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What Is an Outside Sales Associate and How to Become One

What Does an Outside Sales Associate Do?

As an outside sales associate, you travel to potential and existing clients as a sales representative for your company. You spend significant amounts of time traveling. Sales associates give presentations and product demonstrations, maintain current client relationships and find innovative ways to find new clients. You will need to understand your market and your competition. Outside sales reps should be experts in their field and professional at all times.

How Do You Become an Outside Sales Associate?

To become an outside sales associate, you may not need any specific educational requirements beyond a high school diploma, but many reps are completing degrees to gain an edge in this competitive career. Most jobs provide product and sales training. As an outside sales associate, you represent your employer, and so you must be friendly, professional, and knowledgeable. You should also have exceptional sales skills, market knowledge, and personal drive.

How to Be Good at Outside Sales

Outside sales associates are expected to have a certain level of talent in sales. To become a good sales rep, you must add to this natural talent by honing your skills in marketing, communication, negotiation, and business best practices as well as market and product knowledge. Whether you are working in B2B or individual sales, you must be driven and self-starting. You will work independently and make most of your income from commission. This is a highly competitive career, and so you need to thrive in high pressure, competitive environments.

What is the Difference Between Outside and Inside Sales?

There are several differences between a career in outside sales and inside sales. An outside sales rep practices the traditional methodology of traveling to the customer, providing knowledge, answering questions, demonstrating products, and developing face-to-face relationships. This can be very effective in certain industries, and this methodology is still widely used. A career in inside sales is a virtual based sales career, where reps interact with customers online. The basic purpose of the job is the same—providing knowledge, answering questions, and demonstrating products—but relationships are developed virtually, requiring a unique set of skills.

What Is an Outside Sales Job Like?

Each job in outside sales is unique in its demands and benefits, but there are some general similarities. Outside sales reps are required to travel, often by car in their region or territory, but sometimes farther. They visit current and potential clients to inform them about their products, provide demonstrations, answer questions, address issues, and develop and maintain relationships. Sales reps usually work on a commission basis, and so they are motivated to provide exceptional customer service and be experts in their field. This means they often work long hours, but the career can be very rewarding.