(Selling process and communication)
The central theme of our last analysis here is that the communication view of the selling process is a much richer and comprehensive view of salesmanship and that personal selling is an oral presentation in conversation (by the salesperson) with one or more prospects for the purpose of making sales. We listed the following selling steps:
1. Pre-sale preparation,
3. Pre-approach and approach,
4. Sales presentation or sales interview, and
5. Post-sale activities.
We ended by stating that a good detailing presentation must:
(i) be complete
(ii) be clear, and leave no vagueness in the prospect’s mind
(iii) remove competition from the picture
(iv) win confidence of prospect to prescribe, to recommend and to buy.
The salesman uses the sales talk, testimonials, guarantees, reference to KOL and other means of creating confidence, as well as a demonstration of the product, if possible, to achieve these objectives.
The problem-solving approach should be adopted by the salesman. The product offered on sale must offer adequate solutions to the buyer’s needs, difficulties and specific problems. Also, objections should be regarded as a cue that your sales presentation is not yet convincing enough and so not yet complete.
Two major and crucial events that come up in detailing are:
Objection: This can be described as any obstacle in the way of achieving the very objective of the sales call. At any stage during the sales interview, the salesman may be confronted by an objection. Prospects will always try to resist sale by raising arguments for not buying the product. Objections can be around efficacy, packaging, side-effect, price, availability, etc. Unless the objection is satisfactorily answered, the sale cannot take place.
A prospect who raises objections is easier to satisfy than a prospect who does not show any interest in the proposition. The clever salesman will always welcome all objections, interpret the objections correctly, and remove them tactfully, without arguing with the customer. He may sometimes even anticipate an objection and forestall it.
Close: The close is the act of actually getting the prospect’s commitment to buy or prescribe or to try your sample, etc. It is the culmination of the efforts so far made by the salesman, and is, therefore, the climax of the entire sales process. A salesman who cannot close the sale cannot in the real sense be called a successful salesman. It is very important for the salesman to be alert and find out the right moment at which to close the sale.
The salesman must watch for every sign which may indicate that the prospect is willing to buy, and apply the close with any of the many closing techniques. He must also remember that the initiative must come from him. A sale is never complete until the product is finally in the hands of a satisfied user. The salesman alone can assure such completion of sale.
Step 5: The Follow-Up (Post-Sale Contacts):
Moving the customer to the action stage (the purchase decision) does not complete the salesman’s task. He must write the order, arrange for dispatch and delivery of the product, agree payment terms and timing, reassure the buyer on the wisdom of his decision, and minimise his dissatisfaction, if any.
The salesman should contact the customer frequently to maintain his goodwill and smoothen over any post-purchase problems. The follow up is a good source of feedback to the salesman.
Personal selling/presentation notes:
A sale is made, not in the mind of the salesman, nor over the counter, but in the mind of the buyer. Let the buyer decide to purchase not because you want him to do so but because he himself is motivated (set into motion) to buy your product because it is going to solve his problem and satisfy his wants.
The salesman must develop the faculty of empathy i.e., mind or thought reading of the customers. This will provide him with accurate information of his (buyer’s) motives, feelings, emotions, attitude etc. Buying motives enable the salesman to know why a person buys his products.
A knowledge of various types of customers, their attitudes and/behaviour and ability to recognise and handle the different types of customers is a basic requirement for success in selling.
Personal selling success tips:
The solution must be adequate and it must create a pleasant feeling in the buyer’s mind. The problem-solving approach should be adopted by the MSR in the sales presentation.
The product or service and the brand must be considered adequate by the buyer. The buyer must experience a (pleasant) feeling of anticipated satisfaction when thinking of the product or service and the brand.
The salesman is called first to emphasise the need for the product or service by showing the doctor the product’s features and the concomitant “bundle of benefits” he or his patient stands to enjoy by recommending the product. Then he has to indicate that the product is adequate in solving the buyer’s problem.
If the prospect knows the problem or need and is also aware of the product which can satisfy his need, the salesman will have to emphasize the brand name and convince the buyer that his brand is the solution to the problem.
If the prospect recognises quite well his need, solution to his problem and also your brand name, the only points to be stressed are conviction and purchase. When a salesman presents against a rival brand to a customer, he shall give more emphasis on the adequacy of his brand and the benefits it is capable of creating.
Tunde Oyeniran B Pharm, MBA, a Sales/Marketing Strategist, Selling/Sales Management Trainer and Personal Sales Coach is the Lead Consultant, Ekini White Tulip Consulting Limited, Lagos. We deliver Training, Recruitment and Field Force Management Solutions .Feedback- Channels: 080-2960-6103 (SMS/WhatsApp) /email@example.com or check out https://fb.me/EkiniWhiteTulipConsulting