Mastering the Sales Ladder: Which Type Are You?

In sales, there are basically three types of salespeople.

  1. The Order Taker
  2. The Presenter
  3. The Closer

Each is important in its own way, and most organizations have all three working in different departments throughout the business.  While the definition of each may be somewhat self-explanatory, it may be helpful to examine each one a little more closely.

The Order Taker

The Order Taker is just that.  Someone who takes orders. They typically process the order that the prospect wants to place.  They may suggest add-ons based on the customer’s initial request (such as, “Do you want fries with that?”  or “Would you like to super-size your meal for an extra dollar?”), but The Order Taker does nothing to initiate the sale, they do nothing to entice the prospect to buy.  They may answer questions for the prospect, but they take no control of the sale other than to ask, “Will there be anything else?”

The Order Taker typically doesn’t know why the prospect is making the choices that she is and does very little to investigate needs, explain how the product or service the prospect is ordering will help them solve their problem, or entice the prospect to buy in any way.

The Presenter

Presenters have immense product knowledge and a thorough understanding of their product or service.  Presenters are typically very confident and work hard to educate and teach prospects how the product or service operates.  Presenters are intelligent and well-spoken, can present to several prospects at once, and can demonstrate the product or service in use.

Presenters know why the prospect is interested in the product or service and rely primarily on their product knowledge and presentation skills to create enough excitement in the prospect that will cause them to buy.

The Closer

The Closer is different.  The closer knows the sales process.  He understands what questions to ask to keep the sale moving forward.  The closer has the product knowledge and skills of The Presenter, but also the ability to build Total Mental Ownership in the prospect while presenting.

The Closer can see when the prospect is engaged and when he has lost interest.  The Closer knows how to uncover needs and match those needs to product or service features and demonstrate the benefit to the prospect.

Most importantly, The Closer knows when to ask for the sale.  He knows what to expect and how to differentiate between reflex and genuine objections.  The Closer can see buying signals and knows how to capitalize on them.

The Closer knows who their prospect is, what their prospect is trying to accomplish, why they need their product or service, and how the prospect will benefit from having their product or service.

A Closer genuinely believes that what he is selling will be the best solution for his prospect and is eager to help them buy.

A Closer controls the sale.

In sales, you will often find all three.

The Order Taker greets a lot of prospects and sells only the ones who came to buy a particular car. The prospects who leave without buying go down the street and buy from a closer. There are usually one to three Order Takers on every sales floor.

The Presenter greets fewer prospects but manages to sell more because he educates the prospects on the product. His presentation often confirms what the prospect already believes he knows about the product.

The Presenter is often called The Unpaid Consultant because he will spend a lot of time educating the prospect but doesn’t understand how to build TMO (Total Mental Ownership) nor how or when to close the sale.

The Closer sells the most to new prospects, and his loyal customer base and a steady stream of referrals because he not only educated the buyer he also demonstrated that he was looking out for the best interest of the prospect by taking the time to understand the who, what, why and how of their unique situation.

The closer also controlled the sale, asked for the close at the right time, and hung in there until he got it.

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