Personal Selling: Chapter 8
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  • 1. Planning the Sales Calls Chapter 8
  • 2. Important Questions Answered► Why should salespeople plan their sales calls?► What pre-call information is needed about the individual prospect and the prospect’s organisation?► How can this information be obtained?► What is involved in setting call objectives?► Should more than one objective be set for each call?► How can appointments be made effectively? 2
  • 3. Why Plan The Sales Call?1. Advance planning of the sales interview is essential to achievement in selling.2. Salespeople can save their as well as buyer’s time, through planning.3. This gives time to make more calls.4. In this way they can convince people to buy even if they are not really interested.5. Not to forget that this is not the end….. 3
  • 4. What Is Success Purpose Plan Success 4
  • 5. Reasons for planning the sales call► Develops atmosphere of goodwill► Reflects professionalism► Generally increases sales► Builds confidence► Qualify prospects► Budgets your time► Enhances your image 5
  • 6. Sales Call Planning ImportanceSales call planning increases in importance when► The customers decision is a complex, high- involvement, high risk one► Future interactions and negotiations with the customer are expected► The customers needs are unique► A range of alternatives is available to the customer► The sale is very critical to the salesperson 6
  • 7. Obtaining Pre-call Information► Important to get enough information about the prospect to be able to save time and achieve more.► Not to forget that the cost of collecting information should be less than the benefits obtained. 7
  • 8. A Flow Diagram Of The Planning ProcessGathering information Selling objectives Making anabout the prospect for the call appointmentand firm 8
  • 9. The Prospect As An IndividualPersonal.► Name (including pronunciation)► Family status► Education► Aspirations► Interests (e.g., hobbies)► and disinterestsAttitudes.► Toward salespeople► Toward your company► Toward your product (Contd.) 9
  • 10. The Prospect As An Individual (Contd.)Relationships► Formal reporting relationships► Important reference groups and group normsStyles► Social style (driver, etc.)► Decision-making style2 (entrepreneurial, planning, bureaucraticEvaluation of Products/Services► Product attributes that are important► Product evaluation process 10
  • 11. Information Used in a Profile and for Planning 11
  • 12. Customer Profile Provides Insight► Review information to create customized presentation► See what customer has done in the past to determine future needs► If you do not have customer profiles, get one for each customer 12
  • 13. The Prospect’s/Customer’s OrganisationSimilarly following information about thecompany of the prospect is vital too:► Demographics► Prospect’s Customers► Prospect’s Competitors► Historical Buying Patterns► Current Buying Situation► People Involved in the Purchase Decision► Policies and Procedures 13
  • 14. Demographics► Type of organization (manufacturing, wholesaling, retailing)► Size, number of locations► Products/services offered► Financial position and its future► Culture of the organization 14
  • 15. Prospects Customers► Types► Benefits they seek from the prospects products/services 15
  • 16. Prospects Competitors► Who they are► How they differ in their business approaches► Prospects strategic position in the industry (dominant, strong, weak, tenable) 16
  • 17. Historical Buying Patterns► Amount purchased in the product category► Sole supplier or multiple suppliers. Why?► Reason for buying from present suppliers.► Level of satisfaction with suppliers► Reasons for any dissatisfactions with suppliers or products currently purchased. 17
  • 18. Current Buying Situation► Type of buying process (new task, straight re-buy, or modified re-buy )► Strengths and weaknesses of potential competitors. 18
  • 19. People Involved in the Purchase Decision► How they fit into the formal and informal organizational structure► Their roles in this decision (gatekeeper, influencer, etc.)► Who is most influential► Any influential adversaries (carry great influence but are opposed to us)?► Current problems the organization faces► Stage in the buying cycle. 19
  • 20. Policies and Procedures► About salespeople► About sales visits► About purchasing and contracts. 20
  • 21. Preparation & Pre approachQuestions about •What business is the prospects company in? the •What are its products and markets? prospects •Who are its primary customers? company •How big is this prospects company? •Where does it rank in its industry? •Who is the actual decision maker?Questions about •Who handles the purchase process? the •Who else influences the purchase process? prospects •What are the backgrounds and personal interests of each person in the buying companys process buying center •Is the companys staff well informed? •Can we help this companys staff develop more expertise? •Does any in my company know anyone in this company? •How often does this company buy my type of product or service? •Who is this companys competitor? •Does my company do business with that competitor? Other •What plans does the company have that could affect future need for my product? Questions •How well is this company satisfied with its present supplier? •Does this companys potential volume of business suggest a personal call, a telephone call or a letter? •Do we (or can we) use their product or service? If I dont •Can I get a referral to another department? make the sale •Can I get a second appointment?21 •Will they seriously evaluate my proposal?
