Prospecting starts with defining a narrow target market, identifying the customer’s wants, and then offering custom solutions.
Explain tools used in evaluating customer needs
- Where the potential market is very wide, there are significant advantages to limiting oneself to just one or two specialized market segments.
- To identify which particular market segment to aim for, a salesperson should analyze the profile of their existing customers, and secure a picture of what their “ideal customer” should look like. The profile should include psycho-demographic characteristics, such as age, sex, jobs, and interests.
- It is important to find out what customers really need, customize products to meet those needs, and make sure your products fit into the customer’s existing world.
- unique selling proposition: Any aspect of an object that differentiates it from similar objects.
Prospecting for customers is the first step to selling. The entire object of any prospecting must be to find sales leads that can eventually be translated into sales turnover. Effective prospecting requires a systematic methodology. The essential rule is to prospect all the time, and not just when the list of potential people on whom to call runs out.
Narrowing the Target Market and Customer Field
Where the potential market is very wide, there are significant advantages to limiting oneself to just one or two specialized market segments. First, a salesperson does not have the time to make everyone his customer. Second, there may be some products in a salesperson’s product range that match up better to one industry or market segment than another. If they can tailor their products to secure a unique selling proposition in that particular market segment, they will meet less competition.
By focusing on a particular industry, a salesperson can gradually acquire technical knowledge of his customer’s industry, thus enabling them to develop empathy and talk on equal terms with their customers. To identify which particular market segment to aim for, a salesperson should analyze the profile of their existing customers, and secure a picture of what their “ideal customer” should look like. The profile should include psycho-demographic characteristics, such as age, sex, careers, and interests, since all will impact where or when they buy. If viable, the salesperson should also consider using mail shots and advertising to evaluate their potential market.
Having decided on a specific market, the salesperson should try to limit their prospecting to remain within that market. The ideal customer (i.e., the one who buys as soon as the salesperson talks to them) is probably non-existent, but the closer a salesperson’s prospect matches that ideal customer profile, the fewer sales objections will arise.
Identifying a Customer’s Wants
A process to determine the actual needs of consumers requires the identification of the market factors that produce them. In this process, companies should find real consumption motivators that eventually evolve into product offerings. Furthermore, a correct business definition leads to a natural market orientation; for instance, Charles Revson’s famous quote, “in the factory we make cosmetics; in the drug store we sell hope,” allowed the company to develop cosmetic products based on women’s hopes rather than product features.
Several potential pitfalls should be avoided:
- the natural tendency to impose a personal point of view when launching a new product or entering a new market.
- simple imitation about competitors ‘ moves.
- lack of sufficient research and market knowledge to produce market-proved ideas.
A framework has been proposed to align customer’s needs and wants with companies capabilities. This framework was introduced by Sherri Dorfman in her 2005 marketing article, entitled “What do Customers Really, Really Want”.
Three Step Process to Develop a Market Orientation
Step 1. Discovery: Finding out What Customer’s Need
Learn about customer needs and priorities to identify opportunities in the company to fulfill these needs, and to create new or enhanced product offerings. These ideas must be incorporated in a market research process involving customers and other clients and suppliers in the Value Chain.
Step 2. Definition: Customizing the Offering to Meet Customer Needs
In this step, Dorfman proposes prioritizing features and benefits identified by clients, suppliers, and customers. Different qualitative research techniques such as in-depth interviews, ethnographies, and focus group sessions permit the identification of the core market needs.
Step 3. Validation: Ensuring Offerings fit within Customer’s World
A salesperson must understand their products thoroughly, and ensure that there is a match between product, benefits, and customer needs. Further communication with consumers validate the final definition of a market-based product or service. This validation takes place as the prototypes are assessed by consumers to identify potential problems and to smooth out design issues.
All these models take into account the so-called end consumer perspective, which implies that consumers buying, using, or recommending the products are the driving force behind successful marketing efforts.
The preapproach is when you gather relevant information regarding the prospect in order to create a customized sales presentation.
Examine the elements of the sales pre-approach used in personal selling and sales promotion
- To create a customized presentation and sales pitch, a salesperson must spend time defining their goals, researching the client’s needs and problems, and asking what information the client needs before choosing to buy the offering.
