1.3 Other Types of Selling

1. Transactional Selling

Transactional selling is one of the simpler types of selling; this focuses more on the short term sales (Sweeney, 2023). The main objective here is to make a sale quickly. Here, the buyer and seller are not interested in creating a relationship but the only concern is the transaction and the exchange. Even thought it sounds to be pretty outdated, transactional selling is still relevant today when used in the right context. In situations where the buyer is in need of a quick option to buy and the product itself is of low-cost or generic in nature where profits are dependent on the quantities of sale this is selling is most appropriate. This type of selling also give a good insights and feedback in terms of the most common needs and focus on giving the consumers everything they need to make a decision quickly without any obstacles on the way.

2. Solution Selling

Solution selling focuses on selling outcomes rather than the products and features (Sweeney, 2023). In this type of selling, the sales person will highlight a problem and how that problem can be a hindrance in the life of the buyer. Of course, the solution includes what the seller is selling. To be effective, a solution sales strategy must:

  • Create and build strong rapport with the buyers.
  • Provide innovative solutions and unique value propositions to the buyers.
  • Seller should be able to point a clear and lucrative picture of the whole business i.e. not just the product or offering but also the service and experience.
  • Salesperson should be ready to invest considerable time and efforts to be successful here.

3. Consultative Selling

Even though the consultative and solution selling appear to be same, they are different (Sweeney, 2023). Solution selling does not talk about the features and benefits but focus on a problem and solving it for the buyer. However consultative selling will go a step further and incorporates solution selling in a way that it makes the buyers capable of identifying potential solutions to their problems on their own and the sales person is just a consultant who uses data from market research, conversations with the buyers, other user data and creates a narrative based on these to offer a clear context for the buyer. This approach requires a skilled sales team that understands how to interpret data, ask questions, and unearth important insights during conversations.

Because this type of selling requires a lot of work on the part of the seller, it’s best suited for big-ticket deals, long sales cycles, and a high-touch, multi-platform buyer’s journey.

4. Provocative selling

Provocative selling method involves provoking the buyers to see a different viewpoint, bring about a sense of urgency and awareness to solving the problems the face (Sweeney, 2023). Similar to the consultative selling, provocation selling tries to uncover the needs and wants of the buyers through research, data analysis and interactions (past and present). The salesperson will try to create a sense of crisis and drive action by showing them opportunities of implementing the solution and threat of missing it out in the moment. It is opportunistic in nature i.e. by creating an impression that the customer is missing out on something if they do not take the opportunity at the moment, you are pushing the customer to take action. However it is a difficult act to pull off because it needs a lot of expertise and the salesperson must be very conversant with the market and the industry insights and loaded with all facts and figures which will make his/her recommendation a believable solution for the buyer. Also it requires soft skills and understanding of the situation which comes with time.

5. Collaborative selling

Collaborative selling is similar to consultative selling (Sweeney, 2023). Here the focus is on building and nurturing the relationships. These relationships are based on how well you understand the buyers life, his/her challenges and situations. The customer is the centre focal point here. The buyer may play a very active role here and the sales person will work collaboratively to identify and implement solutions for the buyer.

Gartner calls this process “sense-making” in a 2019 report that called attention to the need for sellers to help overwhelmed buyers navigate the buying process by reducing skepticism and helping them build confidence. According to the report, 89% of buyers say that most of the information they encounter throughout the sales process is generally “high quality.” Meanwhile, 44% of buyers say that they struggle with the fact that multiple suppliers provide seemingly credible, fact-based information that is often contradictory (Blum, & Omale, 2019).

The goal of collaborative selling is setting the stage for lasting relationships that look more like strategic alliances than traditional one-and-done transactions.

6. Partnership Selling

Partnership Selling in today’s world is becoming quite popular (Sweeney, 2023). It is an approach where you consider the buyer as a partner rather than anything else and helping him/her achieve what he/she wants. This selling is often found in SaaS industry where startups or small companies are expanding and exploring new markets to grow.

There are two main types of partnership selling:

  • Technology/integration partnership that combines two partners – Software vendors who provide different solutions to the same potential customers at the same time. (for instance, data visualization tool and data warehouse)
  • Channel partners who build an alliance (VMS) to sell to a buyer. (for instance a reseller and a supplier working together). The sales unit here will combine the strengths already at the stage of identifying potential customers and work together to close the deals.

Table 1.3.1: Advantages and Disadvantages of Partnership Selling



  • The size of sales
  • Quickens the sales cycle
  • Sharing of information about customers
  • New perspective and directions for business growth
  • Trust and reliability
  • Cost reduction
  • Overall improvement in customer retention
  • Higher sales and better support network
  • Competitive advantage
  • Share profit
  • Disagreements and conflicts between the selling partners
  • Sometimes because of the partnerships, you stray away from the actual focus
Source: Sweeney, 2023.

7. High-Pressure Selling

High-pressure selling is also known as Hard selling. This involves playing with the emotional aspect and creating a psychological pressure on the buyer by touching upon points he/she fears, or takes pride in (Sweeney, 2023). This pressure is then used to quickly close the deal by cornering him and forcing him to put an end to the situation. This is a very successful approach, but not always looks ethical. One major argument sellers use in favour of this method is that buyers often postpone their purchase even if they like a product or offering.

Table 1.3.2: Advantages and Disadvantages of High-Pressure Selling



  • Incentives for sales team
  • Company’s growth strategy and outlook
  • Better inventory control
  • It’s unethical/provoking and implies forced decision making
  • You may drive away many buyers who do not like being pressured
Source: Sweeney, 2023.

8. Insight Selling

Insight Selling relies on creating a deeper understanding of the customers and using this understanding to create trust and mutual respect, thereby creating a deeper connect with the customer (Sweeney, 2023). This approach involves collecting key customer insights from sales and various sales analytics and metrics, sales calls and understanding the trends over time. This analysis is then used to align the solution and benefits together and create value thereby increasing sales effectiveness.

Sellers can use either one of two types of insight selling, which often work in parallel:

  • Opportunity Insight: salespeople proactively put forward a specific idea to a potential buyer, involve and guide him through the process of realizing that their solution meets his needs;
  • Interaction Insight: reps proactively ask questions and encourage prospects to leave their comfort zone. As a result, potential buyers can understand which of their proposed solutions best suits their needs, while the seller is there to guide them through.

Table 1.3.3: Advantages and Disadvantages of Insight Selling



  • Helps to create a better and more convincing pitch
  • More detailed data about competition
  • Clarifying about wrong beliefs that the buyer may have and thereby prompting more sales
  • More customer focus which helps build strong trust and relationship
  • Big dependence on prospect data (past, present and future)
  • Dependence on technology and software tools
  • Approach is based on assumptions made from research data which may not be correct
Source: Sweeney, 2023.


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