The 7-Roles of Highly Competent Salespeople: Role #4 - The Focused Catalyst

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.

All of these factors have a significant negative impact on self esteem, professional self image and consequently resilience in the face of adversity. In short, without a clear definition of the roles you are to play, 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 will now define professional selling roles and what is generally expected in each.


  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.

Primary Focus of This Role:

In this role, you are an agent of your company and you will be asked to assist other companies in making a change occur by choosing your solution. You will do this in a consultative and participatory process to identify their business issues and put a plan in place that solves those issues.

General Expectations:

You will represent your company to others and encourage those with whom you interact to find solutions to problems or tasks that fit their business needs. To do this, you will use a strong knowledge of business economics, finance, law and ethics to determine if your organization can help. With this understanding, you will be asked to create an interest in the feasibility of your solution(s) with buyers. You will then be asked to negotiate for a fair investment by the buyer if they determine your company is in the best position to help. If the individual is unsure of their decision-making process or decision making criteria, you will need to help them determine what their underlying thoughts and feelings are about your solution in order to arrive at an acceptable decision-making process and/ore criteria so they can determine if your solution is indeed in a good fit to help.

Pre-Sale Expectations:

If you believe your company's solution(s) can help (based on this acquired understanding of the business issues) you will need to determine what facts, data, and other information you will need to bring a sale to close. If the buyer already has a relationship with your company, you will gather the relevant data and information to expand the relationship (with your facilitator role) while protecting it from other companies. You will be asked to be a persistent self-starter, assertive, competitive, and results-oriented in this role.

Post-Sale Expectations:

After the sale occurs, you will work with your Facilitator and Management roles to identify new opportunities in the existing client base. If your organization wants you to focus only on new business, you will seek feedback from implementation, delivery, or marketing research team members to evaluate, refine, and improve your message for each individual company.

The “Catalyst” is the only role that focuses solely creating a unique transaction. Usually this role is coupled with one of the other roles. You are usually a “catalyst” even if you are communicating, facilitating, positioning, or managing because you are focused on creating transactions.

Required Traits of This Role:

Highly successful salespeople are resilient and do not take “no" personally. You should also need to have above average ambition, willpower and determination. Yo should find it easy to approach strangers. You should have a high energy level, supreme self-confidence, hunger for achievement (of power, money, prestige, or service) and the ability to see obstacles as challenges. You should be alert, courageous, inquistive, pursuasive, and sociable.

Author Note: Unlike many who believe you are either a “hunter” or a “farmer”, I believe you are also a “catalyst” throughout. You will be required to “make something happen” no matter role is predominant or what type of selling job you are in. This is the nature of selling, you can't take your eye off the “Catalyst Role, " especially if you are managing the entire transaction experience.


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:

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