The Personal Selling Process: Essay
The personal selling process is a face-to-face opportunity for members of a sales force to engage potential customers with all the necessary information to close a sale. The process consists of seven main steps: 1) Prospecting, 2) pre-approach, 3) approach, 4) making the presentation, 5) overcoming the objections, 6) closing the sale and 7) follow up. Each step is integral to the overarching objective of achieving good customer rapport and a good sale. Miller 3 The Personal Selling Process: An Explanation and Summary
The personal selling process is a “logical, sequential series of actions that can greatly increase the chances of making a sale, bearing in mind that the ultimate aim is to address the customer’s need and build long term relationships. ” (Cant, 2006, p. 21) Ultimately, the process should result in both parties (the salesperson and the customer) obtaining value in one sense or another. As one of the oldest methods of promotion around, the personal selling process is a tried and true means of salesmanship.
Unlike modern national advertising campaigns, personal selling is a face-to-face activity centering on relationship-building rather than faceless mass market solutions. Through it, specific customer needs should be addressed and satisfied. Although, this sales method
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Each step is integral to the overarching objective of achieving good customer rapport and a positive closing sale. Step One: Prospecting This beginning stage is foundational to the process as a whole. Much of the end-success rests on the quality of early prospecting, which is the practice of identifying fitting prospects. Prospects are likely candidates; people who are apt to purchase the available product. These potential customers are discovered in a myriad of creative ways – government publications, customer referrals, website registrations or even public records. Once a list of likely candidates Miller 4
has been established, the process of qualifying begins. Qualifying ensures that only suitable leads remain. Step Two: The Pre-Approach In this step, a salesman does his homework. Two of the main objectives are: 1) Get to know the client and 2) prepare a plan of attack. Using whatever material is available, the salesperson must gather information about any relevant needs and/or habits of their prospect to determine possible objections. With that information, he devises a planned method of overcoming specific objections with the customer’s needs in mind. Potentially, this is also the stage for good impressions.
If the customer must be contacted (via phone, letter or personal visit), it is in this stage. The future success of the actual approach may depend on the trust and rapport built during the pre-approach exchange. The goal in this stage is to do what it takes to gain and work towards gaining the customer’s interest and willingness to invest. Step Three: The Approach In the pre-approach, the salesman and client may engage briefly but in the Approach, they become well-acquainted. During this meet-and-greet interaction, a relational climate is established, which is likely to carry throughout the entire process.
Conversation, in this stage, should encourage open-ended answers from the customer in a data-collecting sales attempt. In this step, understanding the customer’s needs is paramount. A well-informed salesperson is able to create a highly customized product presentation and persuasive rebuttals. It is easier to meet the needs of a well-understood customer. Miller 5 Step Four: Making the Presentation This is the money-making stage. During this step in the sales process, customer desire is skillfully and deliberately kindled by directly relating customer need to product benefit.
Developing customer interest can be encouraged in a number of ways: allowing the client to handle the product, audio/visual presentations, and or product demonstrations. While the customer is reviewing the product, there are at least three important roles of the salesperson in this phase: 1) Enthusiasm, 2) focus on the benefits and 3) continued open-ended questions that promote curiosity and ongoing interest. Step Five: Overcoming Objections Objections are important to both the customer and salesperson. For the customer, they represent reservations that must be addressed before the comfort of an informed purchasing decision.
For the salesperson, they represent opportunities to understand the client’s hesitation and overcome them with product benefits. The way objections are handled in this stage are crucial to the closing of the sale. Step Six: Closing the Sale All other steps lead up to this step; it’s the pinnacle. Once all questions are answered and the product has been presented, then comes the final query. This is the phase in the process where the salesperson boldly asks for the sale: “Now, that all you concerns have been addressed, are you ready to make your purchase? ” This stage requires a balance of delicacy and assertiveness.
If done well, a willing customer hands over the cash. Miller 6 Step Seven: Follow-Up Follow-up is an easily overlooked, but vital aspect to the ongoing health of any business. It is an opportunity to ensure 100% customer satisfaction, which lends itself to long-standing relationships. It may also uncover fresh needs, referrals or additional purchases. Each step in the personal sales process is important. Each one must be executed with skill, patience and attentiveness in order to achieve maximum success. Miller 6 References Cant, M. C. (2006). Personal Selling. Juta and Company Limited.