Selling Roles

Proactive Representatives

Proactive representatives tend to fall in to one of two main categories: Hunters and Farmers.

Learning Objectives

Compare and contrast sales personalities categorized as Hunters and Farmers

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • A hunter is often associated with aggressive personalities who use aggressive sales techniques.
  • Farmers create sales demand by activities that directly influence and alter the buying process.
  • The reality is that most professional sales people have a little of both qualities.

Key Terms

  • administration: The act of administering; the government of public affairs; service rendered or duties assumed in conducting affairs; the conducting of any office or employment; direction.
  • farmer: Someone who creates sales demand by activities that directly influence and alter the buying process.
  • hunter: In terms of sales methodology, a hunter refers to a person whose focus is on bringing in and closing deals.

Proactive Representation

Introduction

Proactive representatives tend to fall into one of two main categories: Hunters and Farmers.

The Hunters

Hunters are in it for the kill; they always smell fresh prey. They are tracking, sniffing, looking, following their leads, and finding prey. Their thrill comes from the kill.

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The Hunter and His Dog: Proactive representatives are sometimes referred to as hunters.

The good ones want to dress their kill and preserve it to get the most meat (revenue) out of it and they work very hard to do that. They follow-up with their customers and stay connected to them. But the minute those customers stop buying, do not look for the hunter to hang around too long. They are always on the hunt, the scent of their next prey always present; if the hunter finds fresh tracks (leads) you can be sure the Hunter will be after it.

The good hunters will close well and take care of the customer, but most hunters are not very good at follow-through. The service after the sale details are not something they generally care about. Hunters don’t stay in one place too long, either. They tend to burn out or move on to fresh territory. The Hunter has many customers and not all of them are high quality.

Based on this description, it is no surprise that a hunter is often associated with aggressive personalities who use aggressive sales techniques. In terms of sales methodology, a hunter refers to a person whose focus is on bringing in and closing deals. This process is called sales capturing. An example is a commodity sale like a long distance sales person, shoe sales person, and to a degree a car sales person. Their job is to find and convert buyers.

The Farmers

Farmers are careful to produce a harvest. They create sales demand by activities that directly influence and alter the buying process.

They focus on the herd and field, and are always looking for the best yield in their harvest. They invest a lot of care in the relationship part of selling and are beloved by their customers. They are trusted. Their customers want to give them all their business, but the buyers have strict policies against that. They nurture and cultivate their customers. They are personally close with their customers and really care about them.

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A Bountiful Harvest: Proactive representatives who are farmers work hard to produce a harvest.

The bad Farmers do not close the sale well. They are mostly order-takers. The really bad ones are poor at administration, too.

The great farmers get high quality customers and become the vendor of choice with those customers. The great farmers really look for customers who match a specific profile and seek to develop business intimacy and long term mutually beneficial relationships with them.

The bad farmers think customer service is a substitute for a closing. They will think the customer will come around if they just wait. But if they say that regularly, they have a problem.

Good farmers are intentional and they expect more business and will move on from a beloved customer who is not producing. The farmer has a lot fewer customers, but all good farmers are high producing.

The reality is that most professional sales people possess both qualities.

Passive Representatives

Passive representatives don’t like to sell, but are generally friendly and will take your order if you place one.

Learning Objectives

Describe how shopkeepers and repairman are passive sales representatives

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Passive sales representatives tend to fall into one of two categories: the shopkeeper or the repairman.
  • Shopkeepers are basically order takers.
  • The repairman is, in essence, a technical shopkeeper.

Key Terms

  • telemarketing: The business of selling products or services by making unsolicited telephone calls to potential customers.

Introduction to Passive Representation

Passive sales representatives tend to fall into one of two categories:

  • The shopkeeper
  • The repairman

Here’s a bit more about each type.

The Shopkeeper

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The Shopkeeper: Some passive representatives can be classified as shopkeepers.

Shopkeepers are basically order takers.

An inside order taker is the retail sales assistant. The customer has full freedom to choose products without the presence of a salesperson. The sales assistant’s task is purely transactional: receiving payment and passing over the goods. Another type of order taker is the telemarketing sales team, which supports field sales by taking customers’ orders over the telephone.

Delivery salespeople’s tasks are primarily concerned with delivering the product. In the UK, milk, newspapers, and magazines are delivered to the door. However, there is little attempt to persuade the household to increase the milk order or number of newspapers taken; changes in order size are customer driven.

Outside order takers are unlike inside order takers; these salespeople visit the customer but primarily respond to customer requests rather than actively seek to persuade. Unlike delivery salespeople, outside order takers do not deliver.

Outside order takers are a dying breed, and are being replaced by the more cost-effective telemarketing teams.

The Repairman

The repairman is, in essence, a technical shopkeeper. Like the shopkeeper, the repairman loves to help people and may end up making a sale, but with one caveat. The people they are dealing with have to be technical in nature, just like them. Otherwise, the repairman the the customer won’t understand each other because the repairman can only talk “tech talk. ”

Consultant

Consultants are problem solvers who ask questions about their prospect’s business in order to meet their needs and close a sale.

Learning Objectives

Describe the responsibilities of a sales consultant

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • As a consultant, your primary aim is to demonstrate to the client that the financial benefit of dealing with you is greater than the cost of what you are selling.
  • As a consultant, you continually point out how the customer can achieve more of his or her business goals as the result of following your advice and recommendations.
  • it is important to remember to focus more of your selling energies on those prospects who can profit the most rapidly from what you sell.

