Institute of Public Administration (IPA) Sales Program
February , 2001
Selling Skills and Personal Selling
Prepared by Dr. Obaid Saad Alabdali
Visiting Professor at IPA
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Mineral,
College of Industrial Management,
Management and Marketing Department.
Prepared to Sales Program student, at Institute of Public Administration (IPA), Eastern Province.
As we move through the new century, companies are being forced, through competitive and economic pressure to become more market oriented.
The role of sale force in these firms is greatly expanded. Sales people take on more of a marketing consultant and coordinator role. They consult with their customers to help them identify needs and problems.
I will take a practical and managerial approach to teach Personal selling. I will provide practical local and international examples and application, showing the major decisions that the marketing manager will face.
This course will give the marketing students a managerial and practical introduction to selling skills and personal selling.
In class assignment and project 10%
Mid term Exam 1 25%
Mid term Exam 2 25%
Final Exam 30%
The policies of the Institute of Public Administration regarding the course attendance, exams, and etc. will be strictly followed without any exception.
The nature of Personal selling
The term marketing mix describes the combination of four ingredients;
Types of sales jobs
Order taker such as;
Driver (sales person)
Inside order takers
Outside order taker
Support sales people
Missionary sales person
Creative sales representative: tangible product
Creative sales representative: Services and other intangible
1.Driver-sales person. A position in which the sales person primarily delivers the product-for example, soft drinks, milk, or fuel oil. The selling responsibilities are secondary; few of these people originate sales.
2.Inside order-taker. A position in which the sales person is primarily an inside order-taker-for example, the retail clerk standing behind a counter. The customers come to the sales person, Most of them have already decided-to-buy, the sales person only serves the customer.
3.Outside order-taker. A position in which the sales person is primarily an outside order-taker, going to the customer in the field. Examples include a packing house, soap, or spice sales person who calls on retail food stores. These reps do little creative selling. In contacts with chain store personnel, they actually may be discouraged from doing any hard selling. That task is left to executives higher in the organization.
4.Missionary sales person. A sales job intended to build goodwill, perform promotional activities, and provide information and other services for the customers. A missionary sales rep is not expected or permitted to solicit an order.
5.Sales engineer. A position in which the major emphasis is placed on technical product knowledge.
6.Creative sales rep, tangible goods. A position that involves the creative selling of tangible goods such as vacuum cleaners, air-planes, encyclopedias, or oil-well drilling equipment. Here, the sales job often is more difficult because the customers may not be aware Or they may not realize how new products can satisfy their wants better than those they are presently using.
7.Creative sales rep, intangibles. A position that calls for selling intangibles such as services, ideas, or social causes. Intangibles are usually difficult to sell because you can't see, touch, taste, or smell them.
The preceding seven types of sales jobs may be regrouped into three categories-order-takers, sales-support personnel, and order-getters-
THE ROLE OF PERSONAL SELLING
Selling is one of the oldest professions in the world. The people who do the selling go by many names: salespeople, sales representatives, account executives, sales consultants, sales engineers, agents, district managers, and marketing representative.
People hold many stereotypes of salespeople including some unfavorable one. "
Such as: cigar smoking
Today, most salespeople are well-educated, well-trained professionals who work to build and maintain long-term relationships with customers. They build these relationships by;
Listening to their customers, assessing customer needs, and organizing the company's efforts to solve customer problems and satisfy customer needs.
For example, consider Boeing, the aerospace giant that dominates the worldwide commercial aircraft market with a 55 percent market share. It takes more than a friendly smile and a firm handshake to sell expensive airplanes:
Selling high-tech aircraft at $70 million or more a copy is complex and challenging. A single big sale can easily run into the billions of dollars. Boeing salespeople head up an extensive team of company specialists-sales and service technicians, financial analysts, planners, engineers-all dedicated to finding ways to satisfy airline customer needs.
The salespeople begin by becoming experts on the airlines, much like Wall Street analysts would. They find out where each airline wants to grow, when it wants to replace planes, and details of its financial situation. The team runs Boeing and competing planes through computer systems, simulating the airline's routes, cost per seat, and other factors to show that their planes are most efficient. Then the high-level negotiations begin.
The selling process is nerve-rackingly slow-it can take two or three years from the first sales presentation to the day the sale is announced.
Some- times top executives from both the airline and Boeing are brought in to close the deal. After getting the order, salespeople then must stay in almost constant touch to keep track of the account's equipment needs and to make certain the customer stays satisfied.
Success depends on building solid, long-term relation- ships with customers, based on performance and trust. According to one analyst, Boeing's salespeople "are the vehicle by which information is collected and contacts are made so all other things can take place."
The term salesperson covers a wide range of positions. At one extreme, a salesperson might be largely an order taker, such as-the department store sales- person standing behind the counter.
At the other extreme are order getters, sales- people whose positions demand the creative selling of products and services ranging from appliances, industrial equipment, or airplanes to insurance, advertising,
What makes a good salesperson?
