- INTRODUCTION TO SELLING – Click to view
- PROCESS OF SELLING – Click to view
- SALES DISPLAY AND DEMONSTRATIONS – Click to view
- SALES RESPONSIBILITY AND PREPARATION – Click to view
- PERSONAL SELLING – Click to view
- SELLING AND MANAGING KEY/ MAJOR ACCOUNTS – Click to view
- TRAVELLING SALES PERSONNEL – Click to view
- SALES SETTING – Click to view
- EMERGING ISSUES IN SELLING – Click to view
Selling is the actual exchange of products and services at an agreed sum of money. It is one of the activities in the entire marketing process. Marketing activities/processes supports selling and this include;
Selling can also be defined as transfer of ownership and possession of goods to the purchasers or buyers.
Selling is also the large step of branch of commerce where the buyer exchanges cash for goods/services.
It can also be referred to as persuading customers that you offer products or services they are looking for.
EVOLUTION OF SELLING.
Evolution of selling has had many several distinct phases of development during in 19th to20th century.
Industrial revolution of late 19th century caused tremendous amount of exchange of goods between people and all nations all over the world. Strategic resources i.e. capital and other resources of companies were controlled. Sales success was defined by sales quotas in 1860 to 1960.from 1960,a new generation started. It was called informative age.
From 1960 till now, information has radically changed on how selling is being conducted. This has resulted in attitudes and methods towards selling change. In this age, strategic resource of a business is information and it is defined by customer relationship. There are plenty of businesses doing selling in old school way and don’t want to change to the modern methods.
Some businesses are doing it in their old way yet they are very successful e.g. Avon-direct door to door(they deal with women cosmetics)sales. Major advances in manufacturing and transporting have made processing resources and capital major aims of business. This naturally required skilled people with talents in persuading and providing goods to a broad range of buyers.
Companies such as Avon are still using same old ways of selling as their founders in the end of 19th century did and found themselves more successful. Selling in a way should be adopted in a product being sold. During the wave of innovation-FAB-Future Advantage Benefit was introduced.
Value selling is specified by Lambin 2008 as the next-step from all previous selling methods. It is considered to be more ethical compared to previous methods. Use of modern technology and communication is well spread in modern selling. Technology and communication facilitate and helps deliver a value in more precise and useful way e.g. B2-C and B-B.
ROLE OF SELLING.
- The simplest way to think of the nature and role of selling (traditionally called salesmanship) is that its function is to make a sale. This seemingly obvious statement disguises what is often a very complex process, involving the use of a whole set of principles, techniques and substantial personal skills, and covering a wide range of different types of selling task. Later we will establish a more precise meaning for the term selling.
- The literature of selling abounds with texts, ranging from the more conceptual approaches to the simplistic ‘how it is done’ approach. Companies spend large sums of money training their sales personnel in the art of selling. The reason for this attention to personal selling is simple: in most companies the sales personnel are the single most important link with the customer. The best designed and planned marketing efforts may fail because the sales force is ineffective.
- The term selling encompasses a variety of sales situations and activities. For example, there are those sales positions where the sales representative is required primarily to deliver the product to the customer on a regular or periodic basis. The emphasis in this type of sales activity is very different from the sales position where the sales representative is dealing with sales of capital equipment to industrial purchasers.
- Some sales representatives deal only in export markets whilst others sell direct to customers in their homes. One of the most striking aspects of selling is the wide diversity of selling roles.
- Successful sales people are those who provide information and recommendations to expected problems and provide solutions.
- A long term process and provide guidance along various activities.
Below is a list of the strengths of personal selling and one weakness: compared to other communications media selling is costly. For example, a visit to a business customer is far more expensive than sending an email.
STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESS OF PERSONAL SELLING
- Interactive: questions can be answered and objectives overcome
- Adaptive: presentations can be changed to meet customer needs
- Complex arguments can be developed
- Relationships can be built because of its personal nature
- Provides the opportunity to close the sale
- Sales calls are costly
TYPES OF SELLING.
The diverse nature of the buying situation means that there are many types of selling job: selling varies according to the nature of the selling task. The Figure below shows that there is a fundamental distinction between;
- Order-creators and
- Order getters.
Order-takers respond to already committed customers; order-creators do not directly receive orders since they talk to specifiers rather than buyers; while order getters attempt to persuade customers to place an order directly.
There are three types of order-takers:
- Inside order-takers,
Delivery salespeople and
- Outside order-takers.
They are termed as missionary salespeople.
