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Retail & Sales careers

Sales: Direct, Face-to-Face & Field

How do face-to-face sales work?

Many people don’t want salespeople to invade their private space, especially if they aren’t prepared. It can make them feel uncomfortable. However, meeting people face-to-face and convincing them to buy a product or service, but doing it in a positive, friendly and genuinely useful way, can be a highly effective sales technique.

If you are able to do that, you can become a very successful salesperson!

This subsector focuses on selling person to person, rather than via advertisements or over the phone. Although, it is likely that a direct or face-to-face salesperson will sometimes have to make cold calls or use direct mail in order to get in front of potential clients.

Would I be a good direct salesperson?

If you are people person, you can handle rejection and you can use your excellent communication skills to get your point across, then careers in direct, face-to-face and field sales could be for you. You will also need to be able to listen intently to potential clients and handle their objections or questions in a confident and composed manner.

The nature of face-to-face or direct selling means travel is an absolute necessity – this may be within the local area, nationally or even internationally. The skills of selling and persuasion are highly transferrable, so there will always be scope to move around.

Salespeople have to be able to get in front of potential clients. Typically, this type of sales activity can take place at clients’ places of work (often in the form of pre-arranged meetings), door-to-door, or in other public places, such as shopping centres. There are likely to be many rejections along the way, as clearly not everyone is going to want your service or product, regardless of how incredible or useful it may be.

It is important to be able to get your point across as simply and as quickly as possible. A good salesperson will be able to relax potential clients, create interest in a product or service and listen to their concerns and reservations. You will need to be good with people and well presented, as first impressions go a long way.

How do you make money as a face-to-face salesperson?

In some instances you will be supported by a team of ‘lead generators’ who will arrange meetings for you. Most direct, face-to-face and field sales jobs tend to be commission-based. Performance-related pay can be very lucrative, but if you are not performing then it can be an issue. Try to avoid ‘commission only’ pay schemes if you can!

So, if you’re persuasive enough that people suspect you’re a Jedi, your ability to relax people is akin to that of a strapping masseur named Claude, and you’ve more charming than a prince could ever have, a sales position might well be the job for you! Let’s just hope you don’t go the same way as Gregor Samsa in The Metamorphosis…