Succeeding in a Sales Role in Agriculture
By Sonya Buck, AgCareers.com Australia
One the many positions you will see advertised in Agriculture is for a sales professional. During your job search, you’ll see job titles such as Territory Manager, Business Development Manager, Sales Representative, Sales Development Agent, Area Sales Manager, and many others.
As a sales professional, you will sell products relating to all types of farming. Products can range from crop chemicals to feed, up to heavy machinery, making knowledge of the agricultural industry a must.
Any sales role is about customers and building relationships with your clients is key. Your agricultural expertise is essential, as in this instance your advice or input may impact a farmer’s livelihood.
A sales representative is usually assigned a specific territory and traveling might be necessary to reach clients in remote areas. You’ll need to enjoy driving and many roles may require overnight stays away from home, although some salespeople work out of an office contacting prospective customers.
Being a sales person isn’t for everyone and you will need to have certain traits to make this career choice a success. Firstly, you’ll need to be a great listener and assertive, but not aggressive. Being genuine and trustworthy will be important particularly when selling to country people, as we Aussies can spot a fake a mile off.
You will need to a problem solver, as you will be identifying new ways to satisfy a customer’s needs. Farming can be a rollercoaster, as environmental impacts such as weather cannot be controlled, therefore the amount a farmer can spend can be heavily dependent on the success of their last season. Your ability to show empathy will come into play when times have been tough.
Farmer’s also have the added pressure from their customers who sometimes are unwilling to pay what their product is worth, therefore any additional costs to their production may be perceived as squeezing their margins. Any evidence that you can provide which shows improvement to their bottom line by using your product or service could be very compelling.
One of the positives of liaising with Farmers in Australia is that many are innovators and ready embrace new products and services. Another plus is that when building your relationship, you may also even gain friends, not just customers. One a personal note, as a sales person you will need to be optimistic, as not every call will result in a sale.
If you keep your knowledge of agricultural news up-to-date, you’ll be able to pass this on to your customers to help them in their business.
If you take on a role in sales you could be paid a salary or commission, or both and this will vary between companies and subsectors of the industry. You’ll need to be familiar with sales budgets and be able to satisfy key performance indicators.
You may be able to transition from another area of expertise within Agriculture into sales, but some study or training may be required to address the selling aspects of this role.
If you visiting farmers’ properties, you’ll need to love a cuppa and a chat and take the time to listen to your customers to determine their needs.
Being a sales professional can be very rewarding and be a great role for those who like dealing with people and have an enthusiasm for the product that they are selling.
To find sales roles visit www.AgCareers.com and choose the State in which you would like to work.