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Are your sales team member salesdogs? Tenacious Pitbull, Hyper Chihuahua? or Loyal Golden Retriever? Sales Dog Teamwork

Updated on September 11, 2011


Do you need to manage a sales team?

Do you need to get better in sales or marketing?

Perhaps you should see yourself and your team as dogs. That's right, dogs as in canines.

According to Blair Singer, in his book "Sales Dogs" there are five breeds of Sales Dogs.

  • pit bull
  • golden retriever
  • poodle
  • chihuahua
  • basset hound

Let us analyze each one.

A Pit Bull (Staffordshire Bull Terrier, to be exact)
A Pit Bull (Staffordshire Bull Terrier, to be exact) | Source

The Pit Bull

Pit bulls are extremely hyper, and tenacious... Once it latches onto a prospect, it hangs on until kicked off, or gets a sale. Just imagine a pit bull latches onto your leg and roars "Buy! Buy! Buy!"  This is the type that gave all "salespersons" the "bad name".

A pit bull needs a leash (read: manager), can be scary (as in scaring off the clients), but useful if applied correctly. Keep feeding the pit bull with meat (i.e. leads, low quality is fine), but be ready with the leash (and maybe a stun gun!).

Keep them away from clients that need delicate handling. Follow-ups and maintenance of client found by pit bull should be handled by golden retrievers or basset hounds.

Golden Retriever
Golden Retriever | Source

Golden Retriever

Just like the canine Golden Retriever, who will jump or run anywhere for that stick or ball, so eager to please... the SalesDog Golden Retriever is very happy to answer to client's every demand, because customer is job one! They sincerely believe that the more they give the customers, the more customers will buy!

For the manager... Does the retriever work for you, or the prospect? Are they servicing the customers, or actually selling something?

The Golden Retrievers need to learn how to handle rejections, but also to be the first to give, if only to put the the client off balance.

Poodle | Source


The poodle looks fabulous and sophisticated, struts and prances, looks utterly effortlessly glamourous, (probably drives a Porsche/Lexus and wears Armani/Gucci/Mossimo ). Image is part of their sales message. The most polished of all SalesDogs, poodle would have the widest network of any breed. Poodle can get best seats for any sports game or venue, and solve almost any problem by the sheer number of contacts, someone must have something.

Everybody wants to be around them. But do they really sell your product, or just themselves? Clients flock to them, not the other way around. Most poodles are good one-on-one, but will probably need to learn group skills.

Managers... make sure they actually produce results.

Chihuahua | Source


Chihuahua is very small, very hyper, talks almost non-stop, can be very annoying due to all the yipping. A real pocket dynamo, they will go on and on, with true passion about what they know and do!

A Chihuahua knows everything there is to know about the prospects (their background, their numbers, their needs) and the stuff being sold (may know things even the creator's don't!). Can be very annoying, emotional, and even paranoid, unless properly directed.

Manager: A Chihuahua should be kept busy learning more stuff, as well as people skills (both one-on-one and groups).

Basset Hound Puppy
Basset Hound Puppy | Source

Basset Hound

A Basset Hound is the ultimate beggar (just like the dog), not the best or the brightest, or even the prettiest, but probably the most well balanced, and requires the least hand-holding. They are constant and dependable, and forms a loyal and long-term relationship through rapport. They are persistent, but not tenacious like a pit bull. They go for sympathy instead, usually whining about something.

Managers... Treat them well, and they will produce. They rely on integrity, consistency, and trustworthiness. They need to learn how to listen to their clients and use neural-linguistics (matching body language and verbal language) to build rapport. 

Individualized Advice

Yes, those are stereotypes, but they are fun, and there are quite a bit of truth in there. The trick here is... different types of prey... I mean prospects, need different type of pooch. Why? They have different strengths for different types of clients and prospects, and requires a bit of tempering (training) to be better

Pit bulls -- best for cold calls, shake the tree and see what falls out, but needs to learn patience and actually listen to the clients to fulfill their needs. May need handoff to golden retrievers or basset hounds.

Golden Retrievers -- best for customer service visits, make the relationship better, but needs to learn cold calls and tech stuff, as well as draw the line in don't bend back TOO much.

Poodles -- best for schmoozing the key prospects, but needs the technical stuff too, and appear less high and mighty. Pair them up with the Chihuahuas.

Chihuahuas -- best for product and market research, but also learn to give presentations about the technical aspects. Best if sent up against the other side's chihuahua (i.e. geek)

Basset Hounds -- best for client retention, but need cold calling tenacity and technical stuff.


No breed succeeds alone. Different breeds have different personalities. The Poodles and Pit Bulls are the ones that brings in clients, either through tenacity or through networks, but they need chihuahua's help in the technical details to clinch the sale for the more sophisticated buyers. They also need the retriever or basset's help in finding the customer's concerns and needs, and meeting them, to actually close the sale, and the retriever / basset's help to keep the client. That's why "sales teams" exist. By capitalizing on the strengths of each breed, the sales team can close more sales and keep more clients.

So which type of SalesDog are you? Your sales team? Who is good at what? And how do you capitalize on that? For *that* you need to read the book.


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