Key Terms

  • consultative selling: Consultative selling can be defined as meeting customer needs by listening to customers, understanding their problems, paying attention to details, and following through after the sale.

Customers of top salespeople describe their consultants as “unpaid members of my own staff.”

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The Consultant’s Desk: Consultants often spend so much time at the customer site that they eventually opt to create their own desk.

They say, “He really understands my situation” and “He’s my reliable problem solver. ”

As a consultant, this must be your aim as well.

Consultative Selling Defined

Consultative selling can be defined as meeting customers’ needs by listening to customers, understanding their problems, paying attention to details, and following through after the sale.

Your Role as a Consultant

As a sales person who solves problems, you must begin the sales process by asking questions about your prospect’s business, seeking to understand the following:

  • how sales and revenues are generated;
  • how costs and expenses are incurred; and
  • how profits are made.

In consultative selling, you must put yourself in the position of the business owner or executive and try to see yourself as being personally involved in achieving the financial results for which he or she is responsible.

Once you understand how your prospect’s business or department operates, you can then find a way to define what you sell in financial terms. Your primary aim is to demonstrate to the client that the financial benefit of dealing with you is greater than the cost of what you are selling.

For you to sell the company something, you must demonstrate that it will save or make the company 15% or more each year and eventually pay for itself. You have to be able to talk to them about the “time to payback,” or the amount of time that will pass before the company gets 100% of its money back.

You’ll have to answer questions such as,

  • “How much does it cost?”
  • “How much do I get back in return for my investment?”
  • “How fast do I get this amount back?”
  • “How sure can I be that your projections are accurate?”

The more vague you are in answering these questions, the harder it is for the customer to make a buying decision. If neither the sales person nor the customer can figure out the rate and speed of return, no sale will take place.

It is crucial for you to know how to answer these questions to prove that you are a reliable problem solver and consultative selling specialist for a company.

As a consultant, you continually point out how the customer can achieve more of his or her business goals as the result of following your advice and recommendations. You position yourself as an unpaid member of the customer’s staff, and as a problem solver, helping him or her to increase sales, reduce costs or boost profits.

While doing this, it is still important to remember to focus more of your selling energies on those clients who can profit the most rapidly from what you sell.

Support Personnel

Support personnel provide after-sales or technical assistance to customers, including functions ranging from engineering to marketing.

Learning Objectives

List the common tasks that fall under sales support personnel

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • In highly technical industries, support personnel like sales engineers are a key part of the sales process.
  • The purpose of the sales engineer is to provide both pre-sales and post-sales support.
  • Sales engineers also teach customers and help tailor solutions to meet the needs of their customers.

Key Terms

  • supply chain: A system of organizations, people, technology, activities, information and resources involved in moving a product or service from supplier to customer.
  • customer relationship management: A widely implemented model for managing a company’s interactions with customers, clients, and sales prospects. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes—principally sales activities, but also those for marketing, customer service, and technical support. Also known by the acronym “CRM. “
  • white paper: A factual write-up of something, specifically devoid of the appearance of marketing.

Support Personnel

Support personnel are professionals not directly involved in the sales or revenue generating process, but nonetheless have an important role to play in a company’s success. While support personnel are often seen as those providing after-sales service or technical assistance, the definition of support staff also includes functions such as accounting, finance, human resources, supply chain, etc. Other common support roles that work with sales managers directly or assist clients and customers with product and service issues include sales engineers, technical support specialists, and customer support representatives.

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IBM Logo: Highly technical companies like IBM often have technical support salespeople on major account teams.

Support Personnel Responsibilities

Where a product is highly technical and negotiations complex, product and financial specialists may support salespeople, presenting detailed technical information required by customers. In technical support roles, the purpose is to help potential customers understand and compare the solutions that are available for purchase (the pre-sales role); to troubleshoot problems with their implementations—that is, to help ensure that the solutions work successfully once the buying decision has been made (the post-sales role); and to maximize company sales by assisting customers.

It is also common for support personnel to collaborate with their company’s design, production, engineering, or research & development (R&D) departments to determine how products and services could be made or modified to suit customers’ needs.

This may be ongoing as part of a key account team or on a temporary basis, with the specialists being called in to the selling situation when required. In highly technical companies, the technical support salesperson is often a member of a key account team and has the title of sales engineer, professional services specialist, or something similar.

Marketing, advertising, and public relations professionals often support sales and executive teams during the prospecting and evaluation phases of the sales process. This support usually comes in the form of sales collateral, such as product brochures, market surveys, industry white papers, and other marketing research that demonstrates company strengths and product benefits. Marketing teams may also be involved in organizing events for potential and existing customers, or exhibiting at trade shows to promote their brand and generate new leads for salespersons.

The Expanding Role of Support Professionals

Many products and services purchased by large companies and institutions are highly complex. Examples include airliners, weapons systems, and IT systems (such as telecommunications or databases and their dependent applications for purposes like logistics or customer relationship management). Sales support professionals often advise customers on how best to use the products or services provided.

Thus, in such industries, there may be a great overlap in the roles of support and sales personnel. While the latter’s job is to make a sale and maintain customer relationships, support personnel in technical industries advise customers how best to use the products and services before, during, and after the sale is made.