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The Seller-Doer Paradox

The Seller-Doer Paradox

I’ve had the distinct pleasure to train many seller-doers. These are people who are typically very smart, hard-working and have achieved some level of recognition in their field.  Many remodelers are perfect examples of seller-doer – they sell the work, then they do the work.

Their biggest challenge is usually keeping the pipeline full with new opportunities or engagements while still doing the actual work for the client.

“Chip, I’ll get to the business development work after I finish working for the client.” Intelligent seller-doers tell me this all the time, and they don’t see that it’s circular logic – a paradox. The only way their belief will work for a seller-doer is if

A) someone else brings in the new business for the company.

B) The seller-doer may tolerate extended periods with no work while they look for the next engagement.

Here’s the thing, A) indicates they are a doer, not a seller; and B) reveals they are either a seller or a doer, but never both at the same time.

Fixing the seller-doer paradox may require multiple strategies:

  • Address the possibility that client work is used as an excuse to not do business development activities. Procrastination is rarely the overt refusal to do a task. It usually occurs when the procrastinator finds other things to do instead.
  • Identify business development activities that are effective and enjoyable for the remodeler. Good seller-doers don’t make cold calls all day, but they do attend networking functions, give speeches at conferences and have a large network of colleagues that all refer business to each other.
  • Insure business development activities are on the remodelers calendar. Sounds simple yet I’m shocked at how few seller-doers make appointments with themselves to do the prospecting and business development which will insure their pipeline of projects remains plump.
  • Give ample recognition to the successful seller-doer, especially when they succeed at selling. A seller-doer culture embraces business development.
  • Sell while servicing the client. There’s always an opportunity to ask questions and identify an upsell opportunity or a referral. I’ve never had a remodeler receive a complaint for spending 90 seconds asking a few questions of the client during working hours. In fact, most clients want their seller-doer to look out for them and stay informed. Asking questions is a natural part of customer service.
  • Selling comes first. After all, we don’t call them “doer-sellers!” I realize that there will be a client crisis requiring immediate attention occasionally. But every week, attention must be paid to the selling aspect of the job. Create systems for accountability around business development just as you do for time cards and chargeable hours.

Good Selling!



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