  • 22. Sources of Information1. AGAIN - not to forget that TIME IS MONEY and that the time spent on gathering information and preparing for the meetings should be less than the benefits.2. Not to fall into the trap of ANALYSIS PARALYSISVarious sources could be used to gather therequired information 22
  • 23. Sources of Information► Sources within your Company► The Internet► Secretaries and Receptionists► Non-competing Salespeople► Traditional Secondary Sources► The Prospect► Other Sources 23
  • 24. Sources within your CompanyOne of the best sources of information can be therecords in your own company, especially if your firmhas developed a sophisticated database. The mostuseful databases include, in addition to standarddemo­graphic information, information on any directinquiries made by the prospect (from direct-mailinquiries, through the telemarketing division of yourfirm, etc.), a sales history on the firm, whetheranyone from your company has called on theprospect, and the results of any sales meetings. 24
  • 25. The InternetThe Internet contains a vast amount of informa­tion. "Fifteen years ago, when consultative sellingbecame the buzzword for successful sales, it took agreat deal of time researching and discovering theneeds. Now, a salesperson can learn as much asthere is to know about prospects and customers inpractically no time at all. 25
  • 26. Secretaries and ReceptionistsSecretaries and receptionists in the prospects firm usually are a rich source of information. Be courteous, however, because secretaries and receptionists are accustomed to having salespeople pry for all sorts of free information. Prioritize your ques­tions and provide justification for asking them. Above all, treat secretaries and receptionists with genuine respect. 26
  • 27. Non-competing SalespeopleAnother source for pre-call information is non-competing salespeople. In fact, one of the bestsources of information is the prospects ownsalespeople. Because They are easy to reach andthey understand your situation. 27
  • 28. Traditional Secondary SourcesTraditional secondary data sources can also be helpful. Firms such as Standard & Poors, Hoovers, Wards, and Moodys publish a number of manuals and directories that are available in many public libraries. These sources can help answer questions about brand names, key contacts, historical information, the current situation and outlook for the firm and the industry, location of plants and distribution centers, market shares, and so on. 28
  • 29. The ProspectMuch information can be received directly from the prospect. However, dont expect prospects to sit down and answer any and all questions you might have, especially for topics where the information is fairly easy to get (e.g., what products the prospect makes or sells). It is also worth mentioning that, just as you are gathering information about the prospect prior to a meeting, the prospect can and often does collect information about you. Even before the sale your prospect can request price quotes. 29
  • 30. Other SourcesMany other sources can provide information. Someinformation may have been gleaned at a tradeshow the prospect attended. Much information willbe in the lists and directories from which theprospects name came. A center of influence willoften be able to provide some information. 30
  • 31. Sources of Pre-approach Information 1. Direct questions: prospect Six 2. Other company salespeople Proven 3. Current customers Sources 4. Local newspaper 5. Personal visit / cold call • Mergers • Personnel changes Some things • Changing product lines to look for • Advertising plans • TV and magazine ads • Sales training 31
  • 32. Setting Call Objectives► The sales call objective is the main purpose of contact with a prospect or customer► The pre-call objective – have one or more!► Focus and flexibility  Focus your efforts on the objective when you are with the customer  Be prepared to switch to another objective if needed► Make the goal specific► Move customer conversation toward the objective► Set a SMART call objective 32
  • 33. SMART Call Objective► Specific► Measurable► Achievable► Realistic► Timed 33
  • 34. Criteria for Effective Objectives► Objectives should be Specific, Realistic and Measurable.  Specific – to be effective  Realistic – to be achievable  Measurable – to be able to objectively evaluate each sales call and evaluate if the objectives were met? 34
  • 35. Setting More Than One ObjectiveOften multiple call objectives are set so that they have aprimary objective, but if the meeting does not go well thenat least the minimum call objectives are met and in case ofideal situation what will be the optimistic call objectives.Better to have more than one Primary Objective. 35
  • 36. Setting Objectives for Several CallsSetting objectives for a number of future calls is a part of good planning and strategising the whole activity.Interval between two sale calls depends upon the strategy but it should not be too long. 36
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  • 38. Making an AppointmentAfter gathering pre-call information and setting objectives, the salespersons next step is generally to make an appointment. working by appointment saves valuable selling time. Appointments dignify the salesperson. They help get the sales process off to a good start by putting the salesperson and the prospect on the same level-equal participants in a legitimate sales interview. Appointments also increase the chances of seeing the right person arid having uninterrupted time with the prospect. 38
  • 39. How to make appointmentsExperienced sales representatives use differentcontact methods for different cus­tomers. They havefound through trial and error that a certain method ofmaking an appointment works well with a regularcustomer but may be entirely ineffec­tive with a newprospect. They have also found that knowledge ofmany different methods and techniques for makingappointments is extremely helpful in obtaining salesinterviews. 39
