An outside sales consultant is an individual who represents and markets products or services for themselves or their employing company. They work away from their place of business, meeting with potential clients in a location that is convenient for the prospect. These representatives provide the connecting link between their company and the client. They also maintain records, including contact lists and follow up after a sale to ensure that the client’s needs have been met. Additionally, outside sales consultants are required to maintain familiarity with the company’s products and services.
Outside sales consultants work with their customers to find resolutions for problems. A typical salesperson might be aware of what a prospect is interested in and simply use various sales techniques to convince the buyer that a certain product is the best option. A sales consultant, on the other hand, will seek to gain in-depth knowledge and understanding of the client’s situation and needs. The consultant will then assist the customer in determining the most viable and cost-effective solution.
One of the defining characteristics of outside sales consultant jobs is found in the word “outside.” Outside sales consultants travel to a prospect’s place of business, home or other predefined location to meet with the prospect. Many outside sales consultant jobs require the representative to travel extensively, often being away from home for several days at a time.
Additional outside sales consultant duties include staying abreast of his or her company’s products and services, particularly new items that might be introduced into the organization’s product line. In some organizations, this is accomplished through attending sales or product training meetings. Other ways to supplement product knowledge include subscribing to industry-related trade journals and magazines. Networking with peers also can provide opportunities to enhance product awareness.
In some companies, the outside sales consultant's job description will include extensive record keeping. In many situations, the consultant is required to maintain records of contacts made with a client, new prospecting calls initiated and all follow-up calls. Travel records, such as distances driven and hotel expenses, are often required, especially in situations when the consultant is being reimbursed for such costs.
Another primary responsibility for many outside sales consultants is prospecting, which is the process of seeking out and contacting new potential clients. Some organizations provide the consultant with a list of new prospects, referred to as leads, on which to call. In other situations, the outside sales consultant is required to locate new prospects on his or her own.