Different Types of Selling Jobs and Defining the Salesperson’s Job

From the foregoing discussion, we understand that while sales as a function have a common purpose which is to effect sales the selling situations differ due to the interplay of various factors.

These factors are the nature of goods sold, the type of distribution system used, the nature of demand, and the type of sales strategy followed by the firm. 

These factors require the sales force to possess different traits and abilities suitable to the selling situation with which they are associated. To underscore the differences, Robert N. McCurry in ‘The Mystique of Super-salesmanship’ classifies individual sales positions based on the degree of creativity required into seven categories. These seven categories are described below.

Merchandise Deliveries                        

This is the salesperson, whose primary job is to deliver the product usually against routine orders, popularly called sales and delivery boys.

Inside Order-taker

Working inside a store the primary job of such a salesperson is to service the customer’s request or suggest appropriate products to meet customer wants. Such types of salespersons are popularly called the retail salesman.

Read Also: How Advertising Works and Types of Advertising

Outside Order-Taker

The salespersons engaged in the task of taking orders from the resellers. They normally do not use the hard selling approach for making orders.

Missionary Salesperson

The salesperson whose primary job is to educate, give product detailing, build goodwill or create primary demand for the product. Strictly speaking, missionary salespersons are not permitted to take orders.

Sales Engineer

The salesperson acts as a technical consultant to the client and as per the need, helps to design products or production systems for a client.

This type of salesperson is popularly called Technical Salesperson, e.g. Computer salesman.

Tangible Product Seller

The salesperson’s job is to sell tangible products such as furniture, appliances, automobiles, etc. The job involves abilities to persuade and convince the customer.

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Intangible Products Seller

Here the salesperson is associated with selling intangible products or services such as advertising services, insurance, education, etc., the common factor being difficulty in immediately demonstrating the perceived benefits of the product. 

This selling job requires perhaps the greatest degree of creativity in the salesperson.

Defining the Salesperson’s Job

The foregoing classification of the sales position into seven categories, on the basis of the degree of creativity required in the performance of each job, is only general in nature. 

Depending upon the organizational need, each company should clearly define what it expects from a salesperson in terms of the tasks to be performed by him. 

It should broadly specify how much of the salesperson’s time should be spent on developing new accounts versus servicing existing accounts, large accounts versus small accounts, bulk orders versus small orders, selling individual products versus selling products line, selling old products versus selling new products, etc. 

Lack of clear definition regarding the selling tasks to be performed often results in disproportionate spending of time between the tasks, as well as in imbalances in the goals achieved. 

To avoid this type of loss in productivity of the sales force, it is worth repeating that the job of a salesperson should be defined with sufficient specificity so that he/she can use it as a guideline to stay in the right direction.

Read Also: Role of Personal Selling Process in Marketing

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