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 […]

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. […]