A popular approach to understanding the levels of the selling process contains the six steps diagrammed in Exhibit 2. 8: (1) prospecting for customers, (2) starting the connectionship, (3) qualifying the prospect, (4) showing the sales concept, (5) closing the sales, and (6) servicing the bill.
Although the reselling process involves just a few distinct steps, the specific activities in-volved at each step-and the way those activities are carried out-can vary greatly de-pending on the sort of sales position, such as missionary versus trade salesperson, and on the firm's overall selling and customer romance strategy. Subsequently, a firm's sales program should incorporate account management guidelines to steer each salesperson and ensure that selling work are regular with the firm's marketing and romance strategy. We will verify the raÅ£ionale and content of profile management procedures in more detail in Chapter 4. The following discussion of the periods in the advertising process also mentions a few of the more prevalent account management guidelines used to direct sales representatives.
In many types of selling, prospecting for new customers is criticai. It can also be one of the most disheartening areas of selling, specifically for start salespeople. Prospecting efforts are often met with rejection, and immediate payoffs are usually little. Neverthe-less, the ability to uncover potenÅ£ial new customers often separates the successful from the unsuccessful salesperson.
In some consumer goods businesses, prospecting for clients simply involves cold canvassing-going from house to accommodate knocking on doorways. In most cases, though, the mark market is more narrowly identified, and the salesperson must identify prospects within that aim for segment. Salespeople use a number of information sources to recognize relevant potential customers, including trade connection and industry web directories, telephone sites, other salespeople, other customers, suppliers, nonsales employees of the company, and communal and professional connections.
Telemarketing can be used by many companies to find prospects. Outbound telemarketing involves getting in touch with potenÅ£ial customers at their home or office, either to produce a sale or to make
an visit for a field consultant. Inbound telemarketing, where potential cus-tomers call a toll-free quantity for more information, is also used to recognize and qualify prospects. When prospects call for more information in regards to a product or service, a representative tries to look for the extent appealing and whether the prospect meets the company's qualifications for clients. If so, information about the caller is offered to the correct salesperson or regional office.
The Internet is also proving a good technology for creating brings about potenÅ£ial clients. While an increasing number of businesses are soliciting purchases directly with a home page on the web, many-particularly those reselling relatively complicated goods or services-use their Web sites primarily to provide technical product information to customers or potenÅ£ial customers. These firms can have their salespeople follow up on technical inquiries from potenÅ£ial new accounts with a far more tradiÅ£ional sales call. 15
A firm's profile management procedures should treat how much emphasis salespeople should share with prospecting for clients versus prospecting and servicing existing acmatters. The appropriate insurance policy depends upon the selling and customer romantic relationship strategy selected, the nature of its product, and the firm's customers. If the firm's strategy is trans-actional, if the product is in the introductory stage of its life cycle, if it's an infrequently purchased durable good, or if the normal customer does not require much service following the sale, sales repetitions should spend substanÅ£ial time for you to prospecting for new customers. This is actually the case in sectors such as insurance and home construction. Such organizations may design their compensation systems to compensate their salespeople more seriously to make sales to clients than for servicing old ones, as we shall see in Section 11.
A company that wants tactical partnerships will assign a particular salesperson to each account up. Organizations with large market shares or those that sell frequently purchased nondurable products or products that want substanÅ£ial service following the sale to ensure customer sat-isfaction should take up an insurance plan that stimulates sales reps to devote the majority of their initiatives to servicing existing customers. Food manufacturers that sell products to retail supermarkets and firms that produce component parts and items for other manufacturers fall under this cate-gory. Some very large customers may necessitate a lot servicing a merchant is given to do only focus on that customer's needs. In such circumstances, firms have special-ized their sales positions so that some staff service only existing accounts, while others spend almost all their time prospecting for and starting relationships with new customers.
In the iniÅ£ial method of a prospective customer, the sales consultant should try to open the partnership by accomplishing a couple of things: (1) determine who within the organization is likely to have the greatest influence or power to iniÅ£iate the purchase process and who will ultimately purchase the product, and (2) make enough interest within the firm to ob-tain the information needed to meet the criteria the prospect as a worthwhile potenÅ£ial customer. An organizational buying middle often consists of people who play different tasks in making the purchase decision. Thus, it is important for the salesperson to identify the key deci-sion manufacturers, their needs, and their comparative influence.
Selling organizations can formulate policies to steer sales repetitions in getting close prospective customers. When the firm's product is inexpensive and regularly purchased, salespeople might be instructed to deal completely with the purchasing section. For more theoretically complicated and expensive products, the sales agent might be urged to identify and seek appointments with influencers and decision producers in various funcÅ£ional departments and at several managerial levels. When the purchase decision is likely to be very complex, including many people within the customer's organization, the seller might adopt an insurance plan of multilevel or team advertising.
Before salespeople try to set up an appointment for a significant sales demonstration or spend enough time trying to establish a relationship with a potential account, they must first qualify the prospect to determine if he or she qualifies as a worthwhile potenÅ£ial customer. In the event the account will not qualify, the merchant can spend the time better elsewhere.
Qualification is difficult for some salespeople. It needs them to place aside their etemal optimism and make a target, realistic view about the probability of making a prof-itable sales. As one authority highlights, the certification process involves locating the an-swers to three important questions:
Does the chance have a need for my product or service?
Can I make the people accountable for buying so aware of that need that I could make a sale?
Will the deal be profitable to my company?16
To answer such questions, the merchant must learn about the prospect's businesses, the types of products it makes, its customers, its challengers, and the likely future demand for its products. Information also must be obtained involving who the customer's present sup-pliers are and whether any special romantic relationships exist with those firms that could make it problematic for the prospect to change suppliers. Finally, the financial health and the credit rat-ing of the chance should be checked out.
