Background information on "Sales in the field"
The sales force still suffers from a clichéd image. The area is often associated with the word “doorstep hawking”. However, this connection seems quite inappropriate once you become familiar with the advantages of the field sales.
Management of free time is a particularly attractive aspect for many sales people. For example, telephone appointments can be held in the morning in the home office and sales presentations in the afternoon. This may be followed by personal customer contact. Working with new people every day presents a big challenge, but at the same time it offers a lot of stimulus and a range of new experiences and impressions.
Above all, open-minded and communicative personalities find themselves at home in this context, rather than in a job where there is little personal or purely telephone contact with customers.
Another advantage of sales work is the wide range of its possible applications and good opportunities for career changers. Field work can mean much more than just selling vacuum cleaners or insurance. A civil engineer can develop a new perspective as a sales representative in the field just as a trained nurse who specialises in the sale of medical products to hospitals or pharmacies. The field sales force thus also offers perspectives to career changers who want to reorient themselves.
In addition to the flexibility and mobility of field sales work, the discussions with customers, insights into companies or offices constitute a special feature. The sales representative knows the products and why they are important for the customers. On the other hand, he or she gets to know the individual circumstances of the customers and can pass this on to his or her own company. A sales representative is not only a salesperson for products, but also an industry specialist and an expert on people.
To have intuition and value reciprocity are important human skills that a person in the field should also have. A good memory helps in building rapport, in continuing conversations and with regard to past business relationships. Those who have a feeling for people will recognize how the other person is doing, what is important at that moment and how the joint conversation will be remembered positively. That’s why it makes sense to allow for give and take on both sides; if the sales representative becomes a welcome visitor, a lasting and sustainable business relationship can be established.
A business deal is important not only for the individual income of the sales representative, but also for the company. This is why not only external communication is important, but also communication from field to back office. The better and more comprehensive the exchange between office and field staff is, the less information about customers and their needs is lost. If the sales representative has a voice in the company, it is possible to plan the number of agreed appointments, the selection of customers with regard to their availability and the duration of the appointments in such a way that back office and field staff work well together.
The Management Institute Dr. A. Kitzmann conducts the seminar “Sales in the field” in Münster for people who want to further develop their sales know-how.
Author: Management Institute Dr. A. Kitzmann