In the December issue of the Harvard Business Review, I came across a fascinating study on salespeople. Authors Lynette Ryals and Iain Davies observed 800 sales professions in live sales meetings and discovered eight types of salespeople. Here is an overview of the first four styles and ways to improve their results.
1. Experts make selling seem effortless, keep customers happy and consistently outperform their peers. Just 9 percent of people observed were in this group. These individuals should be given the opportunity to mentor high-potential sales people in a company.
2. Closers pull off some big deals. They are effective in dealing with customer objections, but their style puts some customers off. Thirteen percent of the sales people qualified for this category. This type of sales rep needs light-touch mentoring to improve selling of services. A strong motivation and reward system needs to be in place to retain them.