A five stage personal selling process

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personal selling by Kaushal.

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A five stage personal selling process

  1. 1. A Five Stage Personal Selling Process.Stage One - Prospecting.Prospecting is all about finding prospects, or potential new customers. Prospects should be qualified, which meansthat they need to be assessed to see if there is business potential, otherwise you could be wasting your time. In orderto qualify your prospects, one needs to:Plan a sales approach focused upon the needs of the customer.Determine which products or services best meet their needs.In order to save time, rank the prospects and leave out those that are least likely to buy.Stage Two - Making First Contact.This is the preparation that a salesperson goes through before they meet with the client, for example via e-mail,telephone or letter. Preparation will make a call more focused.Make sure that you are on time.Before meeting with the client, set some objectives for the sales call. What is the purpose of the call? What outcomeis desirable before you leave?Make sure that youve done some homework before meeting your prospect. This will show that you are committed inthe eyes of your customer.To save time, send some information before you visit. This will wet the prospects appetite.Keep a set of samples at hand, and make sure that they are in very good condition.Within the first minute or two, state the purpose of your call so that time with the client is maximised, and also todemonstrate to the client that your are not wasting his or her time.Humour is fine, but try to be sincere and friendly.Stage Three - The Sales Call (or Sales Presentation).It is best to be enthusiastic about your product or service. If you are not excited about it, dont expect your prospect tobe excited.Focus on the real benefits of the product or service to the specific needs of your client, rather than listing endless listsof features.Try to be relaxed during the call, and put your client at ease.Let the client do at least 80% of the talking. This will give you invaluable information on your clients needs.Remember to ask plenty of questions. Use open questions, e.g. TEDs, and closed questions i.e. questions that willonly give the answer yes or the answer no. This way you can dictate the direction of the conversation.Never be too afraid to ask for the business straight off.Stage Four - Objection Handling.
  2. 2. Objection handling is the way in which salespeople tackle obstacles put in their way by clients. Some objections mayprove too difficult to handle, and sometimes the client may just take a dislike to you (aka the hidden objection). Hereare some approaches for overcoming objections:Firstly, try to anticipate them before they arise.Yes but technique allows you to accept the objection and then to divert it. For example, a client may say that they donot like a particular colour, to which the salesperson counters Yes but X is also available in many other colours.Ask why the client feels the way that they do.Restate the objection, and put it back into the clients lap. For example, the client may say, I dont like the taste of X,to which the salesperson responds, You dont like the taste of X, generating the response since I do not like garlicfrom the client. The salesperson could suggest that X is no longer made with garlic to meet the clients needs.The sales person could also tactfully and respectfully contradict the client.Stage Five - Closing the Sale.This is a very important stage. Often salespeople will leave without ever successfully closing a deal. Therefore it isvital to learn the skills of closing.Just ask for the business! - Please may I take an order? This really works well.Look for buying signals (i.e. body language or comments made by the client that they want to place an order). Forexample, asking about availability, asking for details such as discounts, or asking for you to go over something againto clarify.Just stop talking, and let the client say yes. Again, this really works.The summary close allows the salesperson to summarise everything that the client needs, based upon thediscussions during the call. For example, You need product X in blue, by Friday, packaged accordingly, anddelivered to your wifes office. Then ask for the order.The alternative close does not give the client the opportunity to say no, but forces them towards a yes. For exampleDo you want product X in blue or red? Cheeky, but effective. Personal selling is the process of communicating with a potential buyer (or buyers) face-to-face with the purpose of selling a product or service. The main thing that sets personal selling apart from other methods of selling is that the salesperson conducts business with the customer in person. Though personal selling is more likely to be effective with certain types of products or services, it has important applications for nearly all kinds of small businesses. In fact, most of historys successful entrepreneurs have been skilled salespeople, able to represent and promote their companies and products in the marketplace. Personal selling is one part of a companys promotion mix, along with advertising, sales promotion, and public relations. Advertising is any form of paid sales
  3. 3. presentation that is not done face-to-face. Television and radio commercials,newspaper and magazine advertisements, and direct mail inserts are well-knownforms of advertising. Sales promotion is the use of incentives—such as coupons,discounts, rebates, contests, or special displays—to entice a customer to buy aproduct or service. Public relations is the act of building up a companys image inthe eyes of the community in the hopes of translating the feelings of goodwill intosales. An example of public relations might include a company sponsoring a charityevent.Personal selling offers entrepreneurs both advantages and disadvantages incomparison with the other elements of the promotion mix. On the positive side,personal selling allows the salesperson to target the message specifically to theaudience and receive immediate feedback. In this way, it is more precise than otherforms of promotion and often has a greater persuasive impact. Conversely, personalselling cannot reach as many potential customers as advertising, plus the cost ofeach contact is much higher. Another advantage is that personal selling can be animportant