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NorthStar Performance Partners, LLC | Minneapolis, MN

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Not every good salesperson is suited to every kind of sales. Relating the products you sell to the kind of selling it takes is only part of the picture. Take the four following examples:

1. Commodity Sales:

There are very few people who walk into Harry’s location that he can’t turn into a sale. He is challenged every day to better his record from yesterday. He loves the interaction, moving people toward a decision, quickly building that trust relationship, closing the deal and moving on to the next prospect. 

2. Account Sales:

Marion is an account manager at a manufacturing company. Her customers absolutely love her and wouldn’t think of dealing with anyone else.  She has a strong ability to understand her customer’s problems, to explore the workings of her clients’ companies and to build loyalty.  Rarely a day goes by when Marion doesn’t have customers on the phone asking her advice and placing large orders. 

3. Consultative Sales: 

Brent is with an engineering firm and is their number one salesperson in new business development. Brent sells very complex, customized technical solutions.  His patience and organizational abilities allow him to walk his customers through the long selling cycle that includes a very thorough exploration of their ‘pains’. Brent’s assertiveness, communication skills, and confidence give prospects a belief that he can solve their issues and he builds that trust over time.

4. Unique Value Skills: 

Jane has been the top salesperson at ABC Solutions, a specialized software company. Jane’s success is a result of her ability to create demand through tough questioning.  She has differentiated herself and her products from the competition by this strong ability to ask the tough questions. Although it’s not a one-call close, Jane can usually close within two or three sales calls.

All four have ambition and drive.  They all have the kind of sales job that suits their natural abilities, and therefore don’t have to struggle trying to sell in an unnatural setting. They also have the communication and sales skills to heighten their natural tendencies and build success.

Imagine someone with a strong need to control and close quickly in an account manager’s role, where process orientation is the required mode. Might they be in too much of a hurry? Not listening or impatient?  How about someone who was strong in problem solving in a commodity sales role where a one-call, simple close was required? What might the outcomes of that be? Might they be trying to make the sale more complicated than it was and lengthening the sales cycle? Perhaps even losing that prospect to the competition?

To determine what kind of sales your products and services need, you’ll have to ask yourself some questions.  To begin with, are we in the business of demand creation or demand fulfillment? Do we have a longer sales cycle or a shorter one?  Is relationship more important than problem solving?  And is control and close more important than process orientation?  Once you’ve determined what kind of sales you’re involved in, the process of finding the right salesperson for that role becomes clear.


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