The Non-Salesperson Salesperson

When most of us think of the word, “Sales Rep,” an image appears in our head. Hopefully, what just popped into your head is a well-dressed professional that is ready to solve problems and earn orders. There is great value in this kind of salesperson.

But there is another kind of salesperson out there that also serves a purpose and fills a need. This is the non-salesperson.

The non-salesperson might be the owner or, more likely, would have a production background. Either way, they did not come up through the ranks of wearing out shoes going door-to-door and are very likely to have no professional sales training. But no training, no problem.

You don’t need to be an expert in the sales pyramid. You don’t need to have a million dollar smile and a firm handshake. You can make it just fine being a “regular guy” sales rep.

I believe that there is a sales gene. I believe it is easier for some than others, that personality for the job is a God-given gift, and that some of us were born for the role. But if none of those are you, you can still succeed.

The greatest asset that any person, sales rep or not, can have is that of curiosity. Showing an interest in the other person uncovers problems and opportunities. What you might lack in selling skill you can more than make up for by showing an interest in the other person.

Don’t be afraid to say to someone, “I am not a salesperson.” If you are a good listener and ask good questions, if you have good follow-up and are detail oriented, and if you are not afraid of rejection, you can succeed as a non-salesperson’s salesperson.

Bill Farquharson is a Vice President at NAPL. His training programs can drive the sales of print reps and selling owners. Check out his Sales Resources page and contact him at (781) 934-7036 or

As a 30 year sales veteran, Bill has the perspective of a been-there, done-that sales rep in the commercial print arena. Following sales fundamentals and giving unapologetically "old school" advice, he writes and speaks in an entertaining fashion to make his points to sales people and owners who sell. "Bill Farquharson will drive your sales momentum."
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  • Michael Frishberg

    Being a good listener and asking good questions, performing good follow-up and being detail oriented, while being unafraid of rejection, (with faith in the future, since you are an optimist) will make you a good salesperson or non-salesperson…

  • Sally Kirby

    "I am the sales rep you seek; the force is strong, yet non-schmoozy with me; yes, print is the most valuable marketing channel. . . ."

  • CanonKelly

    Hey Bill – Maybe we should ALL say we are not salespeople – sort of a jedi mind trick? I’m TRYING it!