Trust is a deeply important part of our business. Every sales agent in every industry knows this. But building trust is a little different with farmers. They will not give you the time of day until they trust you. It could take a year, two years, maybe even five years. Many agents won’t keep at it year after year–we will. Building trust is a must.
Here are the 5 ways we build trust with farmers:
1. Know your products. Know them inside and out. You can fake confidence; you can’t fake knowledge. And don’t just know your products as an industry insider, but know how to explain them to a customer who is coming to you with their livelihood and is scared they’re going to be swindled. Know how to describe your product in their language and figure out ways to show how it’ll benefit their farm.
2. Respond promptly.Time is money, so don’t waste your farmer’s time. If you miss a call or an email, get back to them right away, especially if your farmer has questions. The quicker you get back to them, the more they’ll learn you care about their questions. If you consistently offer instant feedback, you’ll build trust.
3. Branch out. You build trust by letting farmers know about programs that are beneficial to them, even if it’s not a program you offer. It’s the old philosophy from “Miracle on 34th Street” (one of my favorite Christmas movies), but it still rings true . . . and it works. Do what’s best for your clients by finding them deals and discounts offered by other organizations.
4. Visit in person.Go out and see them face to face. It lets them know you care about them, not just the money they make. Some farmers have insurance agents they only know by mail or phone. You can grow comfortable in a relationship like that, but you’re not building trust. Typically, I try to visit my farmers at least once a year. Even though I live in Michigan, I have a farmer in Pennsylvania I see about three times a year. There’s no excuse to never visit your clients.
5. Never say “there’s nothing I can do.”Get that phrase out of your head. As an experienced sales agent, I’ve been trained my whole life to never say the sentence “there’s nothing I can do.” I’ve gotten so many new farmers who’ve left agents that told them that phrase. Yes, there may come a time when you can’t deliver the precise expectation your farmer is demanding, but that still doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. You can give that farmer options for what they can do next time, or you can help them figure out a new plan, or you can call the insurance company and let them listen to the call. You can’t always do everything, but you should never say you’ll do nothing.
At the end of the day, it’s always about the farmer. Like any business, if you’re in business just to make money, you won’t be in business for long, nor should you be. If you’re trying to sell to make a client’s life better, you’ll be successful, and the farmers of our country will be better off.