Key Considerations When Communicating Across Generations

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Surveys and market research have shown that different generations have very distinct views about products, politics, religion, careers, and just about everything else.

Generation is one of the most important factors that shape people’s opinions and views. But where are the generational dividing lines, and what are some of the key considerations when communicating to each distinct generation? What follows is a brief primer designed to answer these questions and more.

Matures

40 Million born before 1945: Are now past the traditional retirement age of 65. Although most are retired, about a third will continue to work at least 5 years beyond retirement. Most Matures are now focused on retirement pursuits, health and aging issues, and their legacy to their children and grandchildren. 16 million Matures served in the armed forces during World War II. Almost one million of them were killed or wounded during the war. Matures have the highest household net worth of […]

3 Must-Haves for Salesperson On-boarding in the Agricultural Market

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When you hire a new salesperson, they naturally walk through your front door full of excitement and energy. Best-in-class on-boarding is one of the best ways to turn that energy into results.

Do you remember the first day at your company? Chances are you were excited, ready to dive in and get started. When you hire a new salesperson, that’s how they feel when they walk through your doors as an employee for the first time.

If you’ve made a good hire, that person has the potential to become an amazing ag-sales professional. However, it’s up to you to help them realize that potential—and your on-boarding process will play a large role in doing exactly that.

1. A Day-1 Action Plan
Before your new salesperson arrives for their first day, it’s important to check off a few important to-do items, including:

    • Ensure their computer, email, and phone are ready.
    • Let your receptionist know they’ll be coming in and what to do when […]

Best Practices for Customer Service in Agricultural Sales

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There is no doubt, growers can be some of the most discerning customers out there.  But once their loyalty is won, amazing customer service is the best way to keep it.  Here are some of the best ways to do just that.

After 27 years in agricultural sales, I’ve seen thousands of salespeople come and go. And I’ve noticed that the best learn early on in their careers that superior customer service after the sale is what truly creates customer loyalty. It is loyal customers that form the foundation of any great sales organization, because loyal customers come back to buy again and again, month after month.

But here’s the thing. Providing fantastic customer service is not hard, it’s just not something most sales training programs emphasize. If salespeople spent as much time thinking about customer service after the sale as they did closing the the next sale, monthly quotas would be easier to hit. With this in mind, I’ve put together some of the best practices in […]

The Key to Knowledge Retention in Sales Training

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It is no surprise that we forget what we learn almost instantly. Through formalized training reinforcement, learning doesn’t have to stop when class is adjourned.

Knowledge retention drops off steeply after formal training has ended. We have all seen some version of this statistic, and we have all felt this drop at different times throughout our learning ‘careers.’ But how bad is it really?

the-key-to-knowledge-retention-in-sales-training

As you can see above, Sales Performance International puts the average percentage […]

How Improving Customer Service Starts with Becoming a Better Listener

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Becoming a better listener is easy to say and hard to do. But it doesn’t have to be if you follow these quick tips on your next customer service call.

Improving customer service starts with being a better listener. If we can listen with the intent to understand, as Stephen Covey first articulated it, then we can avoid listening as most people do–with the intent to reply. Try these quick tips for better listening the next time you find yourself in conversation with a customer that has an issue, and I think you’ll be surprised by how positive the outcome of that conversation can be.

Listen without interrupting. Our understanding and enthusiasm for correcting a customer’s concern can sometimes lead us to interrupt them in mid-sentence. Keep in mind that no matter how quickly we think we can pick up on a customer’s concern, no one likes being rushed or having their sentences finished for them. Listen like you have no place to be but right there with that […]

What I’ve Learned After 27 years of Training Agricultural Sales Professionals

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What do agricultural sales professionals really need most to be successful?

When I ask industry leaders this question, I get a variety of answers, many of which are quite good, including things like “a solid manager,” “proper motivation,” and “deep industry knowledge.”

But truthfully, there is one factor that outweighs all of these: Confidence.

Confidence in their ability as a salesperson, confidence in their ag industry knowledge, and confidence in their company’s products and solutions. The best agricultural sales professionals have this one trait more than any other.

Where Does Confidence Come From?

This year marks 27 years that I’ve spent training agricultural sales professionals and what I’ve learned in that time is that confidence is not, as many might have you believe, an inborn trait.
Confidence comes from quality, sustained training.

Unfortunately, I’ve also learned that too few ag sales teams receive that […]

Learning That Never Stops™

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One of my favorite quotes of all time is by Michelangelo….“I am still learning.” Rumor has it he said it at the ripe age of 87! I can only hope that I am still learning in 35 years.

Today, learning is at our fingertips. Technology allows society to research, “google”, or look up anything, any time. Whether you are a student in elementary school or a participant in a corporate training event, learners have “BYOD” (Bring Your Own Device) assignments. They take quizzes, share google docs, gather data using surveys, etc… Technology allows learning to never stop.

Though a recent survey by Training Magazine, We Walk the Walk, But Do We Talk the Talk, shows strategic companies rank instructor-led classrooms as the most effective, reinforcement and review of learning after training is ranked not far behind. While classroom training is still king, we believe using technology […]

I Know the Look

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I know the look. Eyes glazed over; forced smiles. The look that says, “Why am I here? I don’t need to know this! I’m not an accountant”. I can count on one hand how many people have actually been excited to sit down and start talking about budgets and cash flow forecasts!

Years ago, it was true that only accountants and finance managers needed to understand business acumen. But in today’s world, everyone benefits from understanding basic financial statements. Companies see how important it is for employees to understand the fundamentals of bottom line impact initiatives and “why we are doing what we are doing”.

Our family loves to play games! That is why I love training our business acumen classes. We use a game –simulation approach. All simulations offer a 3D visual representation of your company’s current financial position. This transitions the learning from the classroom to the real world. The tie-backs and discussions relate the simulation experience […]

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

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A day doesn’t go by that you don’t hear about Millennials in the workforce.  Millennials, Millennials, Millennials.  It is as if Millennials are taking over the world!  What about the rest of us!!??!!

I am a Baby Boomer, born in the early 60’s.  My kids are Millennials.  I watch them interact with their friends taking selfies and snapchatting.  Does that make them stereotypical narcissistic Millennials? Or are they just having fun? There is a lot of negative press about Millennials these days, but I am amazed at their ability to truly multi-task and be productive.  True, they are on their phones all the time, but in between selfies, maybe they are taking an on line class!

In addition to Millennials, I work with Baby Boomers, Gen Xer’s, and even a few Matures, either in our home office at NuVue or in our daily training sessions.  According to statistics from […]

The “Core Workout” True for Sales Training Too

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I got a Fitbit for Christmas and now I am tracking steps, flights of stairs climbed, and water intake, all in an effort to try to beat my fellow co-workers and family with simple fitness habits.  This led me to talk with a personal trainer and they were glad to talk with me.  As we were talking, my personal trainer mentioned that it is important for anyone starting an exercise program to first strengthen “The Core.”  I learned “The Core” was a set of muscles that adds stability to the bodily region bounded by the abdominal wall, the pelvis, the lower back and diaphragm and that all movement starts within this region of the body.   I needed to strengthen my core before I would get into more physical activities like running, swimming, and biking.

So, what does “the Core” have to do with Sales Training?  EVERYTHING!  I talk with many sales executives, Vice Presidents of Sales, Presidents and CEOs and they all want to have the best sales teams in their industry. […]