  • 40. Making An Appointment► The right person► The right time► The right place 40
  • 41. Cultivating relationships withsubordinates Busy executives usually have one or more subordinates who plan and schedule interviews for them. These gatekeepers often make seeing the boss rather difficult. Salespeople should go out of their way to treat all subordinates with respect and courtesy. First, it is the right thing to do. Second, subordinates can be the true key to the salespersons success or failure with an organization. They may not be able to buy the salespersons product, but they can often kill his or her chances for a sale. 41
  • 42. Telephoning for Appointments► Telephone is most often used to make initial appointment.► Through practice it could easily be used correctly and effectively.► Over the phone too, the salesperson needs to be an active listener as well as should be able to encourage a two-way communication.► Salespeople should avoid giving presentation over the phone. 42
  • 43. 43
  • 44. 44
  • 45. Telemarketing► Use of sophisticated telecommunications and information systems► Combined with personal selling and servicing skills► Helps companies keep in close contact with present and potential customers► Increases sales► Enhances business productivity 45
  • 46. Use "powers of visualization."► Relax and close your eyes.► See yourself and the prospect.► Think about what you will say and anticipate the prospects responses.► Create a mental hologram and live it over and over in your mind.► Practice out loud -  your mind believes the sound of your own voice.► If you do not like the result, redesign the scenario and play it over again until it is comfortable and produces the desired outcome.► Your mind cannot separate a real experience from an imaged one.► You gain the same benefit from this type of practice as from an actual sales interview.46
  • 47. Ask► Why am I calling? Yourself► What is my proposal?► What would make this person want to grant my request?► What is the best action plan that I can offer? Remember That The Appointment is a Mini Sale Sell the appointment not the product 47
  • 48. Key Strategy points to consider► Schedule a specific time for calls► Always follow up a successful call with another call► Arrange to avoid interruptions► Develop a written script► Verify that you have actually contacted the prospect► Just tell as much as needed to get an appointment► Keep control but dont be pushy► Excitement and enthusiasm► Dont argue!► Use the fatal alternative► Sell your name. Ask the prospect to write it down.► Be courteous. - Please & Thank You► Watch language and speech patterns 48
  • 49. The Six-Step Telephone Track Introduce Yourself •A judgement will be made within 15 Step I and Your Company words •Keep it warm and friendly Take the Curse •A call is an interruption Step II •Get permission to continue Off the Call •Soften the impact with "just a minute," etc. State the Purpose Step III •A brief hard hitting lead in of the Call •Mention referrals if you have them An Step IV •Usually a customer benefit Interest-Capturing Statement •You can also use a provocative question •Dont give too much information over the Step V Request an Appointment phone •Give a choice of times (fatal alternative) Overcome •Agree with the objection Step VI •Switch back to your idea of reason for Resistance 49 the appointment •Ask for the appointment again
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  • 51. Additional Planning► Successful salespeople think ahead and plan accordingly.► Seeding the meeting i.e. sending important things prior to meeting does make the meetings more conducive.► The prospect should be made to think that the salesperson is trying to help while understanding the prospect’s business. 51
  • 52. Setting Up the Sales Interview Timing •Will the prospect be too busy? •What is the "best" time to see the prospect? Gaining Entry •Letter - the weakest Making the •Cold call - good but time consumingFirst appointment •Telephone - high rejection rate •Telephone - mail - follow up call Some Techniques •Ask former or retired employees to give you names and the lay of the land •Ask the building administrator for names.Get the Prospects •Ask for a sales rep in the prospects company then Name •Solicit the salespersons help to get to the right person. •"Im sorry, I got the wrong extension. I was trying to reach the person whos in charge of.." •Show them sincere respect. Gatekeepers •Friendly not fake. •Be honest about your intentions •Get personal information about the gatekeeper •Sell to the gatekeeper •Question gatekeepers. •They often know what the company needs •Be thoughtful - small gifts and cards can go a long way •Keep your sense of humor •Be patient and persistent •Press "0" on your phone. Usually gets a person •Leave a message: "I will be in your neighborhood at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 10, and Voicemail would like to meet with you for 10 minutes to explain XYZ and how it can help you. Please let me know if this is inconvenient, otherwise Ill look forward to seeing you this 52 Wednesday."
  • 53. Gain a Personalized Sales Interview with the information gathered above. Predict Likely • Your past experience Objections • Your companys training • The pre approach information gatheredPrepare for the • Set sales call objectives Presentation • Rehearse • Practice demonstrations Visualize • Mental toughening - visualize the meeting Successful over and over with a successful outcome. Selling • Practice out loud. Role play.Learn How to Best Approach the • Style analysis Prospect 53
  • 54. End of Chapter 8
  • 55. Thank you