Outside sales (also called field sales) are all about face-to-face deals. Like inside sales reps, outside sales reps typically report back to an office, but much of their time is spent traveling to meet customers in-person at events such as trade shows or conferences.
Outside sales has long been the dominant mode of selling — and still makes up between 50% and 70% of sales roles, depending on the source of data. But its popularity has steadily declined with the advent of more sophisticated technology and communication methods–and the COVID-19 pandemic has obviously been a major disruptor to its success, with travel being much more difficult and fewer and fewer in-person events taking place.
Outside sales relies on deep emotional intelligence: being able to read your customers’ body language and behavior. Paying attention to social cues and adjusting your approach accordingly can be the thing that helps you close the deal.
What Do Outside Sales Representatives Do?
Outside sales reps often manage their own schedules and work more independently from company-imposed quotas than inside reps.
While fundamentally outside and inside sales are very different in the skills required to be successful, they do utilize similar tools and activities.
Like inside sales reps, outside sales reps use email, CRM platforms, and social media to make the selling process easier. While these individuals need to have an affinity for speaking to people, using new technology and marketing software makes choosing quality leads much easier and cuts down research time.
Even outside sales reps now spend much of their time selling remotely, with face-to-face meetings used to close the deal, confirm orders, or discuss renewals.
Outside sales is all about establishing a strong relationship, getting to know your leads, and building trust. If your customers can connect your company with a real person who they have a good relationship with they are much more likely to stick with you.