Chapter Two The Personal Selling Process SELLING AND SALES MANGEMENT
1. Prospectinginvolves identifying/finding qualified potential customers for a particular product or service • Two major activities are involved in prospecting: Identifying potential customers (sales leads), & Qualifying these potential customers to determine if they are valid prospects. • Successful salespeople develop a strategy for prospecting that involves an organized n active system for generating sales leads n qualifying potential buyers. • One approach that some successful salespeople use to develop n nurture sales contacts is NETWORKING
A prospectis a MAD buyer • theMoney to spend • the Authority to buy • the Desire to buy • The key steps involved in prospecting process are shown below: • A Sales Lead is any specific person or organization that might need a given good or service
Prospects come from various sources. Some of them are: • Present customers • Former customers • Cold calling – making unsolicited sales calls • Spotters • Directories & mailing lists • Prospecting services • Referrals • Personal contacts • Trade shows & exhibits • Trade seminars • Direct marketing
Qualifying prospects Once sales representatives have identified potential customers they must qualify them to determine if they are valid prospects. But, WHY? Unless this is done, time can be wasted in trying to sell to people who cannot, or will not, purchase the product. For example – A person with a $25000 annual income may want a new Ferrari, but the purchase is simply beyond this person’s means. – A secretary may want to purchase a new photocopier machine but be overruled by the manager who says the new machine is not in the budget. To avoid selling to people who cannot make a buying decisions, salespeople must learn to qualify their prospects. One way to do that is by asking a series of qualifying questions.
2. PREPARING : After a prospect has been identified and qualified, the sales representative prepares for the sales. This stage involves the two key activities of (a) Pre Approach (Fact finding ) Salescall preparation in which the sales person seeks out additional information after the prospecting process is completed. This additional information helps the salespeople choose the best strategy for the sales call. PRE-APPROACH CALL PLANNING
There are certain questions that a salesperson must answer about customers. Who is the customer? Buying is a complex process , especially in a large organization, n it may be difficult to identify the key decision makers. • who will make the actual decision to purchase the product? • who will influence the decision? • who actually will be responsible for using the good or service? • with whom must the salesperson maintain a continuing, favorable relationship? • Research on industrial organizational behavior has revealed that industrial salesperson must usually deal with several buying influences. Marketers usually refer to all those involved in decision making as buying center. • The first buying center member encountered by the salesperson is often a gatekeeper - someone who controls information or access to decision makers e.g. Secretaries, Admin. Assistant & Receptionist etc. Then there are economic buyer, user, technical personnel
What are the customer needs? A sale will be concluded successfully only if the salesperson can demonstrate that the product/service will satisfy the prospect’s needs, which the salesperson must identify prior to making a sales presentation. • The salesperson must find out the prospect’s dominant buying motive –major reason the prospect will purchase a product/service • What other information is required? Depending on the situation , thus may include personal information such as family background, hobbies, memberships in clubs & professional organizations & business information such as the credit rating, product line & industry reputationof the prospective firm. • Where does one find information? Vendor company’s internal records is the best source to start with to dig for the needed info. prior to making a sales call. • Other sources of info. on business customers are annual reports, trade publications, advertisements & catalogs.
(b) Call planning involves a specific sequence of activities before the sale interview take place. The sales representative must define the objective of the call, devise a selling strategy to achieve this objective & make the appointment. • Specifying the objective: Prior to calling on a prospect, a salesperson must establish an objective. Objectives must be SMART. Some objectives are long term n some are immediate. • Developing a strategy: a salesperson must develop a course of action to achieve objective. Step by step guideline to achieve immediate objectives, have contingency plans ready. • Making an appointment: sales calls are expensive, so they should be arranged in advance.
3. Approach (opening) : The step during which the salesperson obtains the prospect’s interest and attention. It’s the first portion of the sales presentation and is very critical part of the sales call. Here salesperson introduces self, outlines the purpose of the visit, tries to establish rapport with the prospect, obtain the prospect’s attention & attempt to build interest in the presentation. Another key to making a favorable impression is adequate preparation/ homework. Note: First impression is the last impression.
Beginning the presentation:there are number of ways a presentation can be started and there is no hard and fast rule for it. Some of the techniques usually used are: • Ask questions • Use a referral • Offer a benefit • Offer a service • Compliment the prospect
Probing for needs:the most basic step in the process is finding the needs. There are some unfulfilled needs that is the reason a salesperson is out there so it becomes utmost important to identify underlying needs/wants. Ask appropriate questions and be a very good and patient listener. One must ask questions in order : • To learn about the prospect’s needs • To maintain control • To involve the prospect • To build relationship • To establish trust
Convincing the prospect: after the needs and wants of the prospect are identified the salesperson moves on to convince the prospect that the product/ service will satisfy the needs. • This portion of the sales process should be clear, concise and well prepared. • Persuasion is the key. A salesperson should use communication skills to convince the prospect. The salesperson must outline the item’s major features, cite its benefits n conclude by reporting successful use of the product by others. • A salesperson should be a skilled negotiator n work out a settlement that gives each party enough to make both willing to agree to its terms.
Presentation techniques: some of the presentation techniques that can be used by seasoned salespersons are as below: • Visual aid • Testimonials (reports from satisfied customers) • Examples • Guarantees • Demonstration
4. Handling objections: all salespeople encounter sales resistance – actions or statements by a prospect that postpone, hinder or prevent the completion of a sale. Sales resistance usually takes the form of an objection – an outward expression of a prospect’s doubts or negative feelings. Objections are reasonable n therefore expected. People tend to avoid purchase decisions. Many prospects are unable to deal with the uncertainty involved in a buying decision.
Objections represent opportunities and hence should be handled with care. Types of objections: Although salespersons encounter many types of objections, many are related to four concerns – timing, price, source and competition. Responding to objections: Be a good listener
5. Closing (requesting the order): After a salesperson has established rapport with a prospect, demonstrated the product’s features n benefits, n handled any objections, he or she is ready to ask for the order.
6. Follow up: Assuming that the selling process has been completed when the sale has been made, is a critical mistake. The word represents after sale service component of an organization’s selling effort. It reduces buyer’s dissonance.
Important Questions • What are the steps in personal selling process? Explain any two steps. • What is prospecting? What are the two activities involved in prospecting explain briefly. • Define ‘Objection’ and the various methods used in handling the objections?