Are your best producers sales people or order takers? Which one do you need and can you tell the difference? Would you call the person at the coffee shop a sales person or an order taker? They manage a business exchange between customers and the store (sales), and yet they primarily take orders. Is the clerk who up sells a sales person, or still an order taker? This type of sales confusion can make it difficult to seek and hire the appropriate sales professional. It’s often challenging for an employer to differentiate the roles, and also challenging for reps to properly label themselves. Know what you need – sales vs order taking, (and what you’re getting), before you hire.

Order Taker
The order taker waits for contact from the buyer and the buyer dictates the sale. They respond to RFP’s and react to requests. The order taker is controlled by the customer, and sells in the now. He is adept at describing product features and how the purchase can benefit the buyer. They are advocates for the customer and what the customer demands. The order taker doesn’t actually have to sell; instead they survive on “low hanging fruit.” Their goal is to close the deal and move on to the next call. Marketing a well-known brand in a healthy economy can result in a large income for the order taker.

A salesperson hunts for prospects. He is focused on his customers needs and develops a relationship. The customer is engaged in the sales process and the rep influences the buy. A salesperson has a sales strategy, often selling 6 -12 months in advance. He plans for the future of the customer and the company, looking beyond the here and now. Low-hanging fruit is not perceived as the main course, but rather sales “gravy”. It’s appreciated as an easy win, not a sustainable way to make goal. The salesperson is constantly prospecting, and a top performer will earn a large income in any economy.

Know the difference between an order taker and an order maker. Determine the type of calls and leads you are receiving before you decide on which type of professional to hire. Many order takers pose as salespeople, so make sure you have
a thorough vetting process. A good salesperson can change the course of your business while an order taker chooses the path of least resistance. There is a place and a role for both professions in the sales field, but hiring the wrong talent can
prove disappointing and costly.



Eliot Burdett

CEO at Peak Sales Recruiting
Before Peak, Eliot spent more than 20 years building and leading companies, where he took the lead in recruiting and managing high performance sales teams. He co-founded Ventrada Systems (mobile applications) and GlobalX (e-commerce software). He was also Vice President of Sales for PointShot Wireless.

Eliot received his B. Comm. from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner.

He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast and provides regular insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog.

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