Are you familiar with the drama triangle?  It’s a social model of human interaction developed by Stephen Karpman in 1968.

And it has a lot of applicability in sales situations.  Why?  Because all selling is based on a relationship between the buyer and the seller.

My name is Rashid Kotwal

Having coached and trained hundreds of salespeople over 40 years I’ve observed the 3 roles on the triangle play out countless times.

The roles are the persecutor and the rescuer and the victim.

And this is how they display themselves.

The buyer often takes the stance of the persecutor.  They try and control the sale.  Browbeat the salesperson.  Beat them down on price.  Ask for more and more without giving anything in return.

The salesperson who plays the role of the victim just gives in.  The can’t stand up to the buyer as an equal.

The deal will be great from the buyer’s point of view, but lousy for the sales person’s organisation point of view.

Then there are the rescuers.

The rescuer’s classic line is let me help you.  So when dealing with clients they’ll take the client’s side, go all out and give away the farm.  Nothing is too much trouble.  They lose all sense of commercial reality.

And finally the salesperson acting like a persecutor will either act as a bully when dealing with prospects, trying to push his or her agenda, or blame everyone else if the deal falls through.

Now things can get really interesting when roles switch.

The rescuer when questioned as to why they’ve given everything away can assume the role of the victim trying to justify to the perceived persecutor – their boss as to their behaviour and then blame the client.

The client can turn into a victim when pushed hard and then take it out on the salesperson.

The whole point of all of this is to recognise if you have a default stance and not play the game.

You have to step out and above the triangle so that all your interactions to come from a place of integrity.  Have deep compassion and empathy for your prospects and clients and be commercially smart.

Wrapping up, if you have any hint of this occurring in your organisation, give me a call at and we’ll help you deal with the situation.

Till next time, this is Rashid Kotwal.

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