They are either front-line salespeople consisting of new business, organizational or consumer salespeople, or sales support salespeople who can be either technical support salespeople or merchandisers. Both types of order-getters operate in situations where a direct sale can be made.
a) Inside order-takers
Here the customer has full freedom to choose products without the presence of a salesperson. The sales assistant’s task is purely transactional – receiving payment and passing over the goods. Another form of inside order-taker is the telemarketing sales team who support field sales by taking customers’ orders over the telephone.
b) Delivery salespeople
The salesperson’s task is primarily concerned with delivering the product. In the UK, milk, newspapers and magazines are delivered to the door. There is little attempt to persuade the household to increase the milk order or number of newspapers taken: changes in order size are customer-driven. Winning and losing orders will be
dependent on reliability of delivery and the personality of the salesperson.
c) Outside order-takers
These salespeople visit customers, but their primary function is to respond to customer requests rather than actively seek to persuade. Outside order-takers do not deliver and to a certain extent they are being replaced by more cost efficient telemarketing teams.
a) Missionary salespeople
In some industries, notably the pharmaceutical industry, the sales task is not to close the sale but to persuade the customer to specify the seller’s products. For example, medical representatives calling on doctors cannot make a direct sale since the doctor does not buy drugs personally, but prescribes (specifies) them for patients. Similarly, in the building industry, architects act as specifiers rather than buyers, and so the objective of a sales call cannot be to close the sale. Instead, in these situations the selling task is to educate and build goodwill.
The final category, called order-getters, consists of those in selling jobs where a major objective is to persuade customers to make a direct purchase. These are the front-line salespeople and in many ways this type of selling represents the most challenging of the different types of selling. Order-getting demands several skills on the part of the salesperson including, for example, the ability to identify new prospects, persuading and negotiating, and ultimately building new and profitable business in the face of often fierce competition.
a) Technical support salespeople
The task of this type of salesperson is to provide sales support to front-line salespeople so they are normally considered to belong in the order-getters group. Where a product is highly technical and negotiations are complex, a salesperson may be supported by product and financial specialists who can provide the detailed technical information required by customers. This may be ongoing as part of a key account team or on a temporary basis with the specialists being called into the selling situation as and when required.
These people provide sales support in retail and wholesale selling situations. Orders may be negotiated nationally at head office, but sales to individual outlets are supported by merchandisers who give advice on display, implement sales promotions, check stock levels and maintain contact with store managers.
IMAGE OF SELLING AS A PROFESSION.
SELLING AS A CAREER
The sub-divisions of the sales roles just outlined give an idea of the range of sales positions that are available. Generally, there is much less personal pressure involved in being an order-taker than an order-maker . However, the opportunity for higher rewards belongs to order-takers as their remuneration normally rests on some kind of commission or bonus where payment is linked to the amount of orders they take. It is an acknowledged fact that in many business situations the opportunity to earn really high incomes at a relatively young age is present in this kind of situation.
With such a large range of selling situations and positions in sales, it is not possible to provide a specific prescription of the qualities required for a successful sales career. There is no definitive test or selection procedure that can be used to distinguish between successful and less successful salespeople and apart from ‘trying it out’ there is no way of knowing if a person is suited to a career in sales. However, there are a number of key qualities that are generally recognized as being important:
- Empathy and an interest in people: such a skill will help in more accurately identifying customers’ real needs and problems in terms of thinking oneself into the other person’s mind and understanding why the customer feels as they do.
- Ability to communicate: this means an ability to get a message across to a customer and, more importantly, an ability to listen and understand. The skill of knowing when to stop talking and when to listen is essential.
- Determination: although the salesperson must be able to take no for an answer, this should not come easily to someone who wants to succeed in selling. It is a fact that customers might say no when they really mean maybe, which can ultimately lead to yes. Determined salespeople have a need and a will to succeed and success can mean closing a sale.
- Self-discipline and resilience: most salespeople spend much of their time unsupervised and, apart from seeing customers, they are alone. As part of their job they can expect setbacks, rejections and failures. A salesperson thus needs to be both self-disciplined and resilient to cope with these facets of the sales task.
IMAGE OF SELLING
Mention of the word selling will prompt a variety of responses. It will evoke a high proportion of negative, even hostile, responses, including ‘immoral’, ‘dishonest’,‘unsavoury’, ‘degrading’ and ‘wasteful’. Is such an unfavorable view justified? We suggest not. In fact the underlying attitudes to selling derive from widely held misconceptions about selling, some of which are outlined below.
1. Selling is not a worthwhile career: This notion is held by many, the common attitude being that if one has talent then it will be wasted in sales. Unfortunately this attitude is often held by those in a position to advise and influence young people in their choice of careers. In some circles it is fashionable to denigrate careers in selling, with the consequence that many of our brighter graduates are not attracted to a career in selling.
2. Good products will sell themselves and thus the selling process adds unnecessarily to costs:This view assumes that if you produce a superior product then there will always be buyers.
3. There is something immoral about selling, and one should be suspicious about those who earn their living from this activity. The origin and reason for this most pervasive and damaging of the misconceptions about selling stems from the ‘foot in the door’ image that has been perpetuated. Such attitudes can make life difficult for the salesperson who has first to overcome the barriers which such mistrust erects in the customer/salesperson relationship.
There are a number of elements in the sales task that act as demotivators:
1. Because of their perceived low status, salespeople are constantly exposed to the possibility of rejection and often have to suffer ‘ego punishment’ such as being kept waiting, appointments cancelled at short notice and ‘put downs’ from customers, to which they cannot adequately respond as buyers have the power in such circumstances.
