4 Types of Selling

Posted by David Wallace on April 14, 2021

In my experience, there are four types of selling – transaction, relationship, solution and partnership. What type does your sales team engage in?

Transaction Selling

Transaction selling works well with simple, commodity products. Since the product is generally available from multiple sources and is indistinguishable from competitive products, the sale is made on price and availability. Where can the buyer conveniently get the product at the lowest cost?

Sales reps generally have minimal interaction with the customer. Marketing typically informs the customer and drives demand.

Transaction selling is most often found in retail environments where the customer has a good idea of what he wants and asks salespeople simple, clarifying questions.

Relationship Selling

Relationship selling usually involves simple or moderately complex products. Often the deals involve larger unit volumes or greater revenue. In a relationship selling model, the salesperson develops professional relationships with buyers at their target customers. Relationships are typically based on familiarity, likeability and ultimately trust.

When a customer has a buying need, the buyer explores the market, shopping for competitive prices and availability. When the buyer has found reasonable purchase options, she offers the relationship salesperson a “last look” at the opportunity. If the salesperson can “meet or beat” the competing offers, he will win the deal. If not, the buyer will purchase from one of the competitors.

Solution Selling

Solution selling, as the name implies, solves a customer’s business problem. It often involves creating a complex solution that incorporates products, services and technology. The focus of solution selling is on business needs. The buyer’s decision criteria are based on value. Usually, in solution selling, the salesperson has developed intimate knowledge and understanding of the customer’s environment, industry and business.

Partnership Selling

In a partnership selling arrangement, the seller becomes an important part of the customer’s team. The salesperson is selling a complex solution that is integral to a customer’s success. An example of a sales partnership may be the sale of GE jet engines to Boeing. The success of both GE Aircraft Engines and Boeing depends on the engines fitting on and working perfectly with the Boeing airframe. This type of sale relies on a long-term, valued partnership between both parties. Often, partnership sales take years to develop.

What type of selling does your team engage in? The key is to employ the sales model that works best for your company and for your customers.

Wallace Management Group helps companies drive sales success. We can help you identify and deploy the sales model that works best for you.

Contact us at (203) 856-9400 or dwallace@wallacemanagement.com to discuss how we can help your sales and marketing leadership team successfully drive business so you will win.