Types of Selling Roles

Selling team consists of various different roles which they perform; these can be broadly classified into

  1. Order Getting
  2. Order Taking
  3. Order Influencing

The types and their sub types are given below:

Types of Sales

Let us look at each one of the three and their sub types in details.

1. Order Getters

These salespersons focus all their selling skills entirely on getting orders from customers. They are always on the lookout for new customers for their products. The order getters may include telemarketers as well as door-to door sellers. Telemarketing is where the sales person sells his product over the phone. Most people engaged in sales are not only involved in gaining the initial order, but work to build and maintain relationships with clients that are intended to last a long time. Their responsibilities involve all aspects of building customer relationships from initial sale to follow-up account servicing. These include:

New Business Development

The role most synonymous with selling is a position in which the salesperson is actively engaged in using their skills to obtain orders from customers. One highly challenging yet potentially lucrative example of this are sales positions where the main objective is to find new customers. Sales jobs in this category are often in fields that are very competitive, but offer high rewards for those that are successful. The key distinguishing factor of these positions is that once a sale is made new business salespeople pass customers on to others in their organization who handle account maintenance.

i. Business Equipment Sales

These salespeople are often found in industries where a company’s main profits come from the sale of supplies and services that come after an initial equipment purchase. The key objective of business equipment salespeople is to get buyers to purchase the main piece of equipment for which supplies and service are needed in order for the equipment to function. For instance, in the photocopier industry certain salespeople only seek out new accounts and once a photocopier sale is made they pass along the account to other sales personnel who handle the sales of maintenance and supply products.

ii. Telemarketing

This category includes product sales over the phone, whether aimed at business or consumer. While in the US laws restrict unsolicited phone selling, the practice is still widely used in the business market.

iii. Consumer Selling

Certain companies are very aggressive in their use of salespeople to build new consumer business. These include: retailers selling certain high priced consumer products including furniture, electronics and clothing; housing products including real estate, security services, building replacement products (e.g., windows); and in-home product sellers including those selling door-to-door and products sold at “home party” events such as cosmetics, kitchenware and decorative products.

Account Management

i. Business-to-Business Selling

The sales person gets order for a product with intentions of follow-up sales. More than often business-to-business sales people have more than one product to offer. So initially the consumer may buy a few products but the sales rep tries building a customer relationship hoping he can get the customer into buying the other products too.

ii. Trade Selling

Order getters for consumer goods companies do not always sell the product to consumers or the end users. Instead they try to lure the distributors, retailers and wholesalers to like their product. Once they are taken into the loop these sales people start focusing on product promotion. The sales reps help these middle men by providing them promotional ideas etc to boost sales.

2. Order Takers

A sales person is not always a person trying to get orders he can simply take orders from the customer too. Here the sales person helps the customer in buying the product and is less assertive when compared to order getters. Obviously order takers happen to be the lesser paid ones in comparison to order getters. A lot of retail sales persons are order takers. They help the customer with the products and help in handling their check out as well.

Customer service is another form of order taking. Here orders are usually taken over the phone or online. In fact, the greatest number of people engaged in selling are not order getters, rather they are considered order takers. In this role, salespeople primarily assist customers with a purchase in ways that are much less assertive than order getters.

Retail Clerks

While some retail salespeople are involved in new business selling, the vast majority of retail employees handle order taking tasks, which range from directing customers to products to handling customer checkout.

Industrial Distributor Clerks

Industrial purchase situations, such as distributors of building products, will also have clerks to handle customer purchases.

Customer Service

Order taking is also handled in non face-to-face ways through customer service personnel. Usually this occurs via phone conversations, though newer technologies are allowing for these tasks to be handled through electronic means such as online chat.

3. Order Influencers

Order influencers do not influence the end users or customers into buying their products. They try to focus their selling techniques on people who influence these consumers into buying their products. They do not sell directly to the person who is the ultimate purchaser for their product. Instead these salespeople concentrate on selling activity that targets those who influence purchases made by the final customer and include:


Missionary sales person work for industries where consumers will buy their product only if advised to do so by someone. These salespeople are used in industries where customers make purchases based on the advice or requirements of others. Examples of such industries are the pharmaceutical industry and in higher education. Consumers buy pharmaceutical products only when advised to by the doctor. The missionary sales rep from the pharmaceutical industry also known as product detailers, convince the doctors about their product. The doctor then writes prescription for the patient. In the sphere of higher education sales persons convince professors regarding study materials (example text books) who ask students to buy them.

Word-of-Mouth Promotion

The product is promoted through the word-of-mouth. These promoters are often not employees of the product manufacturing firm. They are offered some incentive for spreading a good word for the product. So like the missionary sales rep he is not selling anything to the end user but here he is interacting directly with them. This form of marketing is also called buzz marketing. Additionally, those selling are often not employees of either the product marketer or the company who is running the word-of-mouth campaign. Instead, they may be real people who are recruited and offered an incentive (e.g., free product) to help spread the word.


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