5 Things That Make A Great Rural Sales Rep

 In Rural Marketing, Rural Sales

We’ve been in the privileged position to interview, teach and train hundreds of rural sales reps over the years.

This means we get to see what separates the great from the good.

Here are the five factors we believe make a truly great rural sales rep:

#1: They Are Commercially-Minded

They know their numbers and run their territory like it’s their own business and you can bet they are running their own spreadsheet.

They know their margins and what part they can play with in negotiations. The more you can share with them commercially, the more they and you will benefit.

Give them boundaries on margin of course because no one likes things to get silly but not so tightly that they can’t do the deal.

Farming customers hate those rural reps that aren’t empowered and “have to talk to head office”. 

#2: They Have Astute Time Management

They know where their time is spent best.

They know if they don’t spend it wisely it will be spent poorly so they are very protective of what and where the put their time into.

Travel time is always taken into consideration and they know where time is best spent in their territories.

They will get grumpy if taken off the road for too long so use them wisely and sparingly.

#3: They Plan Ahead

They are planners which means they don’t waste their days making their call runs on the hoof or the night before. They will plan their week ahead a week before or even earlier.

They know who they will see, when and why because they hate wasting time with the wrong prospects. They know it costs them and their employers money when they get it wrong. Give them the planning tools so they can plan ahead but be flexible if what they use is already working.

#4: They Love Incentives

Top sales performers love incentives because they back themselves. Do not cap their earnings or you will cap your own. Incentivise them for discretionary performance and you will see discretionary, above and beyond efforts. This is good for everyone and represents a true alignment in value. They win and you win which makes it a wonderful thing.

#5: They Know Their Territories Inside Out

They know who’s who in the zoo.

They know key influencers in their community and the local causes they need to back. They will be active contributors to their community and leverage this standing in customer prospecting and networking.

They truly own the title of territory manager because they manage their territories (that’s what TM is all about).

They know what is valuable to whom in their communities so make sure you listen and consult with them before you do any marketing as they will always be better informed than you.

So take the time to stop to ask yourself:

  • Are your rural sales reps exhibiting these factors?
  • Are you needing to (micro) manage them instead of them managing themselves?
  • Are you struggling to ascertain the true potential of your rural sales team?
  • Are you sick and tired of constant sales surprises?
  • Are you confident they have the right competencies and capabilities?

If you are, it’s time you taught and trained them to be the best they can be. Invest in your sales training programs.

We are here to help (and we guarantee our results).

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