source of marketing information. Salespeople may learn aboutcompetitors products, for example, or about emerging customer needs that maylead to the development of a new product. If the sales force is well trained—acting asproblem solvers and advisors for customers rather than using hard-sell tactics—personal selling may help a small business build loyal, long-term relationships withcustomers.A small business may choose to use any or all of the promotion mix elements inselling its products. Deciding how to allocate resources for each component involvesa number of factors. Some of the things entrepreneurs should consider whendeciding on the ideal promotion mix include the type of product or service, thevalue of the product or service, and the budget allotted for marketing.Read more: Personal Selling - advantage, type, benefits, disadvantages,cost http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/small/Op-Qu/Personal-Selling.html#ixzz1YBiDTURWThe AIDAS theory of selling is one of the widest known theories and is the basis fortraining materials across numerous organizations. AIDAS stands for Attention,
  4. 4. Interest, Desire, Action, Satisfaction. The AIDAS theory simply states that a prospectgoes through five different stages before finally responding satisfactorily to our product.thus he should be led comfortably through all five stages.Attention - Gaining attention is a skill and and just like any skill, gaining attention canbe improved upon with practice. A common phrase applicable over here is “Firstimpression is last impression”. The initial attempt of the sales person must be to put thecustomer completely at ease. Casual conversation is one of the best openers after whichthe sales person can gain customer attention by leading him onto the sale. to knowmore about gaining attention read my post on how to gain customer attention.Interest - Once you have gained attention, it is very important to maintain interest.Some sales people are very good in the opening but as the technicalities take over, theybecome uncomfortable while explaining the product. Whereas others who are strong inthe product department might open bluntly but create interest in the second stage.Maintaining interest is a crucial part of the sales process and hence is included in theAIDAS theory. Read more on how to maintain customer interest.Desire - Have you seen the commercials wherein you just have to get out of your houseand get the product? Perhaps a car, an ice cream or a house. The same has to be doneby the sales person in personal selling. He has to create enough desire in the customersmind such that he immediately has to buy the product. Imagine an aquaguard salesman or a tupperware sales person. They highlight the product in such a manner thatyou might be thinking “Why didnt i buy this product before”. Thus kindling that desirebecomes an integral part of the AIDAS selling theory. Read more on how to createdesire for the productAction - Although there may be desire for the product, the customer might not act onit. He might want to buy the product but he might NOT buy it. In such cases thecustomer needs to be induced. There are various ways to induce the customer such thathe buys the product. It is important for the sales person to understand whether todirectly induce the customer or whether to push subtle reminders that you are there fora sales call . Both methods work, but you need to know your customer.Satisfaction - What would you do after the customer has given the order? Will youstand up, Point at him and shout “Fooled ya”. I dont think so. The customer has justparted with his money. Just like you part your money and expect good service, heexpects the same too. So even after he has bought the product, you need to reassure thecustomer that he has made the right decision. The product is good for the customer andyou only presented the product. It was his decision and he is right about it. These smallcues post the sales process really give confidence to the customer and he then looks
  5. 5. forward to your product rather than thinking whether or not he has made the right decision. Learn more aboutmeasuring customer satisfaction. Hope you liked the AIDAS theory. Get more satisfied by subscribing to our newsletter or our feeds and following us daily with new articles on marketing and sales. Trust me. I wont stand up and shout “Fooled ya”Personal selling is used to meet the five objectives of promotion in the following ways: Building Product Awareness – A common task of salespeople, especially when selling in business markets, is to educate customers on new product offerings. In fact, salespeople serve a major role at industry trades shows (see the Sales Promotion tutorial) where they discuss products with show attendees. But building awareness using personal selling is also important in consumer markets. As we will discuss, the advent of controlled word-of-mouth marketing is leading to personal selling becoming a useful mechanism for introducing consumers to new products. Creating Interest – The fact that personal selling involves person-to-person communication makes it a natural method for getting customers to experience a product for the first time. In fact, creating interest goes hand-in-hand with building product awareness as sales professionals can often accomplish both objectives during the first encounter with a potential customer. Providing Information – When salespeople engage customers a large part of the conversation focuses on product information. Marketing organizations provide their sales staff with large amounts of sales support including brochures, research reports, computer programs and many other forms of informational material. Stimulating Demand – By far, the most important objective of personal selling is to convince customers to make a purchase. In The Selling Process tutorial we will see how salespeople accomplish this when we offer detailed coverage of the selling process used to gain customer orders. Reinforcing the Brand – Most personal selling is intended to build long-term relationships with customers. A strong relationship can only be built over time and requires regular communication with a customer. Meeting with customers on a regular basis allows salespeople to repeatedly discuss their company’s products and by doing so helps strengthen customers’ knowledge of what the company has to offer.

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