How many times has a farmer come into your office and told you about some "great, new marketing alternative" that the guy down the street is offering... and wants to know why you're not? This has probably happened more times than you care to remember.
What do you do in this situation?
The natural reaction is to assure the customer that you can offer the same thing as the guy down the road. After all, you want to keep the business!
But, that is not always a wise decision. Sometimes what the guy down the road is offering is just plain foolish. Sometimes it's not such a crazy idea, but it's still not a win-win for you and the customer. And, even if the idea has some merit, you know there are alternatives that are better for the customer.
So, how can you address the situation without losing a customer?
By turning a negative into a positive. This is to say that when a farmer comes to you asking for a particular contract or service that you know isn't good, this is a great opportunity to help him. You don't need to offer the same things as the guy down the road; in fact, it's better that you don't.
His curiosity is a great opening for you. It gives you the opportunity to, first, explain the reasons why you don't offer certain contracts or services. The farmer will appreciate your honesty. Then, you have the opportunity to explain the marketing alternatives you do offer and why.
There's always going to be some hot-issue in the spotlight that you'll have to address and your customers are going to come to you asking for, and sometimes demanding, services that you can't provide. What you have to do is prepare yourself for the situation, by using these four methods:
- Learn about all types of marketing alternatives and how they work, even the ones you don't offer.
- Be able to distinguish the good from the bad by knowing the risks involved that may work against the farmer and even your elevator.
- Be able to explain effectively to your customer how contracts work and why you choose to offer certain alternatives and not others.
- And finally, be prepared to offer the farmer a better alternative.
After all, if you prepare yourself ahead of time, then when you're asked to do some undesirable contract, you'll find it easier to turn the meeting into a positive discussion.