Professional Pest Controller Magazine Issue 90

27 February 2018

How do you sell pest control to a farmer?

Feature pest control | PPC90 March 2018

With stewardship being (very nearly) two years old, Marketing and Communications Manager Ben Massey looks at the business opportunities that have been created.

Do farmers need support with their pest control

Back in 2016 I wrote about stewardship opening up new business opportunities once the initiative ‘went live’ and started to affect farmers. I said then that if you present yourself in the right way to this difficult-to -sell-to client base, we can make pest technicians the new agronomists – ie a valued, specialist consultant to the agricultural sector. 

Some of these guys can get their hands on professional use rodenticides, but some can’t. Previously we said that farmers and gamekeepers have two choices: get qualified or get help! But how do we show that getting help is a better option than getting qualified?

Be better than a farmer or gamekeeper – and tell them!

Challenge knowledge

Time moves on, and so does knowledge. As a (BPCA) professional you keep up-to-date with pest control practice from a variety of sources and have at least a Level 2 Award in Pest Management. You have built your knowledge to a significant level over and above the general farmer or gamekeeper (or another self-treating potential customer), and I argue it’s time to start showing it.

Unless a customer is concerned they are not best placed to resolve an issue, they will continue self-serving. Use your knowledge to move the customer from their comfort zone into a learning zone (see illustration). Here the customer will start exploring more sources of information to help them return to the security of their comfort zone.

Selling to farmersDo this by building your relationship up as an ‘expert’, and your measure of success is if your number makes it into their phone book, and you’re on first name terms. Ask how they currently manage specific issues and advise accordingly. Giving a snippet of knowledge allows you to build stock as someone that can help. Beware, you have to have answers ready, or you will miss the opportunity!

Demonstrate skills

You’ve got an in – you’ve had a call back or have been invited across for a visit. The objective now is to move the customer to the so-called panic zone, not by creating panic, but by merely demonstrating that you and your company will be a more stable, safer and easier solution than trying to keep up with more learning.

If they currently self-treat, why not show the customer how some simple changes to their existing process could result in improved results? If they already use an alternative supplier, then there is an element of dog-eat-dog here.

But, whatever you do, just undercutting their current arrangement is not a healthy approach to building a lasting portfolio. My advice is to focus on why your knowledge and skills are best suited to the current and future issues the customer is likely to come across.

Shout about it

We all love a recommendation, so encourage customers to review you publically. A lot of commercial setups don’t like sharing who they use for various services – after all, they’re in competition too.
If you’ve come across an issue and helped the situation, then you should be showcasing it. After all, we have to shout about the excellent work the pest control industry does, nobody else will – be loud and proud about what you do.

If you’ve got the nod from the customer to take photos on site, then why not build a little album and put together with some words about what you did to resolve a problem? Blog post for your website now created!

By developing a range of interesting case studies you will have material ready to challenge the knowledge of future leads, reducing groundwork next time. Throw your blog post through social media feeds too, it takes moments. Why not try with something pretty routine and build from there?

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Ben-Massey-Staff-bubbleBen Massey
Marketing and Communications Manager

1 March 2018  |  PPC90

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