Because so many different types of information are needed, nonselling departments within the company-such as the credit and selections department-often are involved in the certification process when large acquisitions are made. Frequently, however, credit departments do not get involved until following the prospect has agreed to buy and filled out a credit application. In these situations, company policies should be created to steer the salesperson's common sense concerning whether a specific potential customer qualifies as a customer. These policies might speli out bare minimum acceptable benchmarks for such things as the prospect's gross annual dollars value of purchases in the merchandise category or credit rating. Simi-larly, some firms specify a minimum order size to avoid dealing with really small customers and enhance the efficiency of these order-processing and shipment functions. Issues re-lated to prioritizing customers are mentioned in Section 3.
The sales display is the center of the selling process. The salesperson transmits information about a service or product and makes an attempt to persuade the chance to become customer. Making good presentations is a criticai aspect of the sales job. However, many salespeople do not perform this activity very well. Recent studies have found out that 40 percent of buying agents understand the presentations they witness as less than good. In a recent sur-vey of buying executives, the following five presentation-related complaints were among the very best 10 issues the managers acquired about the salespeople with whom they offer:
Running down challengers.
Being too intense or abrasive.
Having inadequate understanding of competitors' products.
Having inadequate knowledge of the client's business or company.
Delivering poor presentations. 17
One decision that must be made in finding your way through a highly effective sales display concerns just how many participants of the buying organization should attend. Since more than one person is typically involved with making a purchase decision, should a sales display be given for all of these as an organization? The answer is determined by whether the users of the buying centre have divergent attitudes and concerns, and whether those concerns can all be tackled effec-tively in a single display. If not, scheduling a series of one-to-one presentations with different customers of the buying group might become more effective.
In many conditions, the best way to convince prospects of an product's advantage is to demonstrate it, particularly if the merchandise is technically sophisticated. Two guidelines should be adopted in preparing an efficient product demonstration. First, the demo should be carefully re-hearsed to lessen the opportunity of a good minor malfunction. Second, the demo should be made to give associates of the buying center hands-on experience with the product. For instance, Xerox's salespeople find out about their clients' office procedures to allow them to show their products actually doing the responsibilities they might do after they are purchased.
Different organizations have widely varying policies related to how sales presentations should be planned, what selling factors should be pressured, and how forcefully the presentation should be made. Door-to-door salespeople and cell phone salespeople are often trained to provide the same memorized, forceful presentation to every potential client. A person reselling computer systems may learn in low-key advertising, in which the salesperson primarily functions as a way to obtain specialized information and advice and does little driving of the business's particular personal computers. The section later in this section on alternative offering solutions pro-vides additional perception on presentational techniques.
Today, the proliferation of relationship selling has led to salespeople being called to give more formal presentations to multiple associates of a client organization. For ex loverample, often offering firms may give quarterly or twelve-monthly bank account review presentations to clients. These presentations typically entail the buying team and retailing team as well as associates of management from both factors. A firm's plan on sales presentations should be consistent with its other plans for managing accounts. To formulate brilliant sales presentation insurance policies, a sales director got to know about alternative presentation methods and their relative advantages and limitations. Space limitations of this chapter make it difficult to present a lengthy dialogue of such issues. The interested scholar is urged to examine a personal selling textbook where a variety of sales demonstration methods are mentioned and evaluated in greater detail.
Closing the sale refers to finding a final agreement to get. All of the salesperson's work are wasted unless your client "signs on the dotted line"; yet that's where many salespeople fail. It really is natural for potential buyers to try to wait making purchase decisions. But as enough time it takes the salesperson to close the deal increases, the earnings to be produced from the sales may go down, and the risk of getting rid of the sale boosts. Therefore, the salesperson's job is to aid the client making a well-timed ultimate decision. Often, this might best be achieved by simply asking for an order. "CAN I write that order up for you?" and "When do you want it provided?" are common closings. Another shutting tactic is to ask the client to choose between two alternative decisions, such as, "Will that be cash or demand?" or "Did you want the blue one or the red one?" In B2B investing, organizational clients and other decision designers have had extensive training in buying and selling techniques and can identify manipulative final techniques, so health care should be utilized in selecting a natural way to require the sales.
The salesperson's job is not done when the deal is made. Many types of service and as-sistance must be provided to customers following a sale to ensure their satisfaction and duplicate business. Excellent service after the sale bolsters customer loyalty and fosters long-term connections with customers. But this is another area in which some salespeople do not perform well. One consultant estimates that when a person prevents buying from a com-pany, about 60 percent of that time period it's because the customer thinks the selling firm's salespeople developed an indifferent attitude following the product was supplied. 18 The salesperson should follow-up each sale to make sure no problems can be found with delivery schedules, quality of goods, or customer billing. In addition, usually the salesperson or people of a sales force supervise the installation of equipment, educate the customer's employees in its use, and ensure proper maintenance to be able to reduce problems that can lead to customer dissatisfaction.
This kind of postsale service pays great dividends for both salesperson and the advertising firm, resulting in the sale of other, related products and services. 19 For example, in many capital equipment lines, service contracts, along with equipment and substitute parts, account for greater money sales earnings and higher profit margins than the initial equipment. A firm's selling and customer romance strategy should determine which kind of postsale or ongoing service should appear.
To truly understand the selling process, why successful salespeople do what they do, and how to many effectively take care of their efforts, it's important to also know how B2B customers make purchase decisions. After all, in relationship advertising, the emphasis by the salesperson and his or her entire firm is targeted at satisfying customer needs and solving customer problems. Therefore, another sections switch the focus of our own debate from the providing side to the buying area to look at the members in the B2B buying process, the stages of this buying process exhibited by many organizations, and lastly the nature of organizational buying situations.