Farmers are called on several times a week by someone trying to sell them something. As a salesperson you must find a way to set yourself apart from other salesmen. These are some qualities and practices that will give you an advantage over the rest.
Honesty is the most valued quality farmers look for. Honesty is valued more than a high level of expertise. It is important to remember that is ok to say “I don’t know” to a question than to give an answer that you are not sure about. Admit you don’t know but you will find out and get back to them.
It is extremely important to know your product and your company’s background and capabilities in order to be honest when making a sale. Don’t promise more than you can deliver. Always remember a good rule of thumb is to under promise and over deliver. This is a much better way to further your relationship with the farmer.
In order to avoid promising more than you can deliver know when sales end, what return policies are and if discounts are only applied to a minimum amount or semi load. Also remember to add freight, pallets and shrink wrap in your pricing. You can create distrust in in yourself and the company if you don’t explain the pricing components of your products and services.
Knowledge is another valued quality farmers look for. In order to be a skilled salesperson you must know yourself, know your product and know your company. Farmers today are very progressive, have innovative operations and are always looking for ways to improve production. Price is seldom the primary reason someone chooses product. A well informed buyer will base more on value of proposal presented by salesperson.
Along with the two above mentioned qualities these practices from sales people are valued by farmers
Current and relevant information: Practice staying on top of current trends and products. Your customer wants the most current info and data. As a salesperson it is your job to keep your customer updated.
Follow up: Your job as a salesperson is not done after you have made your sales. Taking the time for follow ups with your customer is so valued and important. Check in on him at warehouse before seed is delivered. Stop by while he is out planting to see that everything is going well and then for a ride along in the combine in the fall. This keeps you and your company in the customer’s mind.
Love for your company: Show great pride when talking about products and services.
Getting the best price: Of course the farmer wants good pricing- that’s a no brainer. Knowing your pricing process is vital to getting him good pricing. Be confident in your ability to explain pricing- price, rebates, delivery terms, returns.
In addition to these qualities and practices remember how you present yourself is of importance also. Naturally you would not want to show up on the farm wearing a suit, but a neat appearance presents you in a professional manner.
Organization is important as well. Have paperwork in order. Your truck is often your office so keep it clean and tidy. Don’t just let your paperwork roll around in your truck. Get yourself a file system.
Lastly I say that you must set goals for yourself and a list to accomplish every day. And remember no farmer wants someone that calls him often, but someone that will be honest and deliver.
My name is Tanner Huddleston. I am from Chapin, Illinois. I am a senior at WIU. My major is Agricultural Business. I hope to have a sales job in the agricultural industry after graduation. Go Leathernecks!