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Sales People: 5 Types

Any organisation today needs a well trained team of sales professionals in order to be able to convert leads to actual sales. Leads don’produce revenue, closing deals does hence why companies struggle with hiring professional sales people to get the job done and increase the conversion rate. But having a good team of sales people, means that you have a team of individuals with different characteristics, traits, approach and closing tactics. Through my years as a sales professional and a customer, I have identified the 5 types of sales people that one can encounter withing a sales team and I will be sharing with you in brief some of the benefits and downsides of having each one to your team:

  1. The Giver: Customer says “I want…” and before they finish their sentence “YES” says the sales person. And this is a repeated theme throughout the transaction. The Giver is the sales person that will go all along with the customer’s wishes without posing any resistance. These are usually the sales people desperate for the sale, and overenthusiastic with the customers.
    Pros: They will make a good number of sales and are very helpful in establishing long term relationships with the potential customers.
    Cons: The sales are always at the lowest possible profit margins, and they allow for the customer to dictate the relationship between themselves and your organisation. They also don’t handle rejection well.
  2. The Reptile: These are sales people who give the rest of the sales professionals a bad name. They are the ones you will see being mocked on TV shows. They will go to any extend to close the deal. They don’t answer direct questions that would put the sale in jeopardy, and have a tendency to lie by omission (exclude important information) from their sales conversation, and even make false promises. They have a way with words and will get the job done at any cost.
    Pros: They are motivated by selling, and they will deliver.
    Cons: The method by which this is achieved can damage the company’s brand and credibility in the long run. They are also very bad at maintaining relationships with customers
  3. The Challenger: These are the sales people that take customers head on! They don’t mind creating friction, and they are very direct with what they have to say. They push the customer in making a decision by challenging their motives, their reasons, their excuses, often without a filter. They can be either senior sales people who simply want to get to the bottom of the process quickly and don’t want to waste time going through the whole process, or they see the value in establishing long term relationships with the customer. On the other hand they can be young sales people who are well informed and believe that by challenging the customers on a who knows more scenario, they will get the sale.
    Pros: They can call out customer’s bluffs. Customers who close deals with them tend to keep a good long term relationship with them.
    Cons: It’s a 50-50 situation with closing deals. Due to their approach they might come off as antagonising the customer, and not all customers are fond of this.
  4. The Hitman: These are the sales people that live and breathe sales. They get in, do a clean job and they are out. You can pretty much put them in any situation, and they will close the deal. You can trust them to get the job done.
    Pros: They will hit and exceed target sales. They are very good at prospecting and filtering through the customers, and they can see the sale from beginning to end.
    Cons: Since their main focus is on getting the sale, anything outside the sales cycle simply irritates them which can often put at jeopardy their relationship with colleagues.
  5. The Consultant: These are sales people who are very good at positioning themselves in the eyes of the consumer as the expert friend who will advise them on the best possible way to satisfy their needs. They are well educated in the market, product and industry which allows them to showcase that knowledge thus gaining customer’s trust.
    Pros: They elevate your brand’s credibility through solid knowledge, and can easily identify the true needs and wants of customers.
    Cons: Unfortunately they lack the killer instinct. They hesitate to ask for the sale, they don’t raise the urgency in purchasing, hence why they tend to have a lot of friends but not many sales.

The above mentioned traits are not exclusive to one sales person. On the contrary, ones professional sales career can take them through most of these stages. Also, it always depends on the situation, the market, and the prospect customer in front of you. Given the circumstances, a true professional salesman should be able to adapt and switch to the sales type best fitted for the circumstances.

When hiring for your sales team you need to decide what are your goals as an organisation. Some companies want to hire “Hitmen” in order to close deals, and some want to hire “Challengers” to confront customers and get the maximum out of any deal closed. Some others might want “Givers” and “Consultants” in order to create a strong brand and also establish those long term relationships. There is no right or wrong way to set up your all star sales team, it is your decision which type suits your organisation better.

I hope you have found this topic interesting and useful. What do you think about it? All feedback and comments are welcomed

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