The block of granite which is an obstacle in the pathway of the weak becomes a stepping-stone in the pathway of the strong. Thomas Carlyle
One of my good friends was worried about his son’s chances to graduate secondary school. Just like many other teenagers, the son had neglected his homework and assignments for almost three years, and during the spring he had therefore been under pressure from tight deadlines and intensive homework.
In that context, the farmer’s law occurred to me. It is hard but fair: You have to sow if you want to harvest – in farming, it is indisputable and obvious to everyone that the field needs plowing, the seeds must be planted, you have to water and spray, and finally you can harvest – but that assumes that you have plowed, planted and watered.
If the farmer had run his farm the same way many students take care of their school, homework, reports and learning, there would be nothing to harvest. For if you don’t sow, when it is time to sow, then you can’t harvest when that time comes. And when it is harvest time, it is too late to sow.
But what does it look like in your sales organisation: Are you complying with the farmer’s law, or are you trying to harvest without sowing every day? The farmer’s law also applies to the professional salesperson:
1. The field must be sprayed – are you ready to sell?
- Is marketing ready? Website, brochures, business cards, letter templates
- Is the product ready? Can you deliver fast enough, and is the price competitive?
- Is the organisation ready? Do the salespeople have the time to sell?
2. The seeds must be planted – how many contacts do you need to generate?
- How many people do you need to call or door canvass every week? (Try to set clear targets)
- Which other opportunities do you have to establish contact? (Network, direct mails, etc.)
- Who do you want to get in contact with? (Industries, number of employees, geography, title, etc.)
3. You have to water and spray – how do you secure progress through the sales process?
- How to you ensure that you are talking to the right decision maker?
- How do you get the decision maker to see and agree with your business case?
- How do you make your concept/solution mission critical to each prospect?
4. And finally, it’s time to harvest – how do you get better at closing orders?
- How do you negotiate better deals?
- Who should you turn down?
- How do you avoid/minimise discounts?
Exploit the sales potential: Comply with the farmer’s law.