Psychology of Ag Sales
Learning How to Close the Deal
OUTdrive Episode 51 with Greg Martinelli
Becoming a successful sales professional is a challenge that requires extensive knowledge, a unique skill set and a drive to succeed. In this episode of OUTdrive, Cliff visits with Greg Martinelli about the psychology of sales and learning how to close the deal.
Greg spent 28 years as a leader in agricultural sales and is the founder of Ag Sales Professionals. Working out in the field, Greg learned the importance of understanding the personality of others and leveraging this knowledge to effectively sell. Along the way, he gathered what he learned and now shares his insights with other sales professionals as a coach, speaker, trainer and author.
Keep reading to learn about the power of personality-based selling, the skills of a great salesperson, the importance of integrating sales and marketing and marketing trends to look for in today’s market.
Understanding Personality-Based Selling
Greg has over 28 years of experience in the ag sales industry, and he has learned many valuable lessons that he now shares with other sales professionals. One of the things that he emphasizes the most is understanding the DiSC profile and how to leverage the knowledge to sell to different personalities.
“I think one of the most important components of the training is to understand how to use it, and the reason I think it’s so important is it’s useful not only in sales, but in your personal life,” says Greg. “DiSC shows, for the people that are not familiar, that there are four quadrants or the four different types of people that are in the world. And you go through a little assessment and it tells you where you’re at.”
Understanding the personalities of your customer enables you to communicate in their preferred way and relate to them on a personal level. Although there are only four quadrants in the DiSC profile, there are a vast number of variations and combinations that make every individual unique. As Greg explains, it can be difficult to put the knowledge into practice to differentiate personalities and adjust your sales strategy based on personality.
“I say the best salesperson is the one who can adjust and realize that this person is detailed [or not], and this customer that I’m trying to sell is not,” says Greg. “So I have to sell to them in their style, not my style or what I think.”
As a sales professional, understanding your own personality enables you to find processes and workflows that are sustainable and deliver results. It also helps you understand how you may like to be sold to as a customer and why it differs for others. Being able to identify your prospect’s personality gives you the chance to adjust your sales process and build rapport along the way.
Skills of a Great Salesperson
Understanding personality is a key skill of a strong salesperson, but there are other skills that Greg stresses. One of, if not the most, important skills for successful sales is organization.
“The number one sales killer is being disorganized and number two is calling on the wrong customers,” says Greg. “One of the training tools that I work on with people is you’ve got to have systems where you don’t drop the ball. If you drop the ball, customers will disregard you and there will be a lot of talk but no action.”
In addition to strong organization and processes, Greg emphasizes the importance of calling on the right customers to be efficient and effective within the sales process. Although it can be difficult to accomplish, creating personas and integrating efforts between sales and marketing is key.
“I think this is a struggle because people go out [to sell] but this is where they need to really gel with their marketing departments on, ‘Who is our customer base in this market? Who is the target audience that we’re going after? What strengths do we have?’” says Greg. “And so frequently, the problem for salespeople is they go out in the market, and they just sell to everybody and anybody.”
Organization and getting in front of the right customers are vital, and the stronger these skills are the stronger results will be. However, as salespeople it can be difficult to integrate efforts and communicate with marketing teams about prospective customers and what their efforts include.
Sales and Marketing Integration
Although it is challenging, Greg explains the importance of integrating sales and marketing efforts to support the sales funnel from start to finish. Strong lines of communication and good relationships are key, no matter the size or industry of your business. Both are important, and they are complementary at every level. Greg illustrates the relationship between sales and marketing through an analogy.
“I look at it like the quarterback and the head coach, they both have extremely important roles,” says Greg. “The quarterback is out there making day to day actions and watching what’s going on in the moment and reacting in a split second. And the marketing team, the head coaches, are sitting back with all this feedback of information coming to them and helping the quarterback make good choices and be in the right spot at the right time. And watch the game from a different angle. I like to call that connection between marketing and sales.”
Marketing and sales both fulfill very unique and important needs for companies, and they must work in tandem to achieve the best results possible. Many times, working alongside the other department leads to a greater understanding and better relationship long term.
“The best people in marketing were the ones that were in the field, working with the sales teams and watching the markets and seeing what was going on,” says Greg. “And then the best salespeople were the ones that didn’t fight marketing, or fight accounting or fight whoever. It’s a ‘Go understand what’s going on, and how we can be a better organization.’”
Sales and Marketing Trends in 2021
Understanding your own team is crucial to success, but staying up to date with industry trends is equally important. You have to set the foundation for the customer journey through organization and preparation, and add to it with unique services and products as industries and technology change. Greg mentions the top sales and marketing trends in 2021 that he has noticed and implemented. Several trends he sees expanding as time goes by include:
- Cost-effectiveness of digital marketing across a variety of platforms
- Direct to consumer advertising on social media
- Targeting video advertising and detailed data supporting strategy
- Potential of online personal brands as a sales professional
Brands should explore digital marketing opportunities across a variety of mediums, including video and social media because they are cost effective, personal and allow for detailed targeting. Social media also holds great potential for sales professionals to build personal brands and become known in the industry.
There are countless trends that Greg expands upon throughout the conversation, but traditional advertising such as newspapers and billboards continue to be effective and complement new trends. No matter the tactic, effective sales and marketing requires understanding who your target audience is, knowing where to reach them and developing a plan to connect with them. Greg puts it simply by saying, “When you’re marketing, you’ve got to reach them all somehow.”
Tune in this episode of OUTdrive to gain additional insight from Cliff and Greg about the psychology of sales, skills of a great salesperson, sales and marketing trends and more. If you want to learn more about sales team training and other opportunities to improve your sales process, visit www.gregmartinelli.net and explore his services.