- The salesperson must ask if the product meet’s the client’s needs, if the client has the finances to make a purchase, and if the audience of the presentation is the actual decision-maker.
- Through careful planning, salespeople can focus on important customer needs and communicate the relevant benefits to the buyer, address potential problem areas prior to the sales presentation, and enjoy the self-confidence that arises after thorough preparation.
- cold call: A sales call either by telephone or personal presence, made without a referral or without preparing the recipient of the call.
- preapproach: the stage of the selling process that consists of customer research and goal planning for the presentation
After the prospect has been qualified, the salesperson continues to gather information about the prospect. The preapproach can be defined as obtaining as much relevant information as possible regarding the prospect prior to making a sales presentation. The knowledge gained during the preapproach allows the tailoring of the sales presentation to the particular prospect.
Researching the Client
To create a customized presentation and sales pitch, a salesperson must spend time defining their goals researching the client. Several factors including the following must be considered prior to approaching a customer:
- The objective or objectives of the presentation.
- What are the buyer’s needs? What is the buying situation? What is the buyer’s problem that can be solved with the salesperson’s offering?
- The type of presentation to be planned and delivered.
- What information will the prospect require before they will choose to buy my offering? The salesperson should know the requirements that a potential customer has set for his future, the priorities that he has decided, and in all probability, his financial resources. Failing to analyze a prospect is the main reason for a great deal of wasted prospecting spent on a customer who should have been promptly discarded after due research.
Gather Information from Printed Materials
A salesperson should read all he can about his market, using information that is readily and freely available in libraries, reference books, trade directories, newspapers, and magazines. Local newspapers are full of names, addresses, and occupations of many people in the community, who could use his services.
Gather Information from Contacts
A salesperson can use personal and previous business contacts to gather information on new clients and their preferences. Personal contacts can also be a great source for mining information. Aside from friends and family, there are also professionals a salesperson has dealt with in his own life such as neighbors, real estate agents, decorators, and fellow PTA members. By leveraging the established relationships a salesperson has with these contacts, he will find it easier than cold calling to get the inside track on a new customer.
Does Your Product Meet the Buyer’s Needs?
A salesman’s product must be relevant to his prospect. If no one’s requirements seem to match with what he is selling, then he is either moving in the wrong circles or selling the wrong product. The unfortunate truth is that many sales are attempted to prospects who could be eliminated as possibilities by a little research.
Does Your Prospect Have the Finances to Buy?
The salesman must establish on the outset whether the prospect can afford to buy. The information required can generally be established very early in a sales interview through a simple trial close such as, “If I can convince you that…, would you be prepared to consider…..? ‘” You are not asking for a decision, and the prospect, in answering, is merely saying, “You have not convinced me yet, but if you can, I would be prepared to…” Failing to establish this initial willingness or ability to invest will result in endless, unprofitable discussions.
Is Your Prospect the Decision Maker?
It is vital to know who the decision-maker is, so as to save a great deal of time in having to redo yet another sales presentation. It is sometimes necessary to disbelieve someone who says that he is the decision maker. It is possible that someone who does not have the authority may well be reluctant to say so, possibly to pre-screen the salesperson first, before allowing him to meet the actual decision-maker.
Benefits of Careful Planning & Research
Careful planning offers advantages for both the salesperson and the buyer. Through careful planning salespeople can:
- Focus on important customer needs and communicate the relevant benefits to the buyer.
- Address potential problem areas prior to the sales presentation.
- Enjoy self-confidence, which generally increases with the amount of planning done by the salesperson.
In planning the presentation, the salesperson must select the relevant parts of his knowledge base and integrate the selected parts into a unified sales message. For any given sales situation, some of the facts concerning the salesperson’s company, product, and market will be irrelevant, and the challenge is in the task of distilling relevant facts from the total knowledge base.
How you approach a sales pitch in terms of attitude, prospect knowledge, and customized product will determine your success.
Describe the characteristics and requirements for a sales approach as part of personal selling and sales promotion
- Every salesperson should prepare a customized elevator pitch to quickly entice the customer to view the product offered as the solution to his needs.
- Direct selling is the marketing and selling of products directly to consumers away from a fixed retail location. Solution selling is when the salesperson focuses on the customer’s pain and addresses the issue with his offerings.
