There are a lot of animal nutrition products out there, and in some parts of the country, more feed and supplement dealers than there are grocery stores. This means it is vital for your sales staff to keep current on all the products you offer.
“People buy from people, and our company owners have done a great job hiring quality people that care about the products and our customers all the way from the sales staff to the delivery drivers,” said Scott Hardman, Marketing Specialist with Earlybird Feed & Fertilizer, Goodfield, Illinois.
Hardman says the literature that BioZyme® sends out when a new product is introduced is distributed to all sales people, both externally and in the store. He said that they usually can’t get the literature fast enough since customers see information about new products on social media, and start contacting the dealer often before they have the new products on hand.
Another great resource is their ASM, Shandy Bertolino. Hardman said that their sales staff typically meets with Shandy twice a year to learn about new products and brush up on their knowledge of existing products. In addition to offering kudos to the ASM in their area, Hardman also praised the entire BioZyme® staff.
“One of the strengths of the company is there are not a lot of layers if we need answers. Shandy will make the link, but the accessibility of the technical and marketing staff is great,” Hardman said.
And finally, he said the sales staff who attend the dealer retreat each summer come back with a wealth of information to share with others who didn’t attend.
Adele Halsall, a researcher and writer for Customer Service Guru, addressed some key training tips in a recent blog post. Here are three of her tips.
- Keep Training Consistent. Be sure to give each employee the same message and resources so the information shared with customers is reliable. Halsall said, “Product knowledge training must also be consistent, engaging and customized. There is no point in re-using the same material twice or giving unnecessary information to those who do not need it.”
- Allow Hands-on Experience. While it isn’t realistic that your entire sales force will have a need for a particular product, chances are someone on staff feeds one or more of the products. Get their feedback about the pros and cons of that particular product so you can offer more information to prospective customers.
Hardman said their sales staff isn’t expected to know absolutely everything about every product; however, they have specific people that are experts about particular species. Earlybird relies on those experts to provide information about particular products to the rest of its sales force.
- Take Training out of the Office. Hardman mentioned the bi-annual meetings with Shandy and the dealer retreat were two of their valuable training tools. Halsall agrees that it is always good to give employees a fresh perspective and allow them the opportunity to network with others to learn helpful sales insight.
Making the sale is imperative to your bottom line. Keep your staff knowledgeable and excited about your products, and the sales will come readily.