Companies can simply check applicants for the following characteristics:
Some successful salespeople are:
Tall and some short
Some speak well and some poorly
Some dress fashionably, some shabbily
Characteristics of good sales people are:
Friend to the customer
Able to build good relationship with customers
Customer Focused Selling, Understanding customer needs, building trust, and delivering solutions…the smarter path to sales success. By Nancy J. Stephens with Bob Adams, 1998.
Anyone can sell!
What is wrong with the old selling approaches?
Customer focused selling
Knowledge is power
Finding new customer
Getting in the door
Breaking the ice: Setting the tone
Understanding the buyer
Selling by asking questions
Shut up and sell!
Selling solutions, not products
Getting past objections
Following up the sales call
Getting and staying enthusiastic
The twelve big keys to sales success
The twelve big sales mistakes
Dress to succeed
Selling to multiple decision making
Winning and dinning
Using electronic media to build sales
Succeed with customer focused selling
Chapter One: Anyone can sell
If you can read this, then you can sell.
Selling is just like any other skills: You can learn this skill.
Letting go of fear
When you rode a bicycle for the first time, you might have been afraid of falling and getting hurt.
When swam for the first time, you might have been afraid of forever disappearing.
What you need is practice and techniques
If you learn a good technique and practice, you will be very comfortable selling in no time at all.
The biggest obstacle is attitude.
If you think you cannot sell, then it becomes much more difficult to succeed.
But why think this?
It simply not true. Anyone can sell.
Approach selling with an open mind,
Learn the right skills
You will succeed
Why so many people wrongly believe they cannot sell?
Especially if you have never been done selling, the word “salesperson” probably brings to mind an image of bad things.
There is absolutely no need to believe this.
Selling start and ends with integrity
Sale is complete integrity and an honest and open attitude of helping customer. Be his friend.
Customers really do not care about you.
Customers care about themselves. They might at some point actually begin to like you. But whatever you do, they are going to like themselves even more. They want to make their business or career succeed.
Do not try to compete with them. You do not want to try to get them to buy from you just because they like you. This does not mean you should not be likable…
Customers really do not even care about your product or service.
Customer care about how your product or service may provide solutions for them. They are much more interested in figuring out how to meet their own business objectives than in hearing about product features.
Concentrate your selling effort on providing solutions not features
Putting yourself in the customer’s shoes
Do not just think about those product or service features. Put yourself right in the customer’s shoes.
1.What solutions are you really delivering to them?
2.What is your product or service going to do for them?
3.And why should they even listen to you?
Chapter 2: What is wrong with the old selling approaches?
The old approaches focus on getting the customer to “buy” your product or service and for you to “sell” the product or service. Much of the sales process focuses on product or service features or competitive comparisons.
The new approach is called customer focused selling
Customer focused selling has both you and the customer focusing on the same objective: providing a solution for the customer.
In the old approach you give reasons to customer to buy such as great product or service features, today special offer.
In customer focused selling you provide added value to customer.
Most of salespeople focused on themselves, their company, and their product’s features as opposed to taking the time and energy and effort to focus on the customer- their situation, their needs, and their issues, solving their problems.
What is wrong with product focused selling?
In this approach the salesperson’s central focus is on product or service features.
For example: a presentation might begin like this: “ our new industrial engine has 270 horsepower, 12 cylinder, 18 valves, and a 24 month guarantee.
A basic problem with this approach is that the buyer may not care! All too often a salesperson starts selling feature without even finding out what the concerns of the buyer are.
Does the buyer care how many horsepower or how many cylinder the engine has?
Each product has its selling points
Even if you know beyond doubt that your product or service has better feature overall, other sales reps selling products that are inferior can always find some true, positive selling points about their products. For the buyer it can all lead to a lot of confusion and frustration.
Another problem with selling focused on the product is that it does not lend itself well to building rapport and trust with the buyer. It lacks constructive interactivity.
What is wrong with selling against the competition?
One of the fastest ways to alienate your prospective customer is to start bashing your competitors or their products. Even if you are completely right, customers do not enjoy hearing negative things about other firms.
Talking negatively about other companies can ruin any ability to build trust.
Even if the negatives you are tempted to point out about your competitor’s products or services are completely true, do not do it.
In fact, under certain circumstances, you may even want to build trust by saying positive things about your competitors or even referring some business to them.
What is wrong with the “be my buddy” selling approach?
No buyer wants to think of himself as buying from you just because you are his friend or buddy. This does not mean you should not build relationship with potential customers, but it should not be your primary focus. And you should only build a relationship with the attitude that it will help your customers reach better solution with their business, not that it will give you a selling advantage.
In your first contacts with potential buyers, keep the small talk short, and be sure that you quickly progress to a business discussion focused on helping your customers build their business.
What is wrong with selling focused on “overcoming objections”?
Customer says: I cannot afford it.
Your respond: “you can pay in 10 installments
Customer says: I will think about it till tomorrow
Your respond: “The sales ends today.
Customer says: I will have to ask my wife
Your respond: Does your wife make all the decisions?
The basic problem with this approach is that it is like trying to win an argument with someone who has the exact opposite viewpoint.
Selling focused on the perfect close
Too many salespeople waste much time in endless search for the perfect close: the few magical words that will trick the customer into thinking they will have to buy the product or service.
