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Products/Services Specialist Sales Rep Profile:
Compare High Performers to Low Producers

Position Overview: Requires excellent customer relations skills focused on enhancing customer satisfaction by providing valuable solutions; this is driven by knowledge of customers and products and the foresight to address potential problems before they strike.

Predictive Skills: Five characteristics will predict sales rep success in this sales position. Review below how top sales performers will differ from lower performers.


Able to sort through bureaucracy, complexity or politics to focus on required results; is not caught unprepared when obstacles are encountered; meets self-imposed standards of excellence by delivering agreed upon results that are straightforward and customer defined


  • Sets the criteria for ensuring successful results in accordance with customer-defined requirements
  • Delivers the result that was promised to the customer without unnecessary fanfare or embellishments
  • Concentrates on meeting his objective of doing what is best for the customer rather than focus on an effort or result that is meant to favor his own appearance or image
  • Finds personal success in meeting customer requirements
  • Realistically anticipates barriers to results accomplishment and is prepared to respond
  • Cuts through administrative or political red tape to maximize his results accomplishment
  • Holds results achievement to a high personal standard


  • Uses his own criteria to determine customer requirements
  • May focus more on style and making a good impression than content and relevance in results achievement
  • Can be caught off-guard by unexpected obstacles
  • May revise his commitments when faced with unanticipated barriers rather than be on the lookout for problems and prepare to resolve them as they arise
  • May be restricted in his effort to satisfy customer requirements by a discomfort with working around the system or taking the more complicated route when met with internal or external barriers
  • May view 'not failing' as an acceptable measure of results achievement


Seeks to provide an appropriate solution by understanding what the customer is trying to accomplish; spends time in a needs analysis process that identifies key objectives specific to an individual customer; gives the customer’s agenda priority over a standard response; changes the sales approach or solution to accommodate the customer versus force fit the customer to an existing model


  • Asks questions and studies the customer’s key priorities
  • Incorporates the customer’s responses and input into a business plan tailored to fit that customer’s needs
  • Takes the time to explore options or alternatives for helping the customer to achieve key objectives
  • Accepts the rejection or modification of his suggestions in an effort to best understand and help the customer


  • Lacks a thorough approach to a customer needs analysis, preferring to move immediately to an existing solution
  • Can be distracted from learning customer requirements by the personalities or politics of a situation
  • Tries to fit the customer’s methods or goals into a standard model or solution
  • Takes it as personal criticism when his suggestions are challenged
  • Can be too invested in his own agenda to comfortably yield to the customer’s agenda


Builds credibility in a resource role by remaining factual and timely in providing information; maintains his sources for quick access to time-sensitive information and to stay abreast of new developments; proactively educates customers or shares information as part of the service they deserve


  • Takes pride in being a voluntary source of information
  • Presents factual information without embellishment or bias
  • Provides a timely response, even if that response can only confirm that he is working on an answer
  • Keeps the customer informed through status reports if information is delayed
  • Builds a reputation as a credible resource by keeping his information sources current and accessible
  • Does not focus on becoming the expert as much as he invests his resources in knowing how to access and communicate others’ expertise


  • Does not keep others in the loop when he encounters delays in the information gathering process
  • May color information by filtering it through his own biases or adding his own interpretation
  • Failure to keep information sources up-to-date and readily accessible can result in inaccurate information and unnecessary delays in providing a response
  • Sees information sharing as an added bonus rather than an entitlement and therefore sets the wheels in motion at his own convenience


Stays in touch with market trends, including environmental and competitive forces influencing the market, so that he can be seen as a valuable resource to important constituents internal or external to the organization; constantly seeks information that will be useful but is not readily available to colleagues; enjoys being sought for advice and instruction; spends the time to build a base of knowledge that ultimately helps others to be more effective


  • Takes professional pride in maintaining an in-depth awareness of market issues
  • Believes there is a benefit to continually building and adding to his knowledge base in market and competitive issues
  • Wants to be prepared to serve as a source of advice and information to his customers
  • Updates his own market information in order to be of assistance to customers who may not have the time or resources to research changing market trends themselves


  • May believe he can get by on a cursory understanding of market trends and conditions because he doesn't appreciate its added value to others
  • Is comfortable with his present knowledge of the market and may believe the incremental gains he could achieve by developing his knowledge base would not justify the time spent
  • Does not increase his understanding of market issues for the purpose of sharing that information with others
  • Assumes his customers will utilize their own resources to stay on top of changing market conditions


Communicates essential points in an informal and conversational manner; prefers to share information in a one-on-one or small group situation; varies style and language to ensure listener understanding and is attentive to closing the loop on communications; seeks feedback and responds appropriately to listener reactions; makes presentations that are unrehearsed and adapted to individual situations


  • Sensitive to the customer's circumstances and response, adjusting the communication of information or ideas to accommodate their need to know or level of understanding
  • Encourages questions, comments, feedback from the customer
  • Backs an informal presentation with professional sales tools and company guarantees
  • Gives specific details of how/who/when, promising that the complexity of delivery and servicing of the product line will be shouldered by the salesperson
  • Keeps the focus on content and substance, not flash and performance
  • Creates a presentation that is informal, low-key, and unrehearsed
  • Talks with the customer, creating a team feeling of working together, versus directing a speech at the customer


  • May attempt a one-size-fits-all communication style that does not account for different information needs
  • By sticking to a prepared script, he does not leave any room for customer feedback or reaction and cannot adjust his presentation in response to that input
  • Unwilling to risk personal rejection or judgment, he may create an image or persona rather than be himself
  • Keeps the audience at arm's length, making his presentation seem less personal to the customer

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