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Marketing Basics - Kotler Philip

The basics of selling art

Many salespeople simply do not know how to sell (see Box 39). One of the main objectives of the training course is to give them knowledge about the art of selling. Firms spend hundreds of millions of dollars on seminars, books, tapes, and other training materials. About one million copies of books about commerce with exciting titles such as “How to get ahead of a born salesman”, “How to sell anything to anyone”, “Opportunities for inspired commerce”, “How I achieved success in six hours thanks to an assertive sale”, “Where to go further, becoming the first? ”,“ Thousand ”ways to increase sales by a salesman.” One of the most enduring works of this type is Dale Carnegie's book How to Make Friends and Influence People.

The entire training system is aimed at transforming a sales agent from a passive receiver of orders into their active getter. The receivers of orders act on the basis of the following prerequisites: 1) the consumer knows his own needs; 2) he will resist any attempt to influence him; 3) he prefers to deal with polite, modestly-unobtrusive salespeople. An example of an order acceptor is the typical Fuller Brush salesman, who knocks on dozens of doors daily and just wonders if the consumer needs any brushes or brushes.

When training a traveling salesman to be a procurer of orders, he is taught one of two main approaches - sales orientation or customer orientation. As part of the first approach, the salesman is taught tricks and sales methods under intense pressure, which are used, say, in the sale of encyclopedias and cars. Among these methods are exaggeration of the merits of the goods, criticism of competitors' products, the use of carefully worked out presentations in advance, advertising oneself and the offer of certain concessions for the immediate issuance of an order. This form of sales is based on the assumption that 1) the consumer is unlikely to make a purchase, except under pressure; 2) the consumer is influenced by both the smooth presentation and the charm of the seller; and 3) he will not regret having signed the order, and if he does, it does not matter anymore.

The second approach aims to teach the salesman to be an assistant in solving the problems facing the client. He is taught how to identify client needs and offer effective ways to meet them. This approach is based on the premise that: 1) the consumer has hidden needs, which from the point of view of the company are its commercial opportunities; 2) the consumer appreciates practical offers; 3) the consumer will be loyal to the salesman, who takes his long-term interests to heart. Within the framework of the marketing concept, the image of the sales assistant is more appropriate for the image of an assistant in solving problems, rather than the image of a tough, aggressive seller or the image of a simple order receiver.

In most training programs, the sales process is considered as a sequential series of stages, each of which must be mastered perfectly by the salesman. These stages are presented in the diagram in Fig. 82 and are described below13.

Key Stages of the Effective Sales Process

Fig. 82. The main stages of the effective sale process

Box 39. Are sales agents well prepared?

For one week, the vice president of a major food company watched the visits of 50 salespeople to a busy purchaser of a large supermarket chain. Here is part of his observations.

A salesman for a soap company came to the buyer. He proposed three new sales promotion events and six different dates. He had nothing with him in writing ... After his departure, the buyer looked at me and said: "I will have to figure it all out for another 15 minutes."

Another salesman came to the buyer and said: “Since I was in your area, I want you to know that next week we are conducting a big new sales promotion campaign.” “Great,” said the purchaser. “What is the essence of this campaign?” “I don’t know,” the salesman replied. “Next week I will come to you and tell you everything.” The buyer asked what he is doing here today. The salesman replied: "Just ended up in your area."

Another salesman, entering, said: “Perhaps it’s time to place an order right now - it’s time to prepare for the summer.” “Great, George,” the purchaser replied. “Tell me, how much did I buy from you last year?” “But the hell knows,” the sales agent said dumbfounded. Most salespeople were poorly trained, could not answer basic questions and did not know what exactly they want to achieve during the visit. They did not see their visit as a pre-thought out professional presentation. They had no real idea of ​​the actual needs and demands of a busy retailer.

FINDING AND EVALUATING POTENTIAL BUYERS . The first step in the sales process is to identify potential buyers. Although the company gives target designation to potential customers, the salesman must be able to independently search for potential customers. To do this, he can use the following methods: 1) requesting the names of potential customers from existing customers; 2) the development of other sources of information, such as suppliers, dealers, salespeople who are not competitors, bankers, officials of trade associations; 3) entry into organizations whose members are potential customers; 4) maintaining personal contacts and correspondence to constantly attract attention to oneself; 5) the study of data sources (newspapers, magazines) in search of the names of potential customers; 6) access to potential customers by phone and mail; 7) visiting various institutions without prior arrangement.

The salesman must be able to weed out unpromising potential buyers. Potential customers can be evaluated in terms of their financial capabilities, the volume of business operations, their specific requirements, location and the likelihood of establishing long-term cooperation.

