Limitations and Demerits of Personal Selling

Limitations and Demerits of Personal Selling

High Cost: The cost of developing and operating a sales force is high. More money is spent on personal selling than on any other form of promotion. A sales force represents a greater long – term commitment than advertising.

Unable to Attract High Calibre People: A company often is unable to attract the quality of people needed to do the job. At the retail level, many firms have abandoned their sales forces and shifted to self-service for this very reason.

Difficult to Curtail: Advertising can be turned on and off, but the size of a sales-force is more difficult to alter.

The Personal Selling Process

The personal selling process is a logical sequence of eight steps. These steps are taken to deal with the prospective buyers.

  • Presale preparation
  • Prospecting
  • Pre approach before interview
  • Approaches to the customer
  • Sales presentation
  • Handling customer objectives
  • Closing the sale
  • Follow up action

Pre sale preparation – In this stage, the salesperson prepare himself with adequate knowledge about the product he will sell, the  company he will represent, the market in which he will sell, the competitors products and prices the category of customers or segments he will target.

Prospecting and Qualifying – The next step in personal selling is to identify prospects. Prospecting is the process of identifying potential buyers who have a need for the products and services offered by the company, the ability to pay for it and the adequate authority to buy it.

The salesman first identifies potential customers and then qualifies them. Qualifying consists of determining whether the customers have the necessary purchasing power, authority, and willingness to buy. It could be done through Cold canvassing, Prospect pool, Center of influence, Observation, Trade shows demonstration, Telemarketing, Friends & Acquaintances

Pre approach to Individual Prospects – After qualifying the prospects, before the sales person approaches the customers for a sale, it is necessary to develop a sales strategy by collecting customer data and combining them with the product attributes as a fit for satisfying the individual and organizational needs. A Pre approach selling strategy for each prospect requires a clear understanding of his personal characteristics need. Salespeople should learn all they can about the customers to whom they hope to sell. This step consists of finding out what products the prospective customers are now using and their reactions to these products.  Salesmen also should try find out the personal habits and preferences of a prospect. This will help to adjust their presentations to individual buyers. The salesmen should set objectives. They should decide on best approach, which might be a personal visit, a phone call, or a letter. The best timing should also be considered and plan an overall sales strategy for the prospective customers.

Approach to the customers – This next step is to approach to the customer when the prospect is classified and the selling strategy is developed to satisfy the customer needs. The salesperson comes in contact with the potential customer and makes efforts to influence them for a favorable decision. The salesman should know how to greet the buyer, show courtesy and attention to the buyer and avoid bad mannerisms such as staring at the customer. The opening remark should be positive and might be followed by key questions and active listening to understand the buyer and his needs better.

Sales Presentation – On the basis of information collected from pre approach, a salesperson can design a sales presentation. This will attract the prospect’s attention, hold interest, arouse desire and stimulate action by closing the sale

Making the Presentation

  1. Stimulus Response Format – This is where salesperson keeps suggesting an item until the buyer responds, like the McDonalds order taker.
  2. Formula Selling Format – more formal and planned, like a telemarketer

III. Canned Selling Presentation – This is a memorized, standardized message conveyed to every prospect. It works best when seller is a nervous or does not know the buyer well.

Demonstrating the Sales Message: Here the salesperson presents his products & services before the prospect and makes effort to create and modify their interest into sales realization for the company. While giving sales presentation, the sales person should always try to think about the features and attributes of the product with customer’s needs.

Handling customer objections – Customers make objections after or during the presentation. These objections are many time excuses for not buying. Objections normally pause the sale process because the customer either has not fully understood the product & its benefits or is not fully in agreement with the salesperson objections may take form of doubts minor objections and major objections.

Closing the sale – Closing the sale is the goal in any selling process for a sales person. This comes after the objections are effectively handled and the customer is satisfied with the presentation & is ready to place an order.

Collecting feedback and Post (sale Services) – An effective selling job does not end with getting the order. Post-sale activities are essential to build customer goodwill. These services also prepare the groundwork for future business. A good salesman ensures that no problems occur in delivery, financing, installation, employee training and other areas. These services are the important source of customer satisfaction. They reduce the customer’s post –purchase anxiety that may occur after a person makes a buying decision.

A salesperson can minimize the customer’s dissatisfaction by

(a) Stating the product’s benefits,

(b) Emphasizing why the product is better than its alternatives,

(c) Explaining how happy the customer will be with the product purchased.

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