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Lecture 17

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International Business
INTB 2200
Luming Wang

Lecture 17: Sales Force Management In Rural Markets Let us now turn to personal selling and sales force management in the rural context. As a general rule rural marketing involves more intensive personal selling effort compared to urban marketing. Rural Marketing Calls for Some Unique Traits on the Part of Salesmen While the basic traits of personal selling such as empathy, enthusiasm, communication skill and knowledge of selling techniques are required in equal measure by urban and rural salesmen, the latter require certain additional traits and capabilities in order to match the peculiar conditions of the rural market. Willingness to Get Located in Rural Areas First of all, only those who are genuinely happy in living and working in the villages can become good rural salesmen. It is common knowledge that the rural areas lack modem amenities compared with the urban areas, Because of this factor, salesmen are generally reluctant to work in rural centres. To circumvent this problem, some firms locate their salesmen in towns and allow them to cover the rural areas assigned to them from these towns. Experience has shown that such an arrangement does not produce optimum results. Experience has also shown that successful rural marketing firms locate their rural salesmen right in the midst of the rural market to be covered. Lipton India for example, has located one of its salesmen in Khategaon, an interior place in Deva district in Madhya Pradesh. It takes three hours by bus to reach the location from Indore Similarly, it has located a salesman at Anthiyoor in Tamil Nadu, which can be reached (only after a 2 1/2 hours journey by bus from Coimbatore followed by half an hours walk through paddy fields. The company proudly cites this practice as one main source of its bazaar power. Cultural Congruence Location is just the starting point. The salesmen must have proper acquaintance wi6 the cultural pattern of rural life in the given rural territory. Since the cultural pattern of rural communities differs from one another, a cultural background that is in consonance with the culture of the given rural community is a specific requisite of success for the rural salesmen. Urban markets in contrast, present a cultural convergence. Rural salesmen must also be able to guide the choice of products. They should not hook the customers into buying all the products in the catalogues. On the contrary, they must help them eliminate items that are outside their specific requirements and those that are beyond their financial reach. Attitude Factors Attitude factors are of particular significance
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