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4 types of selling. What type of seller are you?

Inside Sales has evolved over the last 20 years. From the introduction of SPIN selling, the advent of value selling and the introduction of challenger selling, inside sales has progressed rapidly. Each selling method has created a clear ‘level’ of sales individuals. This blog post will discuss the 4 levels of selling that existing in the world of inside sales today.

4 types of selling

Transactional selling

The lowest rung of selling is transaction selling (trust us when we say it is barely selling). Transactional selling is exactly what the name outlines. Customer asks question A, sales individual replies to question A. Customer asks for a discount, sales individual gives 10%. You get the picture. There is minimal pro-activeness and hope is the main strategy of this system.

Transactional selling is only in a type of selling because there is an attempt to close out business. Needless to say, transactional selling is the starting point of a sales individual’s career and if they don’t move out of this type of selling the end of their careers also.

Feature selling

Sadly, many of the sales individuals we have spoken to over a period of time are stuck in the feature selling space. Feature selling is all about answering customer questions with a feature.

For example:

Customer: I want to buy a phone.

Sales individual: Great! what do you want in a phone?

Customer: Something with a good camera.

Sales individual: I have just the phone for you, here is the XYZ phone. It has a 16 MP camera, a very loud speaker phone and above all….

We are sure you have been subjected to this kind of sales pitch in the past. This method only works if you are lucky or if everything you say is exactly or largely what the customer is looking for. Not to mention, such comparisons usually end in pricing comparisons.

Feature selling is also the best way to bore a prospect before he becomes a customer. Talking to a customer non-stop about product features that are not relevant to him will bore him, no matter how patient your prospect is or how good your pitch is.

Value Selling

For a very long time, value selling was at the pinnacle of sales. People who were able to value sell were successful and closed business effortlessly. Even today, most sales individuals that can value sell are successful.

At we truly believe there is nothing wrong with value selling and it serves a lot of purposes. The only time value selling fails is in large B2B deals. Larger deals are complex and demonstrating value alone does not ensure success. Value selling works effortlessly when it comes to smaller ticket deals where the sales cycle is not very large.

However, as per CEB’s exhaustive research nearly 5.4 stake holders are involved in a standard B2B sale. This means that it takes more than just value selling to close deals. We would like to clarify that it is not possible to do get to the next level of selling without first understanding the basics of value selling.

Consultative selling

As it stands today, consultative selling is the highest level of selling. It is selling Zen. We are sure, the day is not far when a new level of selling does not come to the fray. Consultative selling involves everything in value selling but adds elements like industry insights, consulting (instead of selling) to the equation. To put it in words, a consultative sales pitch will involve much more than just pitching the value.

For example:

Sales Individual: As you might be aware that 5% of all users are currently using their mobile phones to make these videos. I understand you have already invested in the desktop side of the business, but our research shows that mobile is the future. I am sending across a whitepaper for your perusal.

The above pitch is coming from a sales individual that sells primarily desktop products. The point we are trying to make is, that consultative sellers are not trying to introduce just their products but also trying to act as a true consultant to their prospects. While the above is a small example in the world of consultative selling, it should point out to the maturity needed to pull it off.

Send us a message on @insideselling if you would like us to help you understand where you stand as a sales individual in terms of selling.

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