2. In B2B situations in particular, salespeople visit buyers in their offices, so they are effectively working in ‘foreign’ territory and might sometimes feel uneasy when entering the premises. The customer might keep the salesperson waiting, thus heightening discomfort.
3. The salesperson tends to work alone, often staying away from home for periods.An attraction is independence, but it can be a lonely existence. Thus there is a certain amount of psychological risk attached to such situations.
Selling is therefore not an easy task, and those who are concerned to improve its image must be more vociferous, yet objective, in presenting its case and recognize that misconceptions invariably have some basis in fact. There are always unscrupulous individuals and companies ready to trade on the ignorance and gullibility of unsuspecting customers. These individuals are not salespeople: at best they are misguided traders and at worst criminals. At some times in our lives we inevitably feel that we have purchased something we did not really want or on terms we could not really afford because we were subjected to high-pressure selling.
Selling then is not entirely blameless, but salespeople are becoming more professional in their approach to customers. Some of the worst excesses in selling have been curbed – some through legal means, but increasingly voluntarily. To overcome some of these misconceptions, selling needs to sell itself and the following facts about selling should be more universally aired:
FACTS ABOUT SELLING.
- There is nothing immoral or unscrupulous about selling or about those involved in this activity. Selling provides a mechanism for exchange and through this process customers’ needs and wants are satisfied.
- Selling is a worthwhile career. Many of those who have spent a lifetime in selling have found it to be a challenging, responsible and rewarding occupation. Inevitably a career in selling means meeting people and working with them, and a selling job often offers substantial discretion in being able to plan one’s own work schedule.
- Good products do not sell themselves. An excellent product may pass unnoticed unless its benefits and features are explained to customers. What appears to be a superior product may be totally unsuited to a particular customer.
CHARACTERISTICS OF MODERN SELLING.
Today, a sales person must have a range of skills to compete successfully. Sales persons must understand the characteristics of modern selling which include.
1. Customer retention and deletion:
Many companies find that 80 per cent of their sales come from 20 per cent of their customers. This means that it is vital to devote considerable resources to retaining existing high volume, high potential and highly profitable customers. Key account management has become an important form of sales organization because it means that a salesperson or sales team can focus their efforts on one or a few major customers.
At the other end of the spectrum, companies are finding that some small customers actually cost the organization money. This is because servicing and distribution of products to those customers may push costs beyond the revenue generated. Larger companies may have to change to telemarketing and/or the internet as a means of servicing these small customers or drop them altogether.
2. Database and knowledge management.
The modern sales force needs to be trained in the use and creation of customer databases, and how to use the internet to aid the sales task (e.g. finding customer and competitor information). In the past salespeople recorded customer information on cards and sent in orders through the post to head office. Today, technological advances such as email, mobile phones and video conferencing have transformed the way knowledge is transferred. Laptops mean that salespeople can store customer and competitor information, make presentations and communicate with head office electronically. Furthermore, information supplied by the company, such as catalogues and price lists, can be held electronically.
3. Customer relationship management:
Customer relationship management requires that the sales force focuses on the long term and not simply on closing the next sale. The emphasis should be on creating win–win situations with customers so that both parties to the interaction gain and want to continue the relationship. For major customers, relationship management may involve setting up dedicated teams to service the account and maintain all aspects of the business relationship.
This form of organizational structure, key account management, will be discussed later and is devoted to relationship selling.
4. Marketing the product:
The modern salesperson is involved in a much broader range of activities than simply planning and making a sales presentation.. The role of the salesperson is expanding to participation in marketing activities such as product development, market development and the segmentation of markets, as well as other tasks that support or complement marketing activities such as database management, provision and analysis of information, and assessing market segments.
5. Problem solving and system selling:
Much of modern selling, particularly in business to business situations, is based upon the salesperson acting as a consultant working with the customer to identify problems, determine needs and propose and implement effective solutions.
6. Satisfying needs and adding value
The modern salesperson must have the ability to identify and satisfy customer needs. Some customers do not recognize they have a need. It is the salesperson’s job in such situations to stimulate need recognition.
For example, customers may not realize that a machine in the production process has low productivity compared to newer, more technologically advanced machines.
The salesperson’s job is to make customers aware of the problem in order to convince them that they have a need to modernize the production process. In so doing, the salesperson will have added value to the customer’s business by reducing costs and created a win–win situation for their company and the customer.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SELLING AND MARKETING.
- Marketing starts before selling hence paving/opening ways for selling process to take place.
- Marketing creates consumer relevant brands of goods that satisfy the specific needs and selling makes sales of goods/products being marketed by business persons.
- Marketing identifies appropriate prospects and selling focuses on product and producers as part of the marketing.
- Marketing consists of activities like pricing, product, promotion, place of distribution and selling focuses on consumer as the guiding force behind this activity hence making sales.
- Marketing communicates image and capability of goods and services to satisfy the wants and selling gives the extent of a product hence making sales.
- Marketing advertises the product and selling goods ahead, selling makes sale of products that are being advertised.