Can I be successful in outside sales without going to college?
It certainly is possible. Many people have done great things without going to college. BUT, statistically speaking, you probably would have a better chance if you have a college degree. You don’t say how old you are, but perhaps you are just graduating high school and are trying to decide which way to go. With college, you broaden your education. Many of your future customers, especially the decision-makers, will have college degrees, and it is of great help to be a peer of theirs when trying to make a sale. I for one, definitely am a true believer that higher education is a wonderful part of life. Good luck, GSB
I think that in most (not all) areas, you can be successful even if you don’t have a college degree. Sometimes practice and soft skills are more important than having academic experience. While having a degree will probably make your job search easier, in the end mastery comes with practice and you will improve the more you do it.
Sales is not really a widely taught skill at most universities, so a lot of college grads don’t have sales skills after graduating. That said, college can definitely teach you other skills that are useful for the job e.g. how to prioritize your tasks and organize your time. Either way, I know very successful sales reps that did not go to university.
I only know a few colleges that would actually offer a degree in sales, so besides that, most of the skills that a good sales rep has is developed while in practice. It may take a little more connections to get a job, but it is definitely doable. Like what @Bbay said, I know a handful of sales reps that became successful even without a college degree, so don’t give up!
You don’t sell personal jets the same way you sell Tupperware, beer to liquor stores, wholesale food to delicatessens, or technical devices to corporate executives. We all know that language is the primary tool used in sales because securing meaningful communication with your prospect is most important. An easy approach is to see that what is being sold dictates the required level, breadth and depth of required speaking skills. Find your natural voice and way of speaking then match it to sales opportunities.