The study of personal selling focuses more on the stages of sales. Thinking about it has changed but is still around the sales stage. This shows that the theme is felt to be important by personal sales professionals. This theme becomes the main material in sales training.
That gives the impression that the sales study hasn’t changed much, even though there are chances that the seller needs to know. Changes in the sales stages need to be known because new developments can make sales work more effective and more competitive. If fixated on the old method, it can lose the competition and cost a lot of money.
In 1920, there was a sales training book entitled “How to Increase Your Sales”. The book explains the 6 stages of sales.
1. Look for prospects
6. Sales Transaction (Close)
1. Look for prospects
From the outside, sales work does meet prospects and offer products with demonstration and argumentation. The book shows the work of the invisible personal seller, that is looking for prospects. Looking for prospects is important because not everyone is interested in a product. Selecting the people who are most likely to be interested will make it easier to sell.
If the prospecting is ignored, the seller will work harder with the possibility of smaller results. This is because he meets people who do not need the products offered.
In the beginning, searching for prospects was a task that was charged to salespeople. Later, this task also came to the attention of the leadership, because this was a matter of marketing strategy. With internet support, companies also use market profile data to find prospects.
2. Pre Approach
Pre approach is to prepare yourself so that later when meeting, the seller can be liked, trusted and sales occur. Preparations that need to be done are to study the needs, transactions that have been made, hobbies, interests, achievements prospects. Study the need to arrange the most acceptable messages. Learn the needs and interests can also learn the transactions that have been done before if he has ever done a transaction. If you have not made a transaction but have had a conversation, you also need to study the contents of the conversation.
Initially, this pre-approach was made through recording. With the support of information technology, this has been recorded in the Customer Relationship Management program.
That approach was taken in the first minute of the meeting. The approach aims to create a good impression on prospects. This is done by dressing modestly and attractively, pleasant little conversations, shaking hands, face to face, active listening, praising big and small achievements and so on.
That is important because any interesting sales message will not get the prospect’s acceptance if they are not happy or do not believe that we are good.
The presentation is to convey information about the product with the aim of inviting to do something. At this stage the seller is intriguing and offers a solution to the problems faced by the prospect. The seller also has the opportunity to demonstrate the benefits and ways to use the product in more detail. Features, benefits, when to use, how to use can be conveyed visually and practically.
To be able to do that, the seller must first understand the needs, problems faced by prospects. This was done in the per-approach phase.
In addition, the seller must listen actively to understand the needs and problems of the response made by prospects. The specialty of personal sales is that the seller can get immediate feedback.
5. Overcoming Objection
Objections often occur in personal sales. Many people are afraid to face objections because they interpret it as rejection and distrust of their entire being. But the seller needs to deal with this positively.
To deal with objections the seller has a meaning that makes him brave. The seller interprets the objection as an objection to the product he is offering, not a rejection of him. Interpreting objections to the product is not exactly correct, the seller interprets the objection as further questions about the product.
Generally, a prospect’s rejection is as follows:
The product is too expensive
I can’t decide now
I need another type of product
I want to talk to the team
I have a bad experience with this kind of product.
I already have a subscription
Sellers deal with it while still giving a good impression, namely by listening actively and exploring what the prospect wants and trying to understand. That becomes the basis for developing new offers. Besides the seller also shows the risks if not buying and the benefits of buying.
6. Closing (Close)
Closing or closing in the sales process is the seller’s request to the prospect to conduct a sales transaction. The fulfillment of that request is the most expected thing by the seller. This happens if the objection is resolved, then the prospect is committed to making a purchase.
Despite being a seller’s dream, sellers sometimes don’t ask prospects to commit to making a deal. Maybe because of reluctance and expect the initiative to come from prospects, maybe also because of forgetting. In addition, the seller should make it easier for prospects to take further steps, for example by conveying their address and telephone number.
In addition, the seller should prepare a purchase notice. This will make it easier for buyers to make transactions.
Those are the 6 long steps used in personal sales training. Then there are additions and changes in thinking about the stages. The addition is
Orientation on maintaining relationships
Use of various communication channels
Change at the prospecting stage
Changes in the per-approach stage
Changes to the approach stage
Changes at the presentation stage
Changes at the stage of overcoming objections
Changes to sales transactions
Changes at the follow-up stage
The personal sales literature adds follow-up to the sales stages. This follow-up is to ensure buyer satisfaction. The trick is to communicate, greet the buyer again and ask if they are satisfied with the purchase.
The rationale for this stage is that sales transactions are not the final destination, customer satisfaction is important. If customer satisfaction is achieved, they will buy again, or recommend to other buyers. That is an efficient form of sales work. Because the cost to maintain customer satisfaction is more efficient and has the opportunity to get better results than the cost of finding new customers.
Maintaining Relationship Orientation
In a relationship-oriented orientation, what sellers do is share information, create solutions and build relationships with prospects and customers. In the previous traditional stages, building closeness is a separate stage and is done when meeting with customers, in the form of shaking hands, talking about small things, creating a good impression. Furthermore, this orientation thinking to maintain the relationship is done by sharing useful things through social media, seminars, telephone and so on. Maintaining that relationship can be by giving a happy birthday and caring for customers’ problems.
Use of Various Communication Channels
Personal sellers now do not limit communication to face-to-face communication but use other means of communication that are also personal, namely email, Whatsapp, Facebook, and the web. These media can help the process of finding prospects, pre-approaches, presentations, transactions, and follow-up.
Change at the prospecting stage
The thinking of sales thinkers and practitioners continues to grow, following the development of technology as well. In research conducted by Moncrief in the United States, the prospecting stage tends to be no longer carried out by salespeople, it focuses on the presentation on prospects that have been prepared by other workers. Other workers look for prospects through telephone, internet, company databases but other parties in the company do. The reason, the salesperson is a very valuable asset. Their time is too valuable for prospecting. Better salespeople and customer relationship management (CRM) software.
Changes in the pre-approach stage
In the pre-approach stage, the seller studies the prospects’ needs and interests. Previously, this was the seller’s job. They take notes about meeting prospects, checking previous sales notes and so on. Then the thought of sales develops. This task is carried out by the team through CRM (Customer relationship management) software. This tool records transactions and communication with prospects and communicates with internal teams. This tool allows sellers to get the latest information about prospects and can communicate directly with prospects to get feedback.
Changes to the approach stage
New thinking about this stage of the approach is not limited to hospitality, but by learning the needs and interests of prospects and communicating solutions through various channels. At present various communication channels, through social media, telephones, websites and so on.
This approach is not necessarily done once but is done repeatedly with various variations. This is because the purchase rarely occurs in one approach.
CRM tools make it easy for sellers to group prospects based on their needs and interests and send messages according to the grouping.