- First impressions are vital to making a successful sales call. Showing genuine but tempered enthusiasm about the product, making eye contact, and actively listening to whomever you come in contact with are just a few suggestions that will create a good impression.
- gatekeeper: A person or group who controls access to something or somebody.
Getting in the Door
Every salesperson should prepare a customized elevator pitch to quickly entice the customer to view the product offered as the solution to his needs. The elevator pitch simply defines a product, service, or organization and its value proposition. The term “elevator pitch” reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes. Other techniques to get a foot in the door include leveraging common contacts or referrals and simply building a relationship through conversation with the gatekeepers to get information on the best way to approach the purchase decision-maker.
Direct selling is the marketing and selling of products directly to consumers away from a fixed retail location. Direct selling allows salespersons to present, demonstrate, and sell products and services to consumers in an environment that is comfortable to the client. According to the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations, consumers benefit from direct selling because of the convenience and service it provides, such as the personal demonstration and explanation of products, easy delivery, and generous satisfaction guarantees.
Solution selling is when the salesperson focuses on the customer’s pain and addresses the issue with his offerings. The resolution of the pain is what constitutes a true “solution. ” A limitation of this approach is that not all customers buy to address a “pain”, and not every need is a problem requiring a solution. Keith M. Eades, author of The New Solution Selling, defines a solution as a “a mutually agreed-upon answer to a recognized problem. In addition, a solution must also provide some measurable improvement. By measurable improvement, I mean there is a before and might be after. Now we have a more complete definition of a solution; It’s a mutually shared answer to a recognized problem, and the answer provides measurable improvement. ”
The Importance of First Impressions
First impressions are vital to making a successful sales call. Showing genuine but tempered enthusiasm about the product, making eye contact, and actively listening to whomever you come in contact with are just a few suggestions that will create a good impression. Paying attention to attire is also important. If you are making a sales call to a construction site, you would not wear a full business suit. Attire should be similar to those who you are pitching to, but at least two steps up in terms of clean presentation and apparel.
The average salesperson will also always have a natural negativity toward approaching someone new. Yet it cannot be over-emphasized that, however good his negotiating or closing skills, he will always fail in his selling if he isn’t comfortable approaching new prospects. Since time is a commodity, utilizing the pre-approach company research to create a customized offer will make the client more receptive to hearing about it over a sales call.
A well-prepared sales presentation will engage prospects with relevant information and entice them to make a purchase commitment.
Describe the characteristics of a sales presentation within the context of personal selling and sales promotion
- A sales pitch is a planned presentation of a product or service designed to initiate and close a sale. A well-prepared presentation should keep in mind the audience and their needs, as well as be clear and concise in tone and content.
- The first visual and audible impression upon a market or client can appeal to any of the five senses to initiate chemistry between the buyer and the seller.
- Usually the first sentence of a sales pitch is supposed to be either an attention-grabbing statement or a positive statement introducing the best information about the provider of goods or services. A method is usually selected depending on the attention span available from the prospective client.
- Fast-Moving Consumer Goods: These are products that sell quickly and at a relatively low cost. Examples include non-durable goods such as soft drinks, toiletries, and grocery items. Though the absolute profit made on FMCG products is relatively small, they generally sell in large quantities, so the cumulative profit on such products can be substantial.
A sales pitch is a planned presentation of a product or service designed to initiate and close a sale. A sales presentation is essentially designed to be either an introduction of a product or service to an audience who knows nothing about it, or a descriptive expansion of a product or service that an audience has already expressed interest in. A well-prepared presentation should keep in mind the audience and their needs, as well as be clear and concise in tone and content.
Elements of Sales Presentation
The first visual and audible impression upon a market or client can appeal to any of the five senses to initiate chemistry between the buyer and the seller.
At least a slight modification to what has worked in the past is always required for the pitch to be authentic and effective. Otherwise the tone would not fit the seller’s outfit, which might lead to the candidate deeming him a fake in a critical situation.
For a strikingly good pitch, one must know exactly what the other party wants and doesn’t want. The salesperson should have as much information as possible about the candidate being pitched to. It is important to focus on a virtual balance of the candidate’s needs and wants to maximize one’s leverage when pitching.
A salesperson gets only one chance to make a good first impression. At least two senses must connect: vision and hearing. But the more one can connect at a single point of impact, the better.
