Increasing Sales in Rural Markets

Michele Warg
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Rural markets require specialized sales tactics. Techniques that are tried and tested in urban markets often fail when salespeople try to use them in rural environments. Here are a few tips that can help you increase sales in a rural market.

Start by getting to know the area. Too many salespeople meet with prospective customers and plan to get to know the wider community later on. This technique is unlikely to be effective in rural markets. Rather than approaching a potential customer directly, spend some time getting to know the area first. Take the time to visit local businesses and talk face to face with residents. Find out who your competitors are, what they offer and how long they have been operating in the area. In addition to this specific information, find out general information about the local area. Who owns the local shops, what do they sell, and how do the locals like to spend their time? This background information will help you to connect with potential customers in rural markets.

Rural markets demand a very specific type of persuasion in order to make a sale. In rural markets, there is a high probability that the business owners you are hoping to turn into customers are currently purchasing goods and services from their personal friends. Therefore, making a sale isn't just a matter of talking up your product. You also have to convince the customer that switching to your brand isn't a betrayal of his friend or neighbor; it's just business. This sales technique often involves convincing the customer that your product is qualitatively different from what his current supplier is able to offer.

In rural markets, becoming a part of the community can help you to close sales and gather new leads. Consider holding a fundraiser that benefits a good cause in the community, such as raising money for new equipment in the local school or supporting a long-established local charity. Ongoing commitments, such as donating a certain percentage of your profits to a local cause, can be even more effective than a one-off fundraiser, as they show that you want your business to meaningfully integrate into the community. On a less formal level, you can build relationships by taking the time to talk to local people and give out free samples or no-strings advice. When you are introducing your brand to a rural market, always consider what you can do for the community — not what the community can offer you.

Rural markets require different sales tactics compared to urban environments. By putting these tips into action, you can integrate your business into the community and gain the trust of local people. This will help you to make more sales in rural markets, where relationships and integrity are often highly valued.

Photo courtesy of Simon Howden at



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