Upselling is defined as “a sales technique whereby a seller induces the customer to purchase more expensive items, upgrades, or other add-ons in an attempt to make a more profitable sale.” If there is any industry that has been exposed to the full range of upselling, it has to be dairy farming.
The Good the Bad and the Upsell!!
Having access to the right products is good. Wasting time searching for the right match is bad. Spending beyond your means can signal an upsell. You don’t want to finish a transaction and discover that you have just purchased something you either didn’t really need or don’t know how to use. Especially annoying is realizing that the salesperson driving out your lane feels great about discovering a vein of gold on your operation or at least some silver to mine. Meanwhile, you may feel used or, at the very least, somewhat tarnished by a transaction that ended in an upsell.
“FACT: If you are in the business of running a dairy operation, you very likely have been upsold at one time or another.”
Everyone connected to milk production wants to dip into your pot of money. Equipment. Semen. Feed. Ration Formulation. Health services. You feel constantly pressured by those whose input or product is necessary for your business. You need them. However, every supplier takes some of your time and a lot of decision making and, at the end of the day, you may not be fully convinced that you are getting the best value for the money. For instance: where was the value in all that time taken to listen?
The litmus test for every purchase should be based on results. Increased income or reduced costs must be assessed from a measured-results perspective. Perhaps two pieces of equipment save operator time or do multiple tasks but what impact do those features have on your primary dairy operation goals? Is it better for the cows or for the ego?
Upselling works best when it provides a win for both parties
Regardless of the product or service that you need, you should always look for ways to get the best value out of a purchase. You should look for ways to go beyond the simple exchange of money paid for a service or product. Find an option that meets specific needs. For example, it is a definite plus if smaller dairy manager can benefit from the hands-on experience of larger operations. If that information can impact change in a positive – and measurable – way, that’s great upselling. If it merely makes you spend beyond your limit…it’s bad upselling!
How Well-Trained Are Your Up Sellers?
If the salespeople coming unto your farm are well-trained by their companies, they know the art of upselling. That’s their job. Should you automatically resist and fight for a lower price?
Not always! Instead, see if these four conditions are present. 1. They want your money. 2. They want your business. 3. They care about your cows. 4. They care about your business.
These are four facts that must be present for you to interact well with sellers. There is no value to you of the person is only looking out for their own numbers exclusively and isn’t interested in what’s best for your dairy operation. Although financial stability is the goal of every dairy operator, dealing with sales pressure goes beyond fighting against upselling. It’s all about better results.
Here are five upsells and what they mean to dairy owners and managers.
- “Would You Like Fries with That?”
One of the most common forms of upselling are the six words, “Would you like fries with that?” We recognize it and often say “Yes!” while in the drive through, but it is also happening in our dairy operations. Representatives of vet services, nutrition and feed suppliers and equipment salespeople offer their version. “Would you like more semen?” “More tonnage?” “More horsepower? This a classic upsell. The most common reaction is “sure,” and bingo, you’ve just added an extra cost to the bill. Money has changed hands but are the results better?
- Go ahead. “Take if for a Test Drive.” OR “Try Before You Buy.”
Personally speaking, this is the upsell method that often works to get me to spend. The value of seeing how the product works converts most skeptics to supporters – providing that the product does what it claims. It’s natural when faced with spending a lot of money that there can be a reluctance to get off the fence too quickly. The opportunity to use the product can often result in them selling themselves. The further effect of this is that the person who has taken the test drive or used the product becomes part of the company sales team because of their endorsement of the product.
- “For a Limited Time, we have This Offer JUST FOR YOU!”
We all love to be appreciated. To be appreciated with a gift is especially rewarding. LOL. How do you respond when you hear, “This month’s order comes with a windbreaker?” If you’re like me, you quickly feel that jacket cutting the early morning chill.” Some folks are most susceptible to a new cap! Who among us would turn down a pass or trip to World Dairy Expo or the Royal Winter Fair? At first, it sounds like an irresistible freebie. After all, you have to wear the proper clothing. Why not make a fashion statement? If one of your favorite dairy getaways in Dairy Expo or the Royal, why not accept a pass or invitation that comes with a purchase that you’re going to make anyway? Provided you were going to make it anyway. And provided there are no other strings attached such as sponsorships or donations or endorsements? Darn. It is always best to ask those pesky second questions.
- “Work with us. We know how to WALK THE TALK.”
Glib buzz words must include action. Some salespeople do all their talking on the phone. Others stand in your doorway or barn alley and expect to close the sale without looking closely at your operation. Look for the salesperson, vet or nutritionist that wants to see their product in the setting it will work in. These people make recommendations based on your specific needs. They don’t read them from an instruction manual or sales pamphlet or product brochure. A bad upsell turns into a good upsell when the person you’re working with is committed to matching what works best for dairy and for the cows.
How refreshing would it be to have someone who is willing to walk the cows? A person who provides a knowledgeable second pair of eyes from a vantage point that is closer than the farm lane or telephone? A great second question to ask anyone selling to your farm is, “Do you see what I see?” Sometimes familiarity blinds us to gradual changes. An objective viewpoint an be very valuable. They may catch BCS as being too low or too high. Or they could spot impending herd lameness. Or see that there is not enough sand in the free stalls.
Don’t look at too narrow a window, whether it’s yours or a salesperson’s. You have to go beyond simply adding to inventory, or tools or equipment. There is a temptation to make a purely monetary exchange and ask the seller to beat the competition on price only. This is a short-term gain. But, in the long term, neither side wins.
- “Let’s talk about VALUE ADDED.” “For EVERYBODY.”
Offering and receiving value added is part of upselling. The key here is that both the buyer and the seller must understand exactly what value is being provided. A vague promise of future benefits is not a real value-added proposition. Although the idea of a quick fix is appealing, the very nature of operating a dairy business means that the simple answer could in itself be a problem. Value turns on ability. Sustainability. Profitability. Dependability.
There are many ways to add value.
Great companies know how to provide value. They work the numbers. They provide formulas. They provide logistics. They can demonstrate with examples. They are willing and able to set up training that helps staff in responding to a variety of situations, “If this happens … do this.” Value-added must clearly demonstrate how slightly added cost or changed protocols will provide measurable improvement.
Seek out a vet, supplier or sales rep that has a meaningful story of what the product could do for the operation. Be open to new information. Training and follow up is invaluable. It’s not upselling if you have been shown respect for your goals and the time and effort it takes to achieve them. The right person is not afraid of investing their time and effort into achieving a good outcome. This will build a relationship that goes beneath the surface transaction. That is why these sellers are not afraid to ask for a decision. They know how to interpret trends. Is it a downturn? Or an opportunity? Or is the product or procedure outdated? When you find the person that fits all these requirements…there is nothing to fear in being upsold!”
The Bullvine Bottom Line
“The thing about dealing with salespeople is that the minute someone gets on the phone or walks in the door, you are in danger of being upsold. Squeezing clients for short-term profits from upselling is not just bad for customers. It’s bad for business. When it’s done right, a good upsell leaves both sides—customer and seller—feeling like they’ve won. High five!!