External sales, despite the advancement of technology that allows to sell internally, is still a resource widely used by companies.
Of course, not all companies still use this way of selling. But it is, yes, effective and makes a lot of sense in several segments.
That door-to-door salesperson still has a positive impact on many customers.
Even because of the profile of those who buy, the way the negotiation takes place, this external seller still makes sense.
But, we cannot deny it. Society is constantly changing. The way we consume and relate to brands has changed.
More than that. We can think of the demand that is the day, especially in big cities – which requires a very good organization from those who practice external sales.
Face-to-face still happens and it is important for you to understand how this happens in the current market.
In this article, we’ll talk about concept, applications and give some tips for those who still sell externally.
That way, you’ll know which way makes the most sense for your business, employees and, of course, customers.
External sales: what is it and what is the difference for internal sales
Any face-to-face sale, with the salesperson going to the customer, can be called an outside sale.
Perhaps you’ve heard another term that also refers to external sales: field sales. If you heard, know that both are the same thing.
This is when the representative meets in person with potential customers.
It is quite common to still occur in B2B sales – even with the advancement of technology and the possibility of implementing inside sales.
We can quickly think of the so-called “atacarejos”, this neologism that means wholesale and retail.
Field sales are important for building a more intense and long-term customer relationship.
However, to apply it, you have to know that the sales cycle and CAC will most likely be longer.
This is because the negotiation will take longer to take place due to the physical limitation of the contact.
Sellers only sell in person and obviously have more than one customer to visit.
The cost will also be high. Put in the account there: expenses with food, travel, possible reimbursements, accommodation, among others.
Adopting this model, be aware of one thing: your average ticket will need to be very high to give the profit margin that your business needs to keep growing.
One is one, the other is the other
Unlike field sales, inside sales have a shorter closing cycle. It is also possible to have a greater number of won opportunities.
That’s because the salesperson’s time dedicated to the job will be exclusively for selling. You won’t waste time with any kind of logistics.
It is also important to clarify that external sales are not outbound sales. I mean, they can be, but not necessarily.
The latter is active prospecting for customers – different from inbound sales, where interested parties come to the company.
In the outbound model you don’t necessarily need to sell out of the door.
You can use technology such as VoIP telephony, emails, chat applications, virtual meetings, among many others.
So, you set up a video conference and demonstrate the product or service you want to sell.
With a well-defined schedule, a recurring schedule, the internal salesperson can bring better results faster than the external salesperson in virtually all cases.
READ MORE: Inbound vs. Outbound Sales: which one is best for my company?
Skills and activities of a good outside salesperson
How to be a good external salesperson? More than mastering the product or service being sold – which is mandatory for any profession – some values and skills are required.
As it is a face-to-face negotiation, the power of persuasion weighs much more than in other models.
The negotiation techniques need to be up to date so that the trip to the client was not in vain.
To unravel the capacity needed to close more external sales, Pascale commissioned a study.
In it, it was discovered that the external representative necessarily needs to be able to:
- develop new businesses;
- get along very well with base customers;
- manage accounts;
- Sell new accounts.
But, we can go further and think about some other aspects that need to be present in the seller:
- ability to negotiate;
- empathy with people;
- nice presentation;
- ability to quickly work around objections;
- self-management power;
- ability to achieve goals and objectives ;
- Organization regarding deadlines, logistics, among others.
There is no denying it: the activities are intense and require daily discipline. The external seller is expensive for the company and needs to be able to provide the necessary return with little margin for failure.
Within a sales routine that takes place externally, we can highlight some necessary and indispensable activities and actions.
- constant study of market and customer segmentation ;
- routine strategic planning ;
- understand the seasonality (if any) of the business;
- constantly communicate with the company’s back office;
- keep the sales playbook up to date ;
- Register the negotiations in the sales system, among others.
3 techniques for outside sales to apply
The external salesperson lets the knowledge surface. He understands the customer well and makes him understand very well how the solution works and how it impacts the prospect’s pain.
However, this is not always necessary to ensure the sale is sealed. That’s why some sales techniques are needed right now.
Perhaps it goes without saying, but it is always good to be clear: it is essential to always focus on the customer.
As much as the salesperson is thinking about goals and sales commission, “pushing” the business at all costs is pretty bad.
In addition to compromising the representative’s image, how do you think the customer will see the company having ignored their doubts to force the sale at all costs?
We selected 3 field sales techniques for you to avoid the scenario above. Which one will be used will depend a lot on the values of the seller and the customer profile.
1 – The empathetic and considerate
Empathy is actually something important not only for sales but for people in general, for life in society.
We all have our problems, internal conflicts, doubts and concerns. And it’s the role of a good salesperson to understand this and act from there.
A lot of being empathic is in the attention you give to whoever is in front of you.
The representative needs to listen well to the customer’s needs. He needs to understand and accept the reality he has.
From there, it is necessary to shape a proposal that is good for both sides.
By having to travel, spending time and energy to go to the customer, the salesperson will certainly be more willing to give in to close the deal.
So, take advantage of this possible goodwill and use it to your advantage. This is one of the customer approach techniques that don’t need as much preparation.
Just show interest in the prospect. Ask. Be positive when interceding.
And, of course, be real. On your intentions, on what you sell and on the context in which the customer finds himself.
2 – The expert
When an expert speaks, people tend to pay attention. Whether in a lecture, classroom. Whoever has authority over the matter is listened to and taken into account.
In sales, this is true – even more so when you are in person in contact with those you want to impact.
The consultant seller is an expert on the subject. He not only dominates what he sells, but understands business itself.
He talks about management, finances, best practices… anything that creates value for the customer and shows that he knows more than anyone else about what he’s talking about.
The external salesperson knows how to make the perfect “match” between the customer’s problems and the product or service he is selling.
Being an expert is being a problem solver. A light amidst the chaos that can be the prospect’s situation.
Of course, getting to this level requires a lot of study. Lots of sales training and always keeping the customer’s success in mind.
The preparation is continuous and lasting. The market does not stop updating itself, technology does not stop impacting people.
So it won’t be the external salesperson who will be stuck in time, right?
Invest time to always be better prospecting, qualifying and selling.
Surround yourself with valuable information from all sides. Talk to other sellers, to the competition.
Insights come from all sides – only you need to be on the lookout to capture them and channel them into something positive for your outside sales routine.
3 – The connected
Networking is essential and needs to be further explored by sellers. Where are the best opportunities? You may have already asked this question.
This is actually the famous “one million reads question”. And you will only get the answer by relating to the market.
Invest in a network of connections: customers, former customers, suppliers, managers of other companies and even competitors.
Another point: what are the relevant events in the area in which you work?
Order business cards. Take care of your presentation and check in.
Talk, apply the technique mentioned above. Show your value and seek to rise to the next level in your external sales work.
By understanding how to approach a customer, you will be halfway to selling.
Take advantage and use your CRM system to register companies, contacts and create opportunities to work your potential buyers better.
Your customers, your company and your pocket thank you.
So, how can we help you?
Enjoy and read two articles that will help you sell more and better.
The first talks about what rapport is and how it can be applied to selling.
The second one has 6 sales strategies for you to reach the goal every month.