Outside Sales Representative Careers

Outside sales representatives are responsible for increasing sales by maintaining and developing relationships with clients and customers. To do this, you will need to identify potential clients, follow up on the potential clients, and also maintain relationships with the existing clients. After identifying potential clients, you are expected to meet their sales needs to ensure a lasting relationship. You will also sometimes need to travel to meet clients and inform them of new products and their features so you can negotiate sales contracts.

In the process of identifying potential clients, you will have to schedule and perform product demonstrations to the new clients in a convincing manner. Other duties involve generating and submitting sales reports to management and recommending a marketing strategy for specific regions. One of the major secrets to succeeding as a sales representative is to learn to sustain relationships.

Excellent communication skills, outstanding marketing strategy skills, and consumer psychology are crucial to succeeding as an outside sales representative. Apart from this, you must enjoy traveling and must be proficient with presentation software, spreadsheet, and word processing. The annual salary of an outside sales representative is $71,145, and the educational background is a bachelor's degree in business management or other related disciplines.

What Does an Outside Sales Representative Do

Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives sell goods for wholesalers or manufacturers to businesses, government agencies, and other organizations. They contact customers, explain product features, answer any questions that their customers may have, and negotiate prices.

Learn more about what an Outside Sales Representative does

How To Become an Outside Sales Representative

Educational requirements vary, depending on the type of product sold. If the products are not scientific or technical, a high school diploma is generally enough for entry into the occupation. If the products are scientific or technical, sales representatives typically need at least a bachelor's degree.

Education

A high school diploma is sufficient for many positions, primarily for selling nontechnical or scientific products. However, those selling scientific and technical products typically must have a bachelor's degree. Scientific and technical products include pharmaceuticals, medical instruments, and industrial equipment. A degree in a field related to the product sold, such as chemistry, biology, or engineering, is often required.

Many sales representatives attend seminars in sales techniques or take courses in marketing, economics, communication, or even a foreign language to improve their ability to make sales.

Training

Many companies have formal training programs for beginning wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives that last up to 1 year. In some programs, trainees rotate among jobs in plants and offices to learn all phases of producing, installing, and distributing the product. In others, trainees receive formal technical instruction at the plant, followed by on-the-job training under the supervision of a field sales manager.

New employees may be trained by going along with experienced workers on their sales calls. As they gain familiarity with the firm's products and clients, the new workers gain more responsibility until they eventually get their own territory.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Many in this occupation have either the Certified Professional Manufacturers' Representative (CPMR) certification or the Certified Sales Professional (CSP) certification, both offered by the Manufacturers' Representatives Educational Research Foundation (MRERF). Certification typically involves completing formal technical training and passing an exam. In addition, the CPMR requires 10 hours of continuing education every year in order to maintain certification.

Other Experience

Although not required, sales experience can be helpful, particularly for nontechnical positions.

Advancement

Frequently, promotion takes the form of an assignment to a larger account or territory, where commissions are likely to be greater. Those who have good sales records and leadership ability may advance to higher level positions, such as sales supervisor, district manager, or vice president of sales. For more information on these positions, see the profile on sales managers.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. Sales representatives must be able to listen to the customer’s needs and concerns before and after the sale.

Interpersonal skills. Sales representatives must be able to work well with many types of people. They must be able to build good relationships with clients and with other members of the sales team.

Self-confidence. Sales representatives must be confident and persuasive when making sales presentations. In addition, making a call to a potential customer who is not expecting to be contacted, or “cold calling,” requires confidence and composure.

Stamina. Sales representatives are often on their feet for long periods of time and may carry heavy sample products.

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Average Salary
$59,642
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
2%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
165,823
Job Openings

Outside Sales Representative Career Paths

Top Careers Before Outside Sales Representative

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Average Salary for an Outside Sales Representative

Outside Sales Representatives in America make an average salary of $59,642 per year or $29 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $83,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $42,000 per year.
Average Salary
$59,642
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Best Paying Cities For Outside Sales Representatives