Many salespeople find closing very difficult
High-pressure close are more likely than ever to lose sale
What is wrong with soft sell approach?
Leaving the customer with some information and letting them get back to you if they are interested-does have integrity, but it is rarely effective. Usually customers are not going to seriously consider buying from your solution unless you help show them how it might be able to help them
Chapter Three: Customer Focused Selling
Do not sell product! Sell customer
Help customers determine how you can help them solve their problem and meet their objectives.
You have to build rapport with them and win their trust.
Put yourself as you are there as inside consultant to help your prospect with tools (the product or service) you have available.
Do not focus on sell techniques. Focus on helping the customer.
Forget about trying to find the perfect sales introduction.
Forget about trying to polish the perfect sales presentation.
Forget about tying to find the perfect response to the most likely objections.
Forget about trying to find the perfect close.
Focus on the customer’s needs.
Never hide information
Never exaggerate the truth
You need to find out what the customer wants.
What the customer cares about.
What the customer is trying to achieve
How can you help your customer find added value?
You need to be totally focused on and serious in helping your customer. You need to focus towards how you can deliver as much benefit as possible towards customer’s objectives.
You need to be able to explore and address the many different concern of buyers.
Realizing that each customer is unique
Even if you selling a commodity, each customer has different concern.
Even if you and your competitor selling identical product at exactly the same prices, each customer will likely have very different concern issue that are important for the customer in achieving his or her objectives.
One customer for example, may be mainly concerned with payment terms; another may be primarily concerned about shipment schedule; another may be concern with the reliability of your suppliers.
Determining each customer concern and needs
To be sure to save your customer time, you should do as much advance research as you can about the customers’ business before you meet with them. (In the chapter “Pre call Planning” you will find more exercises.
Most of the crucial information about the customer’s concern and objectives you will have to hear from him or her. Be an open mind.
Establishing rapport and building trust are critical
Having the right attitude is a crucial first part. You must be totally committed to the idea of customer focused selling.
You must not assume that you know what issues are of the most concern to your customer until you have spoken to him or her.
Just having the right attitude feeling in your soul that you are there to help your customer, not just to make another sale-will help build the rapport and build the trust.
You will feel better about yourself
You will feel positive about being there calling on the client
You will have a higher level of confidence in yourself.
What you do and say the first few minutes of the sales call also send strong signals to the buyer.
Think of the customer as anew friend you are trying to help.
New friend, you do not want to sound or appear overly familiar too quickly.
Asking questions is a crucial part of determining the issues and concern of your customers.
Asking questions is also important part of building trust with customer. But you do not want to ask too many questions too early.
Effective listening is important too.
Shut up and start selling. The more you got your customer talk, the more you get your are going to help them find the right solution, and the more you are going to sell.
Listing is more than just letting other people talk. You put energy into listening to absorb all they are saying. Observe their tone and body language.
Make eye contact
Verbally acknowledge from time to time that you are internally listening
Summarize what you heard him or her say
Resist the temptation to start “selling” without addressing needs.
You should take as much time as you can to carefully work with the customer to identify his or her issues and concern before you start getting into how your product pr service may help.
Keep your presentation customized to the one customer
What you can offer is a presentation that address their concern and issues-and only their concern and issues.
Make two ways communication
Encourage questions, and comments
Do not think of closing the sale; think of gaining agreement
Once the agreement is inked and money has changed hands, how you act as salesman will make the difference. Follow up with your customers.
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes
Today’s buyers have more salespeople to choose from, so be sure they choose you!
Chapter 4: Knowledge is Power
To build good relation and gain trust with your customers, you have to be able to have knowledge-not only knowledge of your product line or services, but also knowledge of the competition, the industry, and your customer.
If your customers find out that you do not have a solid knowledge base, they are not going to give you the chance to work side by side with them to develop solutions to their issues.
Why Knowledge Is Power for Customer-Focused Selling
Knowledge helps you find prospects to call.
Knowledge helps you determine which prospects are most worthwhile to focus on.
Knowledge can immediately distinguish you from other salespeople and let a prospective customer know that you might really be able to help him or her.
Knowledge helps you build rapport with and gain trust from your customer.
Knowledge helps you ask appropriate questions in defining the customer's issues, concerns, and objectives
Knowledge helps you apply judgment in determining which product or service may best provide a solution for your customer.
Knowledge helps you articulate how your products may help your customer.
Knowledge makes you aware of your product strengths versus those of competing alternatives (but never bash the competition).
Knowledge helps you paint a picture for the customer of how your products and services and your company my continue to provide solutions for the customer in the future.
Knowledge makes you a valuable reference person your customers win want to turn to and listen to for industry information.
Knowledge will increase the possibilities for repeat contact with customers.
Knowledge that helps customers will increase your number of referrals.
Knowledge will improve your ability to network.
Chapter 5: Finding New Customer
The best way to get business is to get repeat business from current customers.
The next best way to get business is to get referrals from your current customers
The best and worst ways to find leads
The worst way to generate leads is through completely unqualified lists, such as phone book. Because it means that you have no relationship with prospect, no targeting criteria and virtually no information about the lead.