Salespeople fall into 4 categories

How to classify your salespeoples ability

How to classify your salespeople's ability.


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Salespeople fall into 4 categories

© 2006  David Peterson 

Do you have some salespeople on your staff that may not hit their sales goals? Why is it that some people make telemarketing sales (telesales) look so simple and others just cannot get it? Some people crush their goals month after month. Others struggle to hit their goals. Finally some salespeople cannot even put up minimal numbers.

I clearly subscribe to the doctrine that salespeople can be trained to sell. To me selling is a science that can be taught. Great salespeople also have some artistic ability they bring to the table. However, you do not have to be “born to sell.” 

You hear it all the time: “He was born to sell.” “She is a natural salesperson.” I agree that some people have the natural ability to sell just like some athletes have the natural ability to play baseball or soccer.

The rest of the sales population that does not have that natural ability has to be taught to sell. They have to be taught how to give themselves the opportunity to sell. I firmly believe that most salespeople can be taught. It is the job of the sales manager or sales supervisor to teach these employees the sales process.

Sales people come into your organization with different skill sets. The better sales representatives will know how to set a sale up. They give themselves the opportunity to sell. You have to identify each person’s skill set before you can design your sales training for each individual. 

Salespeople fall into these 4 categories:

1. D-Players: Some sales representatives will not get off the ground with your organization. These people will fail. In fact they should not have been hired for this sales position. There is not a whole lot you can do about it. Once you identify one of these people you should steer them to another profession. Not everyone can play golf and not everyone can sell either. I hate to be rude but you need to exit these people out of your business quickly before they drag you and your sales numbers down.

2. C-Players: There are some representatives that are always teetering on failing. One month they will hit their sales goal. The next month they will miss the goal. Most C-Players can be taught the sales process. They can become B-Players if they have the aptitude to learn, are willing to learn and have the right attitude. Historically as a sales manager if I cannot get this group of C-Players to the B-level within a few months I will exit them out of the business as well. I exit this group out of the business because I have an ever-increasing sales budget that I have to hit. Month after month, year after year my number typically goes up – not down. If I don’t hit my number I don’t get paid! If I have even one C-Player on my team that means that some other representative has to pick up the slack. ALL of my C-Players will be new employees. You do not get to waste six months of my time with my constant coaching and training and not produce. Sorry – I have a number to hit.

3. B-Players: The vast majority of your representatives will be just hitting their assigned sales numbers or slightly above. These people are usually very content in their jobs. B-Players always hit their sales goals but rarely blow the numbers out in a particular month. They are typically content with the amount of money that they are making. It is this group of people that can have the greatest amount of impact on your departmental sales numbers. They typically are the vast majority of your representatives. (If they are not the vast majority of your representatives you need to start looking at your sales managers.) Only a few B-Players will actually move to the next level. Fat and Happy best describes this group of salespeople.

4. A-Players. This segment of sales representatives always exceeds their assigned sales goals. They can completely blow through a goal for months on end. They also stimulate the B-Players by showing them that there are more sales that can be made. These people have a solid effect on your sales number but they are usually too few in numbers to pull up the overall departmental sales goal. Money is not always a motivator here. The desire to be the best, or the desire to crush a sales goal can be just as motivating as money. A good portion of this group will still be selling 20 years from now. Sales give them the opportunity to be great at something everyday of every year.

In order to setup a sales training you have to classify your 
representatives into categories so you know what you have or what direction need to proceed. You can’t design departmental sales training or even one-on-one coaching without knowing whom you are dealing with. 

Classify your representatives into one of the categories above. It will make an immediate impact on your business because you will be able to identify what you need to do to make your overall goal more achievable.


David Peterson

David Peterson

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