An agricultural sales representative endeavors to sell agricultural products or services to farmers or other agriculture-based businesses. A sales representative will work for a supplier of farm equipment products, like seed or pesticide, or services such as waste removal. They may work in an office setting, travel frequently in rural areas and maintain a home-based office, or a combination of both, as site visits are often necessary even for inside sales representatives. Professional sales representatives work full-time schedules, often with workweeks over 40 hours long.
|Key Skills||Customer service, interpersonal and communication skills, stamina, and persuasiveness|
|Degree Level||Bachelor's (in some cases)|
|Degree Name||Business, marketing, or related field; alternatively, engineering, chemistry, or another field relating to more specialized products|
|Experience||None required, but sales or agriculture experience is beneficial|
|Salary (2015)||$59,080 per year (Median annual pay for all wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Get Relevant Education
Getting a job as an agricultural sales representative does not require a particular educational background, though a high school diploma or GED is typically necessary, and a bachelor's degree might be preferred. Those who aspire to sell agricultural tools and products specifically may want to take courses specific to agriculture.
Some universities offer undergraduate programs in fields such as agricultural leadership or agricultural systems management that could help prepare graduates for careers in agricultural marketing and sales. Courses might cover farm management, accounting, agricultural equipment, sales techniques, Web design, and marketing.
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Agribusiness Operations
- Agricultural Economics
- Farm and Ranch Management
- Farm Supplies Retailing and Wholesaling
Companies might provide formal training for entry-level sales representatives. Sales reps also might attend courses or seminars to strengthen their sales skills. Beginning-level sales representatives might be accompanied by a more experienced representative when visiting customers in person.
Gain Work Experience
With greater experience, sales representatives can work independently and might be assigned their own projects or regions with increasing responsibility. Agricultural sales representatives should cultivate relationships with customers and be aware of regional and seasonal farming needs.
An agricultural sales representative analyzes sales, maintains customer information, and performs other administrative duties. Responsibilities also might include researching new products and monitoring competing companies. Some products might require an agricultural sales representative to travel in tandem with an expert who can answer customers' technical questions.
Professional certifications in sales are available; they often require formal training and completion of an exam. Experienced agricultural sales representatives might earn larger assignments where commissions are greater. Those with good leadership skills can be promoted to managerial or supervisory positions, and they might be responsible for training and mentoring new sales representatives.
To recap, aspiring agricultural sales representatives might consider taking courses specifically related to agriculture and business before gaining on-the-job training and advancing in their careers.