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Mohd Zeaur Rahman
Selling is one of the world’s oldest professions. It is one of the most exciting, financially rewarding and challenging profession. Selling is combination of attitudes, behaviors and skills in a way that builds long term business relation with customers that is mutual benefecial for both buyer and seller.
Sales person is an individual who sells goods and services to customers. The successfulness of a salesperson is usually measured by the amount of sales he or she is able to make during a given period. Also how good he is in persuading individuals to make a purchase. Selling is nothing but the transfer of enthusiasm from the seller to the buyer. Good sales person should have strong belief in his product. Selling is 90% conviction and 10% communication of the conviction. Law of correspondence says “The more you believe in what you sell, the easier it is for you to convince someone else.”
Marketing strategizes the source of revenue, but it is sales that actually bring in the revenue. Purpose for any business is to make money now and make it in future by delivering value to existing and new customers. It is possible only when Sales professional maintain good business relation based on trust with existing customers and keep on creating new customers.
To become good sales professional first you need to learn time tested, proven principles and then regularly practice on the ground. The first step is to find what your customers expect and demand, and what you need to do to respond accordingly. Customers expect you to add value to their business by fully understand their needs and offer solutions accordingly.
Owner of the company invest his money and buy inventories then he hires sales professional to convert those inventories back to money with profit. Good sales professional always tries to increase throughput. Throughput by definition is “Rate at which inventory is converted into sales”. He understands very well to make good return he must sell with better margin and high velocity of inventory turnover.
Selling has increased in complexity, as product and services have become more technical, competition more intense and buyers more sophisticated. In addition purchase decisions are now shared by several layers of management and technical experts. The knowledge and skills required to meet the complex and competitive market conditions of today are acquired through intensive training and practice.
In earlier days, demand preceded the supply and therefore, there was no need to do much effort to sell products. Now more CNC machines, robotics are involved in production. Production is now carried on a large scale. Also because of globalisation, market size is increased for all the producer or manufacturer. Even one product is produced not by one producer but by several producers spread in so many countries. It results in overproduction and tough competition among the producers.
Sales department is the only department where cash/revenue is generated. Cash/revenue is the oxygen for any organization. Sales department is the most important department as revenue generator and all other departments are supporting the sales department. Success does not just happen. It is the result of practicing the principle that lead to success.
The steps taken by the salesman to perform his function of selling successfully are included in selling process.
STEPS IN SELLING PROCESS:
4. Presentation and Demonstration
5. Meeting or Handling Objections
6. Closing the Sales
7. Follow – Up
PROSPECTING: Prospecting means identifying new Potential buyers. There are two reasons that a sales person must look out constantly for new customers:
a. To increase the sales.
b. To replace the customers that will be lost in time.
PRE-APPROACH: Once he targets the right segment of customers then next step is to acquire enough information about such prospects in order to approach each one in the most effective manner. Pre-approach involves developing an understanding about buyer’s needs, Key decision makers in the buying process, first time user or already using but other brands from competition etc.
APPROACH: The face-to-face contact with the prospect is termed as approach. It should be followed by emails, telephonic calls and again final presentation and demonstration. Timely follow ups builds credibility and trust with the customers. Customers listen to those sales men whom they like but give business to those whom they trust.
PRESENTATION AND DEMONSTRATION: The objective of presentation and demonstration is to help in convincing the customer that product is the best one for satisfying his needs. Top sales people practice before hand in such a way that the interaction and presentation with a customer seems very convincing and natural. In your presentation you should provide at least four reasons for the customer to make the purchase decision in your favor. Also it is very important to communicate unique sales proposition of your product and the competitive advantages of your products or services.
AIDA: Effective demonstration can be done through AIDA approach. The product should be demonstrated in such a manner that it gains the customer’s attention, holds his interest, builds up his desire for the product or service, and ends up in purchase action.
MEETING OR HANDLING OBJECTIONS: The salesman is required to handle and overcome objections during presentation and demonstration. It is just natural for the customer to ask questions, raise objections and seek explanation. It is the most difficult situation that a salesman is required to face. The salesman’s job is to effectively handle and answer them in a most convincing and systematic manner.
CLOSING THE SALES: It is the most important stage of the selling process. After having answered and overcome objections, it is the right time for the salesman to clinch the deal by asking for order. Art of closing the sale need to be developed by each sales professional.
FOLLOW UP: It is the last stage of the selling process. It is important for the salesman to make sure product is delivered on time, payment is received, PDI (pre delivery inspection) done before sending product to customers etc. Follow-up is also necessary to gather information from the customers regarding product use, problems, if any, and the level of customer satisfaction. It builds up goodwill and encourages repeat purchases.
Importance of follow up in Sales
One of the reason Sales people fail is not following up in a timely manner. Too much or too little follow up is dangerous. Timely follow-up builds credibility and trust with the potential customers. Good follow up keeps the customer informed and they value you as more reliable than other sales people from competition. It shows your caring attitude and makes the customer feel important and happy. If you don’t want to lose order to your competition then focus on your timely follow up. Customers don’t prefer to work with those sales people whom they find unreliable. There is interesting sales statistics regarding follow up and order closing. These are:
o 48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect.
o 25% of sales people make a second contact and stop.
o 12% of sales people only make three contacts and stop.
o Only 15% of sales people make more than three contacts.
Customers do business with those they know, like and trust. Whereas,
o 2% of sales are made on the first contact.
o 3% of sales are made on the second contact.
o 5% of sales are made on the third contact.
o 10% of sales are made on the fourth contact.
o 80% of the sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact.
We should use right combination of direct emails, telephonic calls as well as personal visits to make our follow-ups more effective. First we should make direct visit and it should be followed by timely emails, telephone calls and follow up visits. During our direct visit we should use both of our verbal and nonverbal communication skills to influence our customers and develop a relation based on respect and trust.
Remember, professional selling is problem solving and helping customers. Because the customer has a NEED, we have a job to do. Because the customer has a choice, we must be the BETTER CHOICE. Because the customer has sensibilities, we must be CONSIDERATE. Because the customer has urgency, we must be QUICK. Because the customer is unique, we must be FLEXIBLE. Because the customer has high expectations, we must EXCEL. Because the customer has INFLUENCE, we have the hope of MORE customers. BECAUSE of the customer, WE exist! Peter Drucker nicely said, “There is only one purpose of business: to create customer.”
Customers prefer sales person whom they know, like and trust. Trustworthiness and hard work coupled with sales skills can transform an ordinary sales person to very successful Sales professional. Good sales professional first try to understand the need of customer then only he communicates the best product which gives great value to customer and profit to his company.
Good sales professional continuously develop the following skills :
* Positive mental attitude
* Self Discipline,
* Ambition and Desire,
* Learn how to stay motivated and how to handle rejections.
* Doing Hard work,
* Learning the art of communication and dealing with customers,
* Developing a pleasing personality, and trustworthiness
* Continuously learning about sales skills and competencies,
* Understand the decision making process and identify key decision makers,
* Understand the needs of customers and make presentations
* Learning the art of closing the sales
* Learning proven sales strategy
* Having clear goals and sales target.
* Develops marketing skills
* Learning concept of Segmentation, Targeting and positioning
* Learning Time management
* Avoid mistakes and learn from experience (your own and others)
The marketing people control the brand image, pricing etc. The salespeople control the experience as they are the ones who directly contact with the target customers. They should provide a great experience to their customers by building relation based on credibility and trust and practice empathy. Management guru David Maister famously said, “Customer don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” There is an old saying, “If you see JeeJohn with JeeJohn’s eyes then you can sell JeeJohn, what JeeJohn buys”. Selling then becomes easy!!
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