Usually the first sentence of a sales pitch is supposed to be either an attention-grabbing statement or a positive statement introducing the best information about the provider of goods or services. A method is usually selected depending on the attention span available from the prospective client.
In case of consumer categories who have less attention span, the first method of attention-grabbing is usually a question or statement that might surprise or shock the listener. The listener likely turns back for an explanation, and then the remaining sales talk or pep talk happens. Normally ladies with children, shopkeepers, and people in a hurry give less attention. Sellers of low- value, fast-moving consumer goods are usually known to deploy the first method.
In the second strategy, a “positive statement” is adopted in solution selling and in direct selling to corporate and or high value and or capital goods selling. Here, the purpose of the positive statement is to emphasize a particular positive aspect of a provider to brand it according to seller’s situational need.
An effective sales professional must know how to combine effort on sales and marketing to overcome all resistance of a poorly prepared pitch.
Goal of a Presentation
All sales presentations are not designed to secure an immediate sale. Whether the objective is an immediate sale or a future sale, the chances of getting a positive response from a prospect are increased when the salesperson:
- Makes the presentation in the proper climate.
- Establishes credibility with the prospect.
- Ensures clarity of content in the presentation.
- Controls the presentation within reasonable bounds.
The prospect may object to points made in the presentation, so the salesperson should be prepared to listen and address those concerns.
Describe the types of buyer’s objections and how to address them
- Sales objections can be defined as statements or questions raised by the prospect which can indicate an unwillingness to buy. The objections of customers include objections to prices, products, services, the company, time, or competition.
- Salespeople can overcome objections by following certain guidelines such as viewing objections as selling tools, being aware of the benefits of their product, and creating a list of possible objections and the best answers to them prior to the presentation.
- Respecting the concerns of the buyer demonstrates that the seller is appreciative of his concerns. It is important to not become defensive, as the buyer is not criticizing you the seller, but wants to make sure he makes the best decision for the company.
- rapport: A relationship of mutual trust and respect.
During the course of the sales presentation, the salesperson can expect the prospect to object to one or more of the points made. Sales objections can be defined as statements or questions by the prospect which can indicate an unwillingness to buy. Salespeople can learn to handle customer’s objections by becoming aware of the reasons for them.
The objections of customers include objections to prices, products, services, the company, time, or competition. Customers may have gotten into the habit of raising objections, have a desire for more information, or have no need for the product or service.
Salespeople can overcome objections by following certain guidelines such as viewing objections as selling tools, being aware of the benefits of their product, and creating a list of possible objections and the best answers to them prior to the presentation. Objections can generally be handled easier through listening, clarifying, respecting, and responding.
The purpose of listening to the buyer is to gain as much knowledge as possible about their objection. Showing interest can also show prospects that you want to know their concerns in order to help them. Do not interrupt the buyer while he is speaking, as doing so can quickly close the deal and result in a loss of the sale.
Clarifying the objection can allow you to ask questions to gain more information. Be sure to not overwhelm the buyer with questions. It also allows you to determine if you understand the buyer to ensure there are no misunderstandings.
Respecting the concerns of the buyer demonstrates that the seller is appreciative of his concerns. It is important to not become defensive, as the buyer is not criticizing you the seller, but wants to make sure he makes the best decision for the company.
Responding to the objection is important. The seller does not just want to ignore the buyer and his concerns. It shows they value their buyer-seller relationship and will hopefully not damage the rapport that developed.
Closing the Sale
Closing refers to the achievement of the desired outcome, which may be the exchange of money or the acquiring of a signature.
Outline “closing the sale” importance, characteristics and types
- Closing is distinguished from ordinary practices such as explaining a product ‘s benefits or justifying an expense. It is reserved for more artful means of persuasion.
- Situations where a closing attempt is logical include when a presentation has been completed and all objections have been answered, or when the buyer indicates an interest in the product by giving a closing signal.
- The assumptive close is one of the most commonly used closing techniques. The salesperson assumes the customer has made the decision to buy, so the salesperson will tell them what they are going to do to complete the sale.
- assumptive: Forward or presumptuous.
