Selling in general can best be described as the use of persuasive communication
to negotiate mutually beneficial agreements. In order to create a
better comprehension towards salespersons, who are often thought of as
door-to-door salespeople, with their foot in the door, talking smooth about
encyclopedias or cosmetics, the characteristics of personal selling will
be described. Personal selling consists of Retail selling and Field Selling.
Retail selling is when potential customers come to the business establishment
were the sale takes place. Once the customers in on the right location
the salesperson tries to match the customer needs with the retailer's
merchandise. Field selling is when the salesperson is locating the prospect
and tries to convert them into customers. The sales person first approaches
the prospect to get an appointment and then tries to sell its products
or services by performing a sales presentation or by door-to-door selling.
Personal selling is:
Personal selling is the “personal” communication of information to persuade
the prospective customer to buy a product- a good or service. In
contrast to most of most of the other promotional tools, personal selling
has the advantage of being flexible in operation. In other words,
the salesperson is capable of tailoring the information to fit the needs
and behavior of the individual customer.
Although the costs are relatively high, the impact of personal selling will eventually pay off. Fine salespeople build and maintain relationships that stimulate economic activity and produce revenue for the company and keep the economy running.
Small businesses are dealing with a high level of competition. To increase
the sales, small businesses have to stand out in their product or service
to gain competitive advantage. An important advantage is to be able to
personalize the selling in order to meet the customers needs. Depending
on the size of small business, it will not be beneficial to employ a salesperson.
Since sales is a marketing tool, sales in small businesses is mostly handled
by the marketing manager or by a consultant. A consultant can temporarily
be hired and provide opinions and judgments on how to arrange the sales.
Considering the costs this is a good alternative. Most of the costs are
consist of wages for salespersons, for personal selling is very time intensive.
In order to distinguish your small business from its competition and to increase the revenue it is important to approach customers personally. A personal approach allows the seller to anticipate customer needs. Since small businesses often do not have a professional sales person, the strategies recommended by the consultant or the marketing manager have to be implemented by the complete staff. Selling is everybody's concern, especially in retail selling. In small businesses the staff consists of a relatively small amount of employees. This makes it easier to train everybody in the company and to emphasize the importance of sales.
In contrast to selling, marketing is a long run planning process, with the emphasis on the customer wants. According to these wants a product or service will be created. Selling is a tool in the marketing process. Since the product is already determined, the salesperson is bending demand to fit the company's supply, by the use of numerous selling methods. Several possible selling methods will be discussed.
This approach is meant to create long-term, mutually beneficial sales relationships. Consultative selling is a problem solving technique through which the salesperson helps the customer to improve their profit by selling the right products and services. In the mean time the salesperson gains profit from selling its products and creates an advantage over competitors, by using this approach. This method requires long-term planning instead of quick sale, but creates a good customer relationship.
The process of consultative selling is concerned with solving customer's problems. In order to do so four steps have to be followed:
High octane selling is a systematic process, stressing optimum performance,
by being extraordinary in order to impress and challenge the prospective
customer to buy your product or service.
This involves selling in a creative manner. Creativity is essentially a process and behavior that produces new and useful ideas. The purpose of this method is to impress the prospects and make them remember the sales message by using an original approach of presenting the product.
Creativity is a process, not just a behavior. Each creative idea should
go through a six step process:
1. Preparation: absorption of information to make up an idea.
2. Incubation: this contains the period in which you store the idea in your subconscious's in order to ‘brew’ the idea.
3. Illumination: an unexpected moment when the answer to an approach pops out.
4. Evaluation: the judgment stage of the idea, and identifying all the pros and cons.
5. Transformation: Modifying and enhancing the idea to make it more acceptable.
6. Implementation: turning the idea into a product or method.
For small businesses it is recommended to train staff to be creative while selling. In retail selling prospects are very sensitive to new and convincing approaches. This is another opportunity to grab and gain a competitive advantage.
Different sources of literature may call this method collaborative or
guilt-free selling, but these methods have one collective objective:
Removing Pressure and Still Getting the Sale!
In contrast to the traditional salesperson, the non manipulative salesperson takes time up front to build a sincere, committed relationship and to learn in depth about the customer's needs. This approach demonstrates how to eliminate pressure and tension from the sale process and select the solutions that reward both the salesperson and the customer. In the long run this approach works more effectively than the high-pressured traditional selling. When a longer lasting sincere relationship is created a higher customer satisfaction can be generated, which will eventually result in an increase of revenues.
To reduce the tension during non manipulative selling it is important
to build a relation of trust. The most effective way to reach this is by
sequencing the following process:
1. Define the needs/problems: Establishing the trust bond. Identifying the current situation, client goals, objectives, needs and problems.
2. Find solution: Determine discussion making criteria, solicit and suggest potential solutions and finally agree upon the best solution. A possible solution might be to match customers needs to products.
3. Implement the solution: Outline the tasks and responsibilities and work out an implementation schedule. A schedule gives answers to questions like; How to meet the customers needs? How to adjust the product or service to the customer needs?
4. Track the results: Identify the criteria for successful results and monitor them.
This method of selling is going by the statement, "Selling is the art
of communication for persuasion".
Compelling selling is salesperson oriented and is focussed on ‘persuading’ the customer to buy. Clearly this relationship with the customer is neither based on trust nor focussed on customer satisfaction and contains a high level of pressure.
1. Composing a sales plan: This includes personal requirements for a
salesperson, product knowledge and sales techniques;
2. Identifying the customer: Prospecting the market for the product;
3. Preparation phase: Adjusting the selling techniques and styles to the identified customer features;
4. Approaching the customer: The actual contact through, e.g. interview, presentation, telephone contact, etc.
5. Apply techniques: Handle at the right moment;
6. Closing the sale: Close the sale at the appropriate time and in the appropriate way.
This method is on the long run not the most effective one and is not recommended for small businesses or any business types, looking at the fact that this will not create a long-term relationship. It is cheaper to maintain relationship than it is to create new ones. By avoiding this method costs of constantly having to attract new customers can be reduced.
Cross selling is the situation in which a salesperson gets a referral from a colleague within the company to increase the revenue of the relationship by selling parallel products or services in the company. Cross selling requires cooperation for everybody in order to enhance customers retention. The company's database can indicate which customers are the best cross selling candidates. Salespersons are expected to recognize cross selling opportunities when interacting with customers.
1. Nurture and manage a good customer relationship;
2. Define a written cross selling plan;
3. Sales as well as all other employees in the company must be engaged. Cross selling is everyone's job!
4. Measure the results;
5. Give positive feedback to fellow employees to stimulate them and involve them in future engagements.