We like to share some of our thinking

From Order Taking to Selling

David Armes | 24th February 2021

We believe there is a central theme for any business this year. Relationships

You could argue this has always been the case. However, it is now more critical than ever.

In conversations with our clients, we are increasingly hearing the same concerns. These are nearly always articulated in the form of questions:

  • Are we trading off the relationships we developed before the pandemic?

  • Are we building relationships or are they becoming more transactional?


  • How do we prevent our competitors building relationships?

  • How do we develop new relationships?

When talking about relationships you could easily apply these questions to your external (client) ones as to your internal (employees).


For the rest of this article, I am going to be focused on external client relationships.

If client relationships are key, then surely the first sensible question to ask is:


Do our people have the right skills and mindset to develop relationships?


Most sensible maybe, but not the most impactful.

The most impactful question you need to ask is:

Does our team consist of order takers or salespeople?


To understand why this is the right question to ask, let’s look at some definitions

An order taker is:

A type of salesperson who collects orders but does not make any attempts to increase existing sales, increase the frequency of orders or to find new customers.

Selling is:

A type of salesperson who finds client needs through planned, personalised communication that influences their purchase decisions.

When laid out in this way most businesses recognise they have many more order takers than genuine salespeople. Why? Because business have been successfully growing for many years by simply order taking.

With many traditional order taking channels now closed to us (meeting clients face to face, on-site days, delivery days, events, socialising, bigger client budgets etc.) we need to take a more proactive selling approach.

This is not as simple as you think. If we break the selling definition down into its 3 critical components you will see why:

So where do you start?

Firstly, by recognising where your team are on the order taker to genuine selling spectrum. Secondly by:

  • Creating the desire in the team to want to go on the journey

  • Giving the team the space to build their knowledge and skills so they know how to do it well

  • Implementing small steps so new ways of working are accessible and can be implemented straight away


To find out how 4twenty2 can support you in your journey to genuinely selling then please contact us at David.armes@4twenty2.co.uk

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