One of the greatest weapons in a grain merchandiser's arsenal can be making deferred basis sales. It can be a great way to reduce basis risk, reduce margin call/cash flow risk, and set the stage for some big margin opportunities. As grain merchandisers, we’re good at selling what we own but it's convincing users of the opportunities to lock in future needs that elevators struggle with most. How do we learn to be a better seller?
1) View it as an opportunity to help users – it’s not their problem but our opportunity.
2) Selling is all about establishing relationships – it has to be a cooperative effort – the two of you working together toward a common goal.
3) Get to know the user’s business – show interest in what they do without the thought of selling them.
4) Find a need that has not been met.
5) Make contact and get to know people at a higher level in the organization; but, do it in a way that you don’t offend your regular buyer. Include them in the process.
6) Offer a selection of marketing alternatives – Give them choices in how they structure pricing, delivery, etc.
7) Ask the question, “What can I do to get your best bid?”
8) Good relationships are not built overnight. It takes time.
9) Keep trying. If one idea doesn’t work, try another.
10) Realize fostering buyer relationships is a job that never ends. The people you deal with constantly change and you have to continually develop new relationships.
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Topics: Grain Merchandising