PRELIMINARY PREPARATION FOR THE VISIT . The salesman should learn as much as possible both about the company - the potential client (its needs and requirements, the circle of people involved in making purchasing decisions), and about the customers themselves (about their personality traits and style of purchasing behavior). To find out as much as possible about the company - the potential customer, the salesman can use official sources of information (Moodies, Standard and Pur, Dan and Brad Street directories), information received from friends and other people. Before each visit, the salesman must set himself certain tasks: either qualify (i.e. evaluate) a potential client, or receive information, or make an immediate sale. The next task is to decide on the best approach to the client: a personal visit, making a phone call or writing a letter. You should think about the most convenient contact time, because during certain periods of time, many potential customers are busy. And finally, the salesman should consider a general strategic approach to organizing trade relations with a client.

APPROACH TO THE CLIENT . The salesman must know how to meet and greet the client in order to lay a good start to the subsequent relationship. In this matter, the appearance of the traveling salesman, and his opening words, and his subsequent comments play a role. The salesman should be dressed in much the same way that the buyer is dressed, should be polite and attentive with him, and should avoid distracting mannerisms, say, pacing back and forth in the office or looking closely at the client. The opening words of the salesman must necessarily be positive, for example: “Mr. Smith, I am Bill Jones from ABC. My company and I personally appreciate your willingness to accept me. I will make every effort to ensure that this visit brings you and your company profit and benefit. ” Then you can ask a number of the most important questions or demonstrate samples in order to attract the attention of the buyer and arouse his curiosity.

PRESENTATION AND DEMONSTRATION OF GOODS . After that, the salesman sets out to the buyer a “story” about the product, demonstrating how the product will help to earn or save money. He talks about the properties of the product, however, focusing on the benefits that the product brings to the buyer. When talking, the salesman follows the provisions of the AIDA formula, i.e. attracts attention, holds interest, excites desire and provides action.

Firms use three types of presentations. The oldest is the method of a previously developed approach, in which the salesman memorizes the main points of his commercial story as a keepsake. A salesman selling an encyclopedia may present it as the “only chance of a purchase in life” and focus on the beautiful full-color stripes of sports photographs in the hope of awakening the desire to buy a publication. Pre-worked presentations are used primarily when peddling or by telephone.

When approaching from the standpoint of formulating the needs and requirements of the client, the salesman first identifies his needs and the style of consumer behavior and only then formulates them for him. To begin with, the salesman draws the buyer into a conversation so that he himself talks about his needs and relationships, and then, formulating them for him, he demonstrates how the product will be able to satisfy these needs.

When approaching from the standpoint of satisfying the needs and requirements of the client, the salesman begins by identifying the true needs of the customer, encouraging him to talk. This approach requires good listening skills and quick solutions to problems. It was described very well by one of the trading agents of the IBM corporation: “I literally get into the affairs of my main customers, I reveal key problems myself, I recommend the solution to these problems by using the systems of my company, and sometimes even by attracting certain goods from other suppliers . I make sure in advance that my company’s systems will really help clients save or make money. Then I work with the client in the process of installing the system and checking its effectiveness ”14.
The quality of trade presentations can be improved through the use of visual aids such as brochures, folding schemes, slides, films and full-scale product samples. The more the buyer has the opportunity to discern or test the product, the better he will remember its properties and benefits.

OVERCOMING OBJECTIVES . Both during the presentation and in the proposal to issue an order, the client almost always raises objections. His opposition can be explained either by psychological characteristics, or by logical considerations. Faced with objections, the salesman continues the line of a positive approach, asks the buyer to clarify the essence of his objections and poses questions in such a way that the client himself had to answer his objections. The salesman denies the validity of the objection or turns this objection into an additional argument in favor of making a purchase.

CONCLUSION OF THE TRANSACTION . After that, the salesman tries to complete the deal. Some salespeople fail to reach this stage, others do not know how to properly conduct it. Either they lack confidence, or they feel guilty for insisting on receiving an order, or they do not feel the onset of a suitable psychological moment to complete the transaction. The salesman should be able to understand the signs of customer willingness, such as certain physical actions, statements, comments, questions. To complete the transaction, the salesman can use one of several methods. He can directly ask to issue an order, repeat the main points of the agreement, offer his help to the office staff in placing the order, ask what kind of goods - “A” or “B” - the buyer wants to get, make the buyer make some small choice - for example, choose a color or size - or make it clear that the buyer will lose if he does not place an order immediately. The salesman can offer the buyer certain benefits, say a favorable price, free delivery of a certain amount of goods or a gift.

FINISHING THE TRANSACTIONS AND CHECKING THE RESULTS . This last step is necessary in cases where the sales agent wants to make sure that the customer is satisfied and expects repeat transactions. Immediately upon conclusion of the transaction, the salesman must complete the study of all necessary details regarding the time and conditions of delivery and other issues in connection with the transaction. He should plan his subsequent inspection visit so that by this time the buyer has already received the goods and it can be checked whether the installation is proceeding correctly, whether reliable instruction and proper maintenance are provided. This visit will help to identify any problems that have arisen and convince the buyer of the interest in him from the salesman.