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How To Understand The Four Types Of Salespeople


Every pro baseball player must throw, catch, and hit. Yet, what it takes to be a great hitter or a 20-game-winning pitcher is dramatically different. So, too, in sales … all salespeople must talk to customers and take orders. However, Chally has established four different sales roles and “superstar” skills which are distinctly different and measurable.

The types are: The “super” Closer, the “IBM’er” Consultative, the “good ol’ boy” Relationship, and the “friendly order-taker” Display.

1. Closing

All salespeople must use closing skills at some point during the sales process. Here, we are talking about a personality type. This type starts with nothing and, therefore, must aggressively initiate customer contact. In most cases, one or two contacts are made with the prospect. The risk of failure is high because there is little time to interact with the customer. Therefore, this type must not have a high fear of personal rejection. This sales environment requires that salespeople quickly establish a prospect’s emotional desire and need for their product. Demonstration sales, new high-tech equipment, trade show promotions, pyramid sales and high-ticket executive vanity items (like corporate jets) are examples.

2. Consultative

Consultative sales situations usually are reserved for bigger ticket items, high technology items, or intangible “intelligent” services; for example, telephone systems, computer systems, consulting services, law services, etc. Here, both patient, interpersonal contact and aggressiveness are needed. Forget the personal touch of the relationship or fail to persist for a close, and the sale is lost. These sellers perform extremely well with prestige-image products/services.

This type of sales environment requires consultation with customers to meet their specific needs. Consultative salespeople are usually career oriented. Also, they are much more academically inclined than the other sales types. Consultative sales professionals are not daring risk-takers. The best ones do take risks, but only after careful thought and calculation. They pay a high level of attention to detail and have an above-average level of aggressiveness. The super sellers in this sales environment are able to handle personal rejection and the fear of failure extremely well. They exhibit self-confidence, patience, and the ability to quickly develop interpersonal relationships with all business prospects.

3. Relationship

Relationship salespeople like independence. They like the freedom of sales, the feeling that they are their own boss. They exercise discipline and take responsibility for their actions. Relationship salespeople become resistant if management tries to control their actions too much, or if management tries to change the rules.

Relationship sales requires great patience over a long period to finally cement a customer. This practically eliminates one’s concern with failure on a day-to-day basis because the sale is heavily dependent on the relationship between the salesperson and customer. A “good” relationship will generate at least some business eventually. Many industrial selling situations and both territory and route sales typify relationship sales. Relationship selling is characterized by the ability of salespeople who move to a competitor to take business with them. Local stock brokers, industrial suppliers, distributors, etc., typify Relationship sellers.

4. Display

Display sales requires little personal involvement, relatively little risk of personal rejection, and a compensation or reward system that does not depend on actually completing the sale. Display salespeople (retail clerks, for example) get paid even if the customer fails to buy. Many retail salespeople fit this category, as do bank tellers and other salespeople who are on total salary and receive little or no commission. Some telemarketing “order takers” (not the boiler room or high-pressure telephone sales) also sell from a “catalog” and fall into the Display sales category.