5 Different Levels of Sales People

When you look at successful sales people, you may be surprised at who performs the best. The worst kind of sales person is usually what you might think of as the best, while the top performer may not look like a go-getter. You’ve seen them portrayed on television – car sales people pushing the latest model on some poor helpless person. Of course, those aggressive sales people aren’t very popular, but are often heralded as high achievers. In reality, they aren’t all that successful.

While the key to being a successful salesperson is to only sell something you believe in, you can learn how to improve your sales skills regardless of whether you’re an entrepreneur, customer service agent, or business owner. Five different types of sales people exist, and you are one of those types. However, you’re not stuck in this role. Instead, you can learn how to improve until you get to level five and become more successful.

Sales Person Type #1 – Laydown Based Sellers

The level one seller, laydown based sellers wait for the customer to come to them. Imagine the salesperson in your local shoe store and a parent comes in to get a new pair of tennis shoes for their child who starts soccer practice the next day. You know you’re going to get that sale because the person needs what you have and they need it now.

This method of selling may work for companies which have leads coming in all of the time. For most people, they’ll never achieve their full potential or be as successful as they want by following this process.

Sales Person Type #2 – Hand-off Based Sellers

The hand-off based seller does better than the laydown seller, but not by much. Their focus is to send out proposals or make presentations to people. Their attitude is to “hand off” the decision to the customer after presenting the information.

The focus for these sellers is the lower sales funnel activity. They aren’t really selling or prospecting or even closing. They get names of prospects and send out emails. Then, they sit back and hope it works out.

Sales Person Type #3 – Prayer Based Sellers

Prayer based sellers put their attention to the top of the sales funnel. They are focused on meeting people and getting more leads. They go to the Chamber of Commerce meeting and shake hands. These sellers spend their time on the first step of the sales funnel, finding leads, but they never go to the next step. The idea is if they meet enough people, they’ll get the sales. While this is better than the first two sellers, it doesn’t get the results the person is looking for.

Sales Person Type #4 – Results Based Sellers

Opposite from the last type of seller, they are solely focused on the bottom of the sales funnel. Getting results is where they put their attention. They measure success by the number of sales, how much they sold, or other numbers related to sales. Other statistics don’t count in their world. They have a good day or bad day based on their sales, rather than focusing on how many leads they have out or how many more they can get.

Sellers who focus on results over anything else will be more successful than the other three types of sellers, but they are limiting themselves because they aren’t looking at the entire picture.

Sales Person Type #5 – Funnel Based Sellers

Funnel-based sellers are the successful ones. They combine the other types and focus on the entire sales funnel. They know how much sales they made, but they also know the number of proposals they sent out last month and the meetings held to get the proposals the month before that.

Level five sales people understand selling is a process, and they focus on numbers. They figure out what works and what doesn’t by the statistics they get. They are fact-oriented. Even though these people may not know what a sales funnel is, they know the ideas behind it and how to make it work.

While each type of sales person may find some level of success with their chosen method of sales, the true achievers will be the ones that combine all of the aspects of selling to reach their goals.

Understanding these five types of sales people and where you are is critical to business owners,entrepreneurs, and sales staff. It’s also essential that you learn how to work your way to level five where true success lies.


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Comments (3)

  1. Avatar for Arman Sadeghi Leslie Horan says:

    Thank you for this article. I have been struggling to become a better salesperson. I can sell to people who are ready to buy, but I can’t convince people on the fence. Looking at my whole sales funnel will help me figure out what is going wrong.

  2. Avatar for Arman Sadeghi Steve Harrison says:

    When I started my sales career, I was a laydown-based seller. I think most of us start there except the few who just have a knack for selling. And most never get passed this stage because they will always make excuses of everyone except the lay down just “not being their customer.” This should be required reading for all sales teams.

  3. Avatar for Arman Sadeghi Ben Makar says:

    These 5 levels explain the differences between the types of salespeople well. I think I am a prayer-based seller. I was trained by a sales manager who stressed the law of exposure – the more people you see, the more customers you will end up closing. There is some truth to it, but I now see I need to refocus on all stages of the funnel.

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