What is Outside Sales?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2019
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Outside sales is a sales approach where the salesperson approaches potential clients in person, rather than attempting to earn their business relying solely on the client approaching the salesperson. Often, outside sales require a great deal of travel, which can create considerable expense for the sales budget. At the same time, a traveling salesperson can sometimes secure the business of new clients who would never consider working with a company that relied only on inside sales efforts.

While modern technology has enhanced the efficiency and effectiveness of inside sales efforts, it is not unusual for many companies to utilize a sales effort that combines both inside and outside sales strategies. For example, a business may designate members of a telemarketing team to seek sales appointments within a given sales territory. The telemarketers make the first contact with prospective clients, and determine their level of interest. Should the interest merit a visit to the prospect, the data is passed on to an outside sales professional, who makes the visit. Thanks to the efficiency of electronic communications today, a traveling salesperson can receive the contact information immediately, approach the client, and schedule an appointment at a time that is mutually convenient.


One of the benefits of utilizing an outside sales team is that the prospective customer gets to talk with a company representative face to face. This important factor can often establish a solid rapport that is difficult to manage using the voice and email communications that are the basis for most inside sales efforts. On-site visits provide the salesperson with the ability to interact with the client verbally, as well as through body languages, and facial expressions. The salesperson is often able to use the data received during this face to face encounter to adapt his or her sales pitch so that it addresses the needs and goals of the client in a much more effective fashion. As a result, the potential for sales commissions increases, the clients receive quality products at reasonable prices, and everyone benefits from the relationship.

The expense of traveling has caused many companies to reduce budgets for outside sales efforts. For this reason, it is not unusual for a great deal of groundwork to be put in place before the site visit is scheduled. Unlike days gone by when salespeople were assigned large geographical territories to manage, and would drop in on prospects unexpectedly, this approach is rarely used today by businesses that offer products on a national or international level.


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Post 2

@Suntan12 - You know I have never thought of that but it makes a lot of sense. There will always be a percentage of people that will buy but the majority will not.

People with successful sales careers know this instinctively. I also heard that it is best to schedule a block of two hours so that you can do your cold calling and telemarketing.

This block of time is best in the morning so that you can schedule appointments in the afternoons. The two hour timeframe is long enough to get a few appointments and to potentially get some call backs.

It really a good idea to set personal goals and write them down on a calendar so that you stay focused and achieve these goals. Asking for referrals is also a great way to build your book of business in a more efficient manner.

Post 1

I think that the hardest thing about dealing with a sales job has to be the rejection. Dealing with rejection is the reason why many people fail at outside sales jobs.

I read an excellent book called, “The Silva Mind Method” by Jose Silva that actually taught you how to change your perspective so that you can focus on your prospects needs and relax.

He added that a certain percentage of rejection was likely in all sales representative jobs so he predetermined what that average was. He stated that he made one appointment for every ten calls so he knew that in order to make ten appointments he would have to make about 100 calls.


the book he mentions that he wanted to get through the calls as quickly as possible so that he could get to the prospects that would agree to see him. He said that once you figure this average out and factor in the predetermined rejection rate you will not take the rejection personally because you will expect it.

He also suggests deep breathing exercises before calling a prospect so that you can reach a higher level of consciousness which he refers to Alpha thinking.

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