Closing the Sale
Closing is a sales term which refers to the process of making a sale. The term can also be used to refer to the achievement of a desired outcome, such as the exchange of money or the acquiring of a signature. Salespeople are often taught to think of targets not as strangers, but rather as prospective customers who already want or need what is being sold. Such prospects only need to be “closed. ”
Closing is distinguished from ordinary practices such as explaining a product’s benefits or justifying an expense. It is reserved for more artful means of persuasion, which some compare with conning. For example, a salesman might mention that his product is popular with a person’s neighbors, knowing that people tend to follow perceived trends. This is known as the Jones Theory. Nonetheless, closing is a key part of the sales process.
The evaluation of salespersons is based heavily on their ability to close sales. Certainly, other factors are considered in evaluating performance, but the bottom line for most salespeople is their ability to consistently produce profitable sales volume. Individuals who perform as salespeople occupy a unique role: they are the only individuals in their companies who bring revenue into the company.
There may be several opportunities to attempt to close during a presentation, or opportunity may knock only once. In fact, sometimes opportunities to close may not present themselves at all and the salesperson must create an opportunity to close. Situations where a closing attempt is logical include: when a presentation has been completed without any objectives from the prospect, when the presentation has been completed and all objections and questions have been answered, and when the buyer indicates an interest in the product by giving a closing signal, such as a nod of the head.
Most Common Closing Techniques
Assumptive closing – This technique is most commonly used in cold calling after impulsing a customer. This involves making the assumption that the customer has made the decision to buy. The salesperson will tell them what they are going to do to complete the sale. For instance, the salesperson might say, “Just pass me your credit card and I’ll start the paper work for you. Thanks. ”
Direct close: simply ask for the order – Examples of this technique include: “Do I have your authority to proceed with this order? ” / “When would you like delivery? ” / “Would you sign this order form please? ” / “May I confirm your delivery and invoice address are correct for this order? ”
The either / or choice close – Examples of this technique include: “Would you like red or green? ” / “Would you like the standard or the enhanced package? ”
The half Nelson hold close – This technique is used to “strong arm” a prospect after he or she requests something. For instance, the salesperson might ask, “Will you go ahead if we can provide that? ”
Duke Of Wellington close – In the Duke Of Wellington close, you make a list or table of positive and negative points, then take each negative in turn and convert it into a positive. For instance, the salesperson might say, “Yes, it does look expensive, I agree, but if you take into account the reliability of the product, then over time this is actually a much cheaper option than taking the cheap and cheerful rubbish that only…”
Ben Franklin close – Similar to the Duke Of Wellington close, but the prospect lists feelings vs. thoughts. In one column, they write what they feel the benefits of owning the product would be. In the other column, they write what they think could be reasons to not own the product. Very often the list of benefits is somewhat longer than the list of cautions. The combination of personally writing the list and the psychological element of comparing feelings vs. thoughts will often help the prospect see the true value in owning the product.
Following-up will build customer satisfaction, maximize long-term sales volume, and if a sale has not been made, it may lead to a sale.
Identify the basis for and the importance of follow up as part of the personal selling process and sales promotion
- The follow-up contributes to the customer’s perception of value purchased.
- A regular follow up is an integral part of customer service and will ensure the customer feels he is still cared for and might make him receptive to purchases down the road.
- follow-up: to take further actions remaining after an event; to continue, revisit, or persist; especially, to maintain communication
- mediocre: Ordinary: not extraordinary; not special, exceptional, or great; of medium quality;
The post-sale follow-up ensures customer satisfaction and maximizes future and long-term sales volume. Often times, follow up on a lost sale may eventually close the sale and recover the loss. Follow up contributes to the customer’s perception of the value that has been purchased. For example, if a customer is only mildly satisfied with the product, but pleased with the service and experience, he may view the overall sale favorably. However, if the product is mediocre and the service poor, in all likelihood customer follow up will not result in future sales unless the follow up can change the perception of both the product and the services rendered.
Regular follow up is an integral part of good customer service. It tells the customer that he or she continues to matter and this perception might make him receptive to repeat business. Ranging from a simple phone call or thank you note to an office visit for some coffee, the follow up gives the customer a chance to be heard and to engage in a deeper, more meaningful relationship with the salesperson.
