The 7 Roles of Highly Competent Salespeople: Explained

Brian Lambert

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A “role” is defined as the characteristic and expected social behavior of an individual. We all play many roles in life, such as parent or salesperson, and it is not difficult to see how this sense of the word role is related to its meaning in theater, where a “role” was played by a character.

Role conflict (having conflicting demands from two or more different people), role ambiguity (lack of clarity in what's expected) and role overload (too much on your plate) can have a significant negative impact on effectiveness, results, self esteem, professional self image and consequently resilience in the face of adversity. In short, without a clear definition of the roles you are supposed play as a professional salesperson or the amount of work you are to perform and how these roles intertwine, you may end up like the other thousands of salespeople a year who do not make it in the profession.

I wouldl ike to define professional selling roles and what is generally expected in each from my four-year-long research study on individual salespeople - and what REALLY makes them successful.


  1. "The Strategic Planner"
  2. "The Client-Focused Positioner"
  3. "The Persuasive Communicator"
  4. "The Focused Catalyst"
  5. "The Concerted Facilitator"
  6. "The Effective Manager"
  7. "The Value-Driven Guardian"

These roles are created by understanding the phases of building customer satisfaction and loyalty (as outlined by the United Professional Sales Association). Their model focuses on the entire transaction experience of a buyer, from initial needs identification, through decision-making, selection, and purchasing. More importantly, this transaction experience continues past the purchase into implementation - and beyond into measuring the quality and return-on-investment of the solution.

In this article, I will set the stage for how these roles interact (please see my other articles for in depth explanations of the roles. )


Therefore it is helpful to briefly explain how these roles interact along this transaction experience.
  • The Strategic Planner Role is almost exclusively focused on Pre-Sale activities
  • The Client-Focused Positioner Role is focused on clearly identifying the key benefits a specific buyer will purchase as well as bridge the “Marketing-and-Selling gap"
  • The Persuasive Communicator Role is focused on presenting, questioning, and managing sales communications with a specific buyer
  • The Focused Catalyst is pinpointed on driving a unique transaction as well as bridging the “Sales to Service" gap
  • The Concerted Facilitator is almost exclusively focused on Post-Sale activities
  • The Effective Manager is focused on the entire process and ensuring goals are achieved. The Effective Manager is also focused on driving continuous selling cycle improvement initiatives.
  • The Value-Driven Guardian is focused on expanding new opportunities with existing relationships and protecting any relationships that exist from the competition.

Therefore, these roles build on each other from 1 through 7 with two critical roles being “The Positioner" and “The Catalyst. " This is because “The Postioner" bridges the gap between marketing and selling and the Catalyst bridges the gap between sales and service, as well as maintaining focus on a unique transaction.


Brian is the Chairman and Founder of the the United Professional Sales Association (UPSA). UPSA is a non-profit organization headquartered in Washington DC that has addressed the concerns and challenges of individual sales professionals. Brian has authored the world’s first universal selling standards and open-source selling framework for free distribution. This ‘Compendium of Professional Selling’ containing the commonly accepted and universally functional knowledge that all sales professionals possess. The open-source selling standards have been downloaded in 16 countries by over 300 people. Over 30 people have made contributions.

Because UPSA is not owned by one person or any company, it is a member organization and guardian of the global standard of entry into the sales profession.

Find out about the membership organization and understand the processes and framework of professional selling at the UPSA Website at

Find out more about Brian at:

Or at


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