How to Become an Outside Sales Representative

Outside sales are essential to the success to many companies and organizations. Outside sales representatives are trained workers that spend most of their time traveling to a variety of locations to interact with current clients and try to acquire new potential buyers.

What does an outside sales representative do?

Outside sales representatives are independent sales agents that strive to make a large amount of sales to buyers. They often complete sales calls where they discuss the needs of clients and suggest how their product or service can meet those particular needs. They often present catalogs and samples to help describe the products provided by their company. They may also provide information about availability, prices, and ways the products can increase productivity and save customers money.

What kind of training does an outside sales representative need?

Outside sales representatives need at least a high school diploma or GED. Many employers prefer candidates with some postsecondary education and related sales experience. A bachelor degree may be required for outside sales representatives that work with technical and scientific products. Many aspiring outside sales representatives complete courses in marketing, communication, economics, and independent sales techniques. Many employers provide formal training programs for new outside sales representatives. New representatives often work with experienced workers to gain familiarity with the products and clients of the firm. Outside sales representatives must stay up to date with the current advancements in the field and new products and services. They often participate in seminars that focus on sales techniques.

What are the prospects for a career as an outside sales representative?

Employment of outside sales representatives is expected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 7% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing economy and increased expansion in a variety of goods and services will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be good especially for outside sales representatives that have a college degree and good selling skills. Some job openings will arise from the need to replace outside sales representatives that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do outside sales representatives make?

As of January 2010, outside sales representatives with less than 1 year experience earn average annual salaries between $25,450 and $39,464. Those with 1 to 4 years experience earn average annual salaries between $29,837 and $45,435 (2).

A career as an outside sales representative is a great choice for people with a strong interest in completing a variety of independent sales tasks. Outside sales representatives must have excellent sales techniques and be familiar with a variety of products and services. Desire to sell, persuasiveness, perseverance, and goal orientation are necessary characteristics. Outside sales representatives must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to interact with many different clients and other professionals. They must also be able to work effectively independently as well as part of a team.

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