The time frame in which the follow up takes place also impacts the experience. Short term follow up occurs right after the sale has closed while long term follow up may include a card on a birthday or anniversary or a note commemorating a milestone or a thank you card for a referral. Show appreciation that motivates sales teams to do more follow up to facilitate repeat business and referrals.
Try to build a more personal relationship with the client by finding common ground for discussion other than the product or transaction. The salesperson/client relationship can be strengthened and personalized and possibly evolve into a light level of friendship. This can also be achieved by helping the customer with a problem by connecting them with one of your non-competing contacts for help.
CRM and Personal Selling
Customer relationship management is a widely used model for managing a company’s interactions with customers, clients, and sales prospects.
Customer relationship management (CRM) is a widely implemented model for managing a company’s interactions with customers, clients, and sales prospects. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes—principally sales activities, but also those for marketing, customer service, and technical support. The overall goals are to find, attract, and win new clients, service and retain those the company already has, entice former clients to return, and reduce the costs of marketing and client service. Customer relationship management describes a company-wide business strategy including customer-interface departments as well as other departments. Measuring and valuing customer relationships is critical to implementing this strategy. The rationale behind using the CRM is to improve services provided directly to customers and to use the information in the system for targeted marketing and sales purposes.
Illustrate the rationale and use of customer relations management (CRM) as part of personal selling and sales promotion
- The CRM uses technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes —principally sales activities.
- The goals of CRM are to find and attract new clients, service and retain those the company already has, entice former clients to return, and reduce the costs of marketing and service.
- Information gained through CRM initiatives can support sales development and marketing strategy by growing the organization’s knowledge in customer-oriented areas.
- customer relationship management: A widely implemented model for managing a company’s interactions with customers, clients, and sales prospects. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes—principally sales activities, but also those for marketing, customer service, and technical support. Also known by the acronym “CRM. “
- stakeholders: A person or organization with a legitimate interest in a given situation, action or enterprise. It can range from employees and investors of a company to the customers purchasing from the company.
- sales force automation: A process using software to streamline all phases of the sales process, minimizing the time that sales representatives need to spend on each phase.
Benefits of Customer Relationship Management
A Customer Relationship Management system may be chosen because it is thought to provide the following advantages:
- Quality and efficiency
- Decrease in overall costs
- Increase Profitability
Instances of a CRM attempting to contain a large, complex group of data can become cumbersome and difficult to understand for ill-trained users. The lack of senior management sponsorship can also hinder the success of a new CRM system. Stakeholders must be identified early in the process and a full commitment is needed from all executives before beginning the conversion. But the challenges faced by the company will last longer for the convenience of their customers.
Additionally, an interface that is difficult to navigate or understand can hinder the CRM’s effectiveness, causing users to pick and choose which areas of the system to be used, while others may be pushed aside. This fragmented implementation can cause inherent challenges, as only certain parts are used and the system is not fully functional. The increased use of customer relationship management software has also led to an industry-wide shift in evaluating the role of the developer in designing and maintaining its software. Companies are urged to consider the overall impact of a viable CRM software suite and the potential for good or bad in its use.
CRM Uses in Sales & Marketing
Information gained through CRM initiatives can support the development of sales and marketing strategy by developing the organization’s knowledge in areas, such as identifying customer segments, improving customer retention, improving product offerings (by better understanding customer needs), and identifying the organization’s most profitable customers.
Sales force automation (SFA) involves using software to streamline all phases of the sales process, minimizing the time that sales representatives need to spend on each phase. This allows a business to use fewer sales representatives to manage their clients. At the core of SFA is a contact management system for tracking and recording every stage in the sales process for each prospective client, from initial contact to final disposition. Many SFA applications also include insights into opportunities, territories, sales forecasts, and workflow automation.
CRM systems for marketing help the enterprise identify and target potential clients and generate leads for the sales team. A key marketing capability is tracking and measuring multichannel campaigns, including email, search, social media, telephone, and direct mail. Metrics monitored include clicks, responses, leads, deals, and revenue. Alternatively, Prospect Relationship Management (PRM) solutions offer to track customer behavior and nurture them from first contact to sale, often cutting out the active sales process altogether.
In a Web-focused marketing CRM solution, organizations create and track specific web activities that help develop the client relationship. These activities may include such activities as free downloads, online video content, and online web presentations.