The 7-Roles of Highly Competent Salespeople: Role #3 - The Persuasive Communicator

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.

In this article, I will explain the third role in greater detail (please see my other articles for in depth explanations of the other roles. )

Primary Focus of This Role:

In this role, you are somebody who has a particular ability to express thoughts, ideas, and plans effectively and when needed - persuasively. Because the volume of communication constantly increases, the chance of information overload with buyers also increases; therefore you will maintain the impact and effectiveness of individual messages by leveraging new and emerging strategies for communication as well as seeking the most efficient communication message and channel for delivery (email, phone, voice mail, face-to-face meeting, presentation, etc).

General Expectations:

You will begin to articulate your company's recommendation, approach, response, plan, or strategy in clear terms. You will need to set appropriate expectations in an ethical way with the buyer so as to not over-promise your company's capability to deliver. You will define and refine an actual buying need within a client or prospect company and open dialogue with the company to understand if your firm's solution(s) can provide a remedy – making sure your company can indeed deliver.

Pre-Sale Expectations:

You will draw on your understanding of a variety of fields such as linguistics, semantics, rhetoric, psychology, sociology, graphic design, management, marketing, economics, and information technology. You will learn to manage communication to achieve specific short-term objectives, influence communication networks and the communication flow within organizations, while developing good interpersonal communication between and among those who work with you. You will build rapport and trust with those you come into contact with through open and honest dialogue. You must have an ability to understand others and to actively engage in a way they feel comfortable.

To accomplish this you must be able to listen effectively and ask questions to determine the root cause of an issue as well as to develop a deeper understanding of the impact of the issues. You must have a keen grasp of non-verbal body language while being gracious and disciplined. You will be asked to focus on customer needs, rather than on your product or service and develop your personal and organizational credibility while minimizing buyer anxiety. You will use this role to increase self-confidence and reduce burnout through effectively managing appropriate messages and communication channels internally as well as managing your own internal positive dialogue and positive “self-talk”.

You will project first impressions that last and use energy and impact to create lasting impressions. You will conduct audience analysis and present to them based on appropriate learning style, cultural, economic, and gender differences. You will understand the ways in which these differences influence communication expectations and behavior, including the length of time it takes to establish business and personal relationships, differences in the conception of time itself, differences in nonverbal communication, and differences in perceptions as they are influenced by language and culture. You will also be asked to effectively deal with different personality types in constantly changing customer environments.

You will select the appropriate words and terminology for the correct audience so you do not speak “over their head” or in a manner that does not translate to their specific organizational status or decision making impact. You will speak clearly, succinctly and professionally in person and on the phone. You will facilitate communication between large accounts where your message may (or may not) be given without you as well as with individuals where you will have the ability to uniquely tailor your approach and style. You must have an understanding of individual customer behavior and how your own behavior affects customer relationships. You must be aware of the non-verbal behavior displayed by buyers. You will synchronize your communication style to theirs, enabling you to ensure no incomprehension or misunderstanding. You will effectively use visual aids, presentations, documentation, brochures, or other marketing collateral where appropriate.

You will use a variety of means to achieve your communication objectives (letters, emails, public presentations, one-on-one presentations, telephone, conference calls, web-seminars, etc). You must have the ability to write written reports, informational memos, or even analytical reports as necessary. You must have a fundamental knowledge of primary and secondary research, techniques for data analysis, and how to give analytical presentations when necessary.

You must have the technical ability to effectively use communications tools, whether word processing, page layout and graphic design, Email, video-conferencing, Internet-based services, teleconferencing, or multimedia. You will also leverage items like cell phones, pagers, and email devices (like “Blackberries”) to help ensure that you can communicate from virtually anywhere to virtually anywhere else at any time. You will understand how to effectively communicate via email and the Internet to communicate with prospects and customers as well as internal management and team members. In some instances, you may need to troubleshoot or repair technological devices so as to maintain effectiveness.

Post-Sale Expectations:

In this role, you will communicate customer concerns regarding quality, perceptions, and problems back to appropriate members of your firm. You will also collect competitive intelligence and communicate that back to marketing and product development team members. You will also leverage political networks inside and outside your organization to help facilitate necessary changes or decisions.

Required Traits of This Role:

You will be asked to be sociable, well-versed in many different subjects, patient, tactful, adaptable, quick, articulate, poised, gracious, and posess humility when appropriate in this role.


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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