Career Development

What Does an Outside Sales Representative Do?

Find out what an outside sales representative does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as an outside sales representative.

Outside sales representatives are the quintessential “go-getters” of the business world. They are highly motivated individuals who strive to succeed by closing deals and making connections with potential clients.

Outside sales representatives typically work on their own, visiting clients or meeting with them in person to pitch a product or service. They may also use phone calls, emails, faxes, or other forms of communication to keep in touch with clients between visits.

Outside Sales Representative Job Duties

An outside sales representative typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Generating leads and closing sales through face-to-face meetings with prospective clients
  • Maintaining relationships with current customers to ensure repeat business
  • Reporting on progress towards goals and ensuring that targets are met on time
  • Developing business relationships with new clients to build a roster of potential clients that may be interested in the company’s products or services
  • Presenting products or services to potential clients in person or via telephone or web conference
  • Conducting research on market conditions and potential client needs in order to identify opportunities for new business opportunities
  • Participating in trade shows and other events where the company’s products or services are showcased
  • Supporting other departments by following up on leads generated by other staff members
  • Traveling to meet with clients at their offices or conducting meetings at offsite locations

Outside Sales Representative Salary & Outlook

Outside sales representatives’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the company they work for.

  • Median Annual Salary: $66,500 ($31.97/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of outside sales representatives is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade.

Employment growth will be limited by the decline in retail establishments, as fewer people shop in stores and more purchase goods online. However, some industries, such as real estate and insurance, are expected to continue to employ a large number of outside sales representatives.

Outside Sales Representative Job Requirements

A few of the qualifications that are often looked for in an outside sales representative include:

Education: Most outside sales representative positions require a minimum of a high school diploma or GED. Some companies may prefer a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as business, finance or marketing. Relevant coursework includes sales, marketing, finance, economics, business and computer skills.

Training & Experience: Outside sales representatives typically receive on-the-job training from their new employer. This training may include learning about the company’s products and services, the company’s sales process and the company’s sales management style. The training may also include learning about the company’s computer systems and software.

Outside sales representatives may also receive training in the form of seminars or conferences. These training sessions may focus on topics such as sales, customer service, leadership and time management.

Certifications & Licenses: There is no specific certification required to become an outside sales representative. However, obtaining a certification can help increase your earning potential and help you qualify for more sales positions.

Outside Sales Representative Skills

Outside sales representatives need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication skills: Communication skills are essential in sales roles, as they allow you to interact with customers and colleagues in a professional manner. Outside sales representatives often communicate with customers over the phone or in person, so it’s important to be able to speak clearly and concisely. You may also need to communicate with colleagues and managers about sales goals, customer feedback and other important information.

Product knowledge: Knowledge of the products you sell can help you educate customers and make sales. You can learn about the products you sell by reading product descriptions, studying product images and watching product demonstrations. You can also learn about the products by talking to other sales representatives or managers at your company.

Time management: Time management skills allow you to complete your work on time and meet your goals. As a sales representative, you may have a quota to meet each month. Having good time management skills can help you meet your quota and complete your work on time.

Problem-solving skills: As an outside sales representative, you may encounter challenges that require you to think critically and solve problems. For example, you may need to find a solution to a customer’s complaint or find a way to meet a sales quota. Your ability to solve problems can help you overcome challenges and achieve success in your job.

Persuasive selling: Persuasive selling is the ability to convince customers to buy a product or service. This is an important skill for sales representatives because it allows them to increase their sales and earn a higher income. To be persuasive, you need to be confident and friendly. You can also use your knowledge of the product or service to help customers make a decision.

Outside Sales Representative Work Environment

Outside sales representatives work in a variety of settings, including office environments, manufacturing and production facilities, retail establishments, and customers’ homes and businesses. They may travel extensively to meet with customers or attend sales meetings, conferences, and trade shows. Because they work with customers in person, they must be able to establish and maintain good relationships. They also need to be able to handle rejection and continue to make sales calls even when they are unsuccessful. Outside sales representatives usually work a standard 40-hour week, but they may work longer hours to meet deadlines or quotas. They may also travel overnight to attend sales meetings or visit customers.

