify their life and help them make the best agronomic decisions possible.
The truth about collaboration
Collaboration isn’t having a meeting over something to sell. You’re not collaborating just because you had a conversation and delivered a PDF.
You have to provide value. You’ve got to say, “I know you’re an expert in farming. I’m going to listen to you, and I’m also going to make my own observations, analyze the information, and come up with a plan that advances your operation.”
You’re leading with value because you’re getting on the same page with your grower while being honest and demonstrating you’re not just trying to meet a quota.
Additionally, the more involved your farmer is in the planning process, the better the chance your product or service meets their needs.
As you work through your farmer’s plan, use each interaction as an opportunity to detect patterns in customer feedback and refine your products and services.
In this article, we’ll share our 3 tips for collaboration, so you can stand out from the competition, build trust, and close more deals.
1. Bring good ideas, mitigate risks, and show results
While many growers have been farming the same way for generations, these days, they need to try new things and manage risks to stay in business.
Farmers want someone who has superior knowledge and can communicate in an honest, professional manner. So, you must stay up-to-date on research and have extensive agronomic expertise and judgment.
However, on the flip side, farmers are constantly bombarded by salesmen with colorful charts and lofty promises. Usually, a farmer has to wait until the end of the season to find out if the decisions they made, and the recommendations they followed, increased revenue, or lost them money.
If you’re bringing new ideas, services, or products to the table, demonstrate the financial impact of your recommendations by running what-if scenarios. Engage your customers in each of these decisions – weighing all the options.
Your farmer will be able to see the potential gain (or loss) for individual fields and the entire operation, which ultimately builds trust in the efficacy of your final recommendations.
2. React quickly to a farmer’s changing needs
With farming, time is of the essence, and to serve your customer, you need to spend less of your time in excessive data entry and documentation and more time soliciting your customer’s perspective and reacting quickly to their changing needs.
As a trusted advisor, you’re familiar with how frequently and rapidly seed, fertility, and crop plans can change. Market prices fluctuate, a variety of seed may not be available, nutrient needs change, or, as we all know, a grower may change his plan simply because he wants to.
Say you create a fertility plan using a DAP product (Phosphorous). But, when it’s time for application, your grower discovers he can get a better price on MAP (Phosphorous).
To help him increase his margins, you have to go back to your desk, create a new prescription, and get it back to the custom applicator as fast as possible.
As a trusted advisor, if you aren’t addressing your customer’s needs quickly enough, your competitor will. Too many companies count on customer loyalty, but having a seasoned relationship means nothing if your customers can’t get what they want from you when they need it.
Don’t let last-minute changes become the bottleneck to your services.
Invest in cloud-based precision ag software so that you can change anything whenever, wherever. iOS apps eliminate the need for all the back and forth trips to make changes and print new reports.
3. Commit to the long-haul before and after you close the deal
Sometimes, after collaborating, you’ll initiate the sale on the spot. Other times, you’ll need to nurture a little longer. Either way, be ready to commit to the long-haul with your customer after you close the deal.
Relationships are forged over time, and farmers desire a partner who will work hard, follow-through, and go above and beyond to help their operation succeed. Throughout the year, check in with your farmer to see how their crop is progressing or if their needs have changed.
Your interaction after the sale will determine whether or not the farmer chooses you next time, so service what you sell, and go above and beyond to help your customer succeed.