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Minneapolis, MN
Salary Range43k - 77k$58k$58,006
Seattle, WA
Salary Range43k - 75k$58k$57,633
Sacramento, CA
Salary Range41k - 78k$57k$56,893
Providence, RI
Salary Range38k - 82k$57k$56,534
Grand Rapids, MI
Salary Range40k - 78k$56k$56,214
Sioux Falls, SD
Salary Range42k - 74k$56k$55,961
Madison, WI
Salary Range39k - 75k$55k$54,919
Portland, OR
Salary Range40k - 72k$55k$54,509
Kansas City, KS
Salary Range39k - 73k$54k$54,262
Denver, CO
Salary Range40k - 72k$54k$54,206
Indianapolis, IN
Salary Range38k - 75k$54k$54,125
Davenport, IA
Salary Range39k - 73k$54k$53,780
Chicago, IL
Salary Range38k - 74k$54k$53,754
Cleveland, OH
Salary Range37k - 74k$53k$52,813
Omaha, NE
Salary Range39k - 71k$53k$52,803
Pittsburgh, PA
Salary Range36k - 74k$52k$52,425
Albany, NY
Salary Range35k - 75k$52k$52,196
Las Vegas, NV
Salary Range37k - 71k$52k$52,027
Richmond, VA
Salary Range36k - 74k$52k$52,004
Raleigh, NC
Salary Range36k - 74k$52k$51,934
$35k
$82k

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$62,61008/31/2021
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Outside Sales Representative Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming an Outside Sales Representative. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write an Outside Sales Representative Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Outside Sales Representative resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Outside Sales Representative Resume Examples And Templates

Outside Sales Representative Demographics

Gender

male

68.2 %

female

28.3 %

unknown

3.5 %

Ethnicity

White

76.5 %

Hispanic or Latino

13.3 %

Asian

4.6 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

68.3 %

French

5.4 %

German

4.6 %
Show More Outside Sales Representative Demographics

Outside Sales Representative Education

Majors

Business
37.6 %
Marketing
11.1 %

Degrees

Bachelors

67.3 %

Associate

16.2 %

High School Diploma

8.9 %

Top Colleges for Outside Sales Representatives

1. SUNY College of Technology at Alfred

Alfred, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,570
Enrollment
3,721

2. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

3. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451

4. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

5. California State University - Bakersfield

Bakersfield, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,309
Enrollment
9,142

6. Baylor University

Waco, TX • Private

In-State Tuition
$45,542
Enrollment
14,159

7. Ball State University

Muncie, IN • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,896
Enrollment
15,529

8. University of Wisconsin - Madison

Madison, WI • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,555
Enrollment
30,360

9. SUNY College of Technology at Delhi

Delhi, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,360
Enrollment
3,142

10. Bentley University

Waltham, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$49,880
Enrollment
4,177
Show More Outside Sales Representative Education Requirements

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Top Skills For an Outside Sales Representative

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 16.4% of outside sales representatives listed customer service on their resume, but soft skills such as customer-service skills and interpersonal skills are important as well.

Best States For an Outside Sales Representative

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an outside sales representative. The best states for people in this position are Minnesota, Washington, North Dakota, and Rhode Island. Outside sales representatives make the most in Minnesota with an average salary of $57,943. Whereas in Washington and North Dakota, they would average $57,545 and $57,074, respectively. While outside sales representatives would only make an average of $56,688 in Rhode Island, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Rhode Island

Total Outside Sales Representative Jobs:
506
Highest 10% Earn:
$112,000
Location Quotient:
1.42
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Pennsylvania

Total Outside Sales Representative Jobs:
4,487
Highest 10% Earn:
$102,000
Location Quotient:
1.31
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Wisconsin

Total Outside Sales Representative Jobs:
1,638
Highest 10% Earn:
$99,000
Location Quotient:
1.01
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Outside Sales Representatives

How Do Outside Sales Representative Rate Their Jobs?

Zippia Official Logo

5.0

Construction sales representativesSeptember 2019

5.0

Zippia Official LogoConstruction sales representativesSeptember 2019

What do you like the most about working as Outside Sales Representative?

Working with many different types of people. The outside adventure and communicating with the people Show More

What do you NOT like?

Sales Managers that have been given the opportunity and not earning The title Show More

Zippia Official Logo

4.0

Outside sales representativeJune 2019

4.0

Zippia Official LogoOutside sales representativeJune 2019

What do you like the most about working as Outside Sales Representative?

Meeting and getting new customers. Show More

What do you NOT like?

Being brushed off but liking the challenge of turning that person or company into a customer. Show More

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Top Outside Sales Representative Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ outside sales representatives and discovered their number of outside sales representative opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Fastenal was the best, especially with an average salary of $74,338. National Federation of Independent .. follows up with an average salary of $61,764, and then comes TruGreen with an average of $59,943. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as an outside sales representative. The employers include Sysco, TSYS, and Allstate

Outside Sales Representative Videos

Updated August 18, 2021