Outside Sales Representative Trends

Here are three trends influencing how outside sales representatives work. Outside sales representatives will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Growth of Digital Sales

The growth of digital sales is a trend that is quickly changing the way businesses sell their products and services. As more and more people shop online, businesses are realizing that they need to have a strong presence on the internet in order to be successful.

This means that outside sales representatives will need to learn how to sell online as well as through traditional channels. They will also need to be familiar with the latest digital marketing tools and techniques in order to reach potential customers.

More Use of Technology

As technology advances, businesses are using it to make their operations more efficient. This includes using technology to automate tasks that were once done by humans, such as customer service calls or data entry.

Outside sales representatives can take advantage of this trend by becoming experts in using technology to help them do their jobs more efficiently. This may include learning how to use software to manage leads or track sales activity. In addition, outside sales representatives should be prepared to work with clients who are using technology to improve their operations.

Greater Focus on Customer Experience

Customer experience has become an increasingly important focus for businesses in recent years. This is because customers now have so many options when it comes to where they spend their money, and they are quick to switch to competitors if they feel that they are not getting a good value.

Outside sales representatives can capitalize on this trend by developing deep knowledge of their product lines and understanding what makes their company unique. They can then use this knowledge to create customer experiences that keep customers coming back for more.

How to Become an Outside Sales Representative

A career as an outside sales representative can be very rewarding. It offers the opportunity to meet new people, travel, and earn a good income. However, it’s important to consider all the aspects of this job before you make the decision to pursue it.

First, you need to be comfortable talking with strangers about their businesses and products. You also need to be able to handle rejection and have the ability to sell yourself and your ideas. Outside sales representatives often work long hours and weekends, so you need to be able to manage your time effectively. And finally, you need to be willing to move around frequently if necessary.

Related: How to Write an Outside Sales Representative Resume

Advancement Prospects

Many outside sales representatives start their careers working for a company that manufactures or distributes products. They may be assigned to a particular territory and be responsible for calling on customers in that territory. As they gain experience and prove themselves, they may be promoted to sales manager, in which case they would oversee a team of sales representatives.

Some outside sales representatives eventually open their own businesses. This can be a risky proposition, but those who are successful can reap rewards far greater than they could as employees.

Outside Sales Representative Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we’re passionate about what we do and it shows in our products, our service, and most importantly, our people. We’re looking for an experienced outside sales representative to join our team and help us continue providing the high level of service our customers have come to expect. The ideal candidate will have a proven track record of success in sales, as well as the ability to build relationships and close deals. He or she will be self-motivated, with a strong work ethic and the ability to work independently. The ability to cold call and generate new leads is a must.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Develop and maintain relationships with new and existing customers to increase sales
  • Understand customer needs and requirements to provide solutions that meet their expectations
  • Achieve or exceed assigned sales targets
  • Prepare and deliver presentations, demonstrations, and product/service proposals to customers
  • Negotiate pricing and terms of sale with customers
  • Monitor market trends and competitor activity to identify business opportunities
  • Stay up-to-date on company products and services to effectively sell to customers
  • Record and maintain accurate customer contact and account information
  • Timely submit reports detailing customer meetings, activities, and opportunities
  • Participate in trade shows and other marketing events as needed
  • Perform administrative tasks such as creating sales reports and updating customer databases
  • Adhere to all company policies and procedures

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience
  • 3-5 years of sales experience, with a proven track record of success
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Valid driver’s license and clean driving record

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Experience in outside sales, B2B sales, or similar
  • Experience with CRM software
  • Familiarity with the territory/region
  • Knowledge of the industry and trends
  • Established relationships with potential customers

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