It doesn’t matter where you start. You’d be amazed how high you can get!

People talk about high level and low lever sales all the time, I know I do. So I thought I’d describe what I see as some of the main differences in the two approaches so that you can see which you might be.

Note though, low level doesn’t necessarily mean a bad sales person, and high level doesn’t necessarily mean a good sales person. Though it is fair to say, an awful lot of low level sales people would prefer to be high level. OK, here we go

Low level sellers decide on prices before talking to the client – deciding whether its too expensive or not, they fit the product to what they believe to be the clients budget. Whether they have asked the client or not. High level sellers sell a solution that’s worth the money they ask for, and ask for the money its worth.

Low Level sellers are often ‘charming’ and fast talking. They’ll often be funny and popular too – the ‘gift of the gab’ it’s called. High level sellers though sometimes similar, may not even be very friendly. They certainly don’t care if clients ‘like’ them, only that they ‘buy’ them.

Low level sellers have been trained in the benefits of open-ended questioning. High levels sellers know about the incredible power of closed questions.

Low level sellers are well versed and thoroughly grounded in great sales technique. High level sellers, knowing customers spot sales technique a mile off are truly authentic.

Low Level sellers tend to sell at manager level. High level sellers to director level.

Low Level sellers sell features and benefits. My product does this thing – the benefit of which is this. High level sellers sell solutions.

Low level sellers sell tactically. Short term, ‘do it now’ kind of stuff. High level sellers are deep into the strategic thinking of the organisation that they are working with. Creating high levels of value. They end up further forward because they sell further forward.

Low level sellers create value through making it cheaper and doing a deal. High level sellers create value through differentiation. They have unique expertise and trade on that rather than the product or the price.

Low level sellers are transactional. They are great negotiators, good at thinking on their feet and understanding discount structures and incentives.  High level sellers are consultative. They are good at uncovering the real problems in an organisation, and solving those problem.

Low level sellers go to the same well over and over. High level sellers take delight in breaking new ground and talking to clients no one else has even thought of.

Low level sellers need an edge to win. They need to have a managers authority or direction. They need a discounted price, a new slant on an old idea, or a rousing sales meeting or seminar to get themselves going. They sell for commissions and to hit targets and for recognition.

High level sellers are the edge. They thrive on being in charge and making decisions. They thrive on being in the flow, they feel like work is ‘playing’ and can’t believe they get paid to do what they love. They sell for a higher purpose, for something bigger than they are. They sell to help.

Which are you? And do you know how to move from one to the other? Its possible to go up and down the ladder I think. Though most high level sellers on gaining the higher ground, tend to stick.

If you are low level (and you could be brilliant at selling and earning tons of cash) do you want to know how to become high level? Who is going to teach you? To show you how to do it?

And what have I missed do you think? Whats not on the list? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me on @radiojaja

  1. gristpresent
    gristpresent says:

    Low level sellers have been trained in the benefits of open-ended questioning. High levels sellers know about the incredible power of closed questions.

    Can you say more?

    We work with very, very high sellers where it is all about solutions, but the trick is to convince the client they thought of it….

      • Tony Dowling
        Tony Dowling says:

        Right! slightly embarrassed about that, thought there was a compliment in there. As in I had captured the essence of the point so well there was nothing more to say! 🙂

        Ok – two main benefits to closed questioning.

        1. You are able to guess more effectviely what your clients answers are likely to be. eg – ‘Yes’ ‘No’ or ‘I dont know’ are typical. Therefore you are able to more thoroughly prepare and rehearse a conversation before hand.
        2. Given the above, you are far more likely to be able to control where the coversation is going. A well directed closed question can shut down a redundant conversational gambit, or pull a client back into the scenario you want them in

        But its also about encouraging sales people to be more authentic. No one talks with open eneded questions all the time or even very often. Everyone else uses closed questions on us, and we use closed questions on them all the time too. So it makes for far more natural conversation.

        Makes sense? Maybe worth doing a blog on this topic!

      • gristpresent
        gristpresent says:


        Yes I hadn’t really thought it through.

        In the Competive Dialogue bidding we try to move our clients away from their first instincts “We’ve solved all your problems!”
        To, “If we could find a way of saving money on the design would you be interested? Yes? Well here our ideas”

        Closed questions which lead to a conclusion.

  2. Tony Dowling
    Tony Dowling says:

    Yes precisely that

    you can pretty much remove the inbetween bit too, they’d clearly be interested. ‘here are our ideas to save you money’ – not even a question – and more authentic?

    • Tony Dowling
      Tony Dowling says:

      Thanks Sue. I’ve had comments today about the fact that sometimes the approach depends on the client, and I accept that. And therefore as you imply there is a choice that can be made as to which style to follow I guess?