Sales professionalism 2

After our introduction in the first article about introduction of personal selling we want to know about sales, marketing and what is the relationship between personal selling, sales and marketing.

Marketing has many definitions but the most popular one is: Human activity directed as satisfying needs and wants through exchange processes.  (Kotler, 1980)

For exchange to occur there must be:

  1. Two parties (Sellers& buyers)
  2. Each with something of value to the other
  3. Capable of communication and delivery
  4. Free to accept/reject the offer
  5. Agreement to terms.

New Picture

What is selling?

Selling is the personal or impersonal process of assisting and/or persuading a prospective customer to buy a commodity or a service or to act favorably upon an idea that has commercial significance to the seller “

                                                                    (The American Marketing Association)

What is personal selling?

Personal selling is a person-to-person business activity in which a salesperson uncovers and satisfies the needs of a buyer. The objective is to build a relationship that provides long-term benefits to both parties. (Win – Win situation)

Today there is a new view of communications as an interactive dialogue between the company and its customers. Marketers view communications as the management of the Customer Relationship over Time. So we can see promotion as communication between the company and its customers called it marketing communication.

There are many types of marketing communication like personal selling, Advertising, Public relation, sales promotion and publicity.

 New Picture2

From the definition of personal selling we see:

First: One person is seller or sales person and the other person is the buyer or customer, so we will discuss all aspects about sales person, customer & buying process. We also discuss how interaction between buyer and seller take place through sales call.

Second: We will also discuss the needs, buying motives and how sales person can discover customer ‘needs.

Third: We will discuss how the seller can communicate & negotiate with buyer during the sales call.

Fourth: Finally we can discuss how seller and buyer make a long-term relation, types of relation and phases of relation formation

Let’s first talk about sales myths, what do people think about sales people and selling process:

ü “Sales people are born and not made.”

ü “Sales people must be good talkers.”

ü “Selling is a matter of knowing the right techniques or tricks.”

ü “A good salesperson can sell ice to an Eskimo.”

ü “People generally do not want to buy.”

These myth or bad impression about sales person job will be covered during discussion. But let’s take about the role of sales person, importance of this role and differences between sales person and other promotional tools:

Personal selling responsibility

Of course, not all firms treat each of these responsibilities the same, nor are their salespeople limited to only these tasks. Personal selling has evolved to include responsibilities beyond these. Job requirements may include:

 (1) Locating prospective customers.

 (2) Determining customers’ needs and wants that are not being satisfied

 (3) Recommending away to satisfy these needs and wants.

 (4) Demonstrating the capabilities of the firm and its products for providing this satisfaction.

(5) Closing the sale and taking the order

(6) Following up and servicing the account.

Let us discuss these job classifications and some of the responsibilities assigned to each:

1. Locating prospective customers.  The process of locating new customers (often referred to as prospecting) involves the search for and qualification of prospective customers.  Salespeople must follow up on leads (those who may become customers) and prospects (those who need the product or service). They  must  also  determine  whether these prospects   are  qualified  prospects  that is able  to make  the  buying  decision and  pay for the product.

 2. Determining customers’ needs and wants. At  this stage, the  salesperson   gathers  more  information  on  the  prospect  and decides the best  way  to  approach  him or her. The rep must determine what the   customer needs or wants and make certain the person   being   approached is capable of making the purchase decision.   In some instances   the  salesperson   may  have  to  assist  the  customer  in determining what he  or she  needs.

3. Recommending a way to satisfy the customers’ needs and wants. Here   the sales person   recommends a possible solution to the problem and needs of the potential customer.  This may entail providing information the prospect had not considered or identifying alternative solutions that might work.  As noted earlier, the salesperson acts as a systems provider.

4. Demonstrating the capabilities of the firm and its products. At this stage, the salesperson demonstrates the capabilities of the firm and shows the prospect why that firm is the obvious choice. As you might expect, corporate  image  (created  through  advertising  and  other  promotional  tools) is  important  to the  salesperson.

5. Closing the sale. The key ingredient in any sales presentation is the close getting the prospect’s commitment.  For many salespeople, this is the most difficult task. Many reps are adept at prospecting, identifying customer needs, and making presentations, but they are reluctant to ask for the sale.

6.  Following up and   servicing the account. The  responsibilities  of  the  sales  force  do  not  end  once  the sale  has  been  made.  It is much easier to keep existing customers than to attract new ones. Maintaining customer  loyalty,  generating repeat sales, and getting the opportunity to cross  sell  that  is,  sell  additional  products and services to the same customer  are  some  of  the  advantages of keeping customers satisfied through follow up activities. In relationship marketing versus selling orientation, follow up is necessary and expected.

Advantages & disadvantages of personal selling as sales career

       I.            Advantages

  • Challenge
  • Responsibility about sales territory and target achievement.
  • Flexibility in work activities, no time limitation.
  • Rewards from making a tough sale.(Monthly , quarterly , annually incentives )
  • Learning the business from the bottom up. All businessmen nowadays were sales persons.
  • Opportunity for senior management positions.

     II.            Disadvantages

  • Limited supervision you will learn yourself you may be lucky if you see your supervisor once weekly
  • Potential conflict between customer and company demands
  • Depression from lost sales
  • Discomfort from asking customers to buy
  • Negative stereotype, you meet different personality types with from cultures.

Advantage& disadvantage of personal selling as marketing communication tools 

Advantages:

  • Two-way interaction with prospect (most immediate feedback possible in mkt. communications)
  • Message can be tailored (can be a problem; depends on the salesperson’s sense of ethics and integrity)
  • Prospect isn’t likely to be distracted
  • Seller involved in purchase decision
  • Source of research information (find out what other products they are considering or using, i.e. competitive information)

 

Disadvantages:

 

  • Messages may be inconsistent because we are talking about human relaying the message.
  • Possible management-sales force conflict.
  • Cost is often extremely high.
  • The reach may be very limited due to time limitations for personal calls and visits and the high costs involved.
  • Potential ethical problems