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Sales & Distribution Mngmt - Techniques
Sales techniques are techniques for selling a product or service for marketing success. In layman terms, it’s a combination of talking to the right people and finding out what they actually want to buy; it depends on consumer choice and preference.
A salesperson using sales techniques doesn’t just sell the products. In fact, he looks at the customer’s need or want and then offers the product after explaining its advantages and disadvantages.
This helps the customer to differentiate among available products, making the decision easy for the customer. This way of selling is more impressive than sampling delivering the product.
It also helps to build a rapport between the customer and the salesperson who understands how much the product is worth to the customer.
Conceptual selling is a type of sales technique, which requires the salesperson to first understand their customer’s issues, i.e., what they are trying to accomplish, fix or avoid. Then the salesperson applies his expertise to find a solution for the customer.
By applying this approach, its helps to build trust with customers and the solution found becomes difficult for the competitors to replicate. Conceptual selling is like introducing a new technology, a revolutionary delivery method, a different way of serving customers and finding a new way to resolve old problems.
Conceptual selling is classified into the following four categories −
- Fundamental need
Perception is the way a person looks at something. It differs from person to person and it is also possible for the perception of two people to be alike. This psychological proposal asks the consumer to change the attitudes towards something or view it in a different way from the existing point of view.
In other words, the seller requests the buyer to view things from a different perspective.
Change is vital and a thing cannot be the same for a long period of time. The first step itself relates to change. Most of the times, the first step is conceptual selling. The buyer should be interested in listening to new ideas and seriously apply himself to something different.
While the seller describes the product to the consumer, he wants an emotional relation with the consumer. The seller should be passionate and eager; it plays a major role in selling. This helps to increase credibility with the consumer and also helps to retain the consumer for a long period of time.
The fundamental need of a product satisfies a conceptual sale. The assumption is that the product serves as a catalyst for the change that the seller petitions. In case the consumer does not understand that this fundamental need, he will not buy the product.
Sales negotiation refers to the mutual discussion between the buyer and the seller for a transaction or agreement. The negotiation can be a formal event at a specific date and time. It can also be an ongoing process at different points in sales process.
Why does a salesperson negotiate? The answer is because of a customer’s attitude towards the product or service. A customer’s attitude can be categorized in four categories −
In this category, the customer shows an opposition to the product or service. The customer is not satisfied with the product and opposes and raises a query against the product.
The customer is not interested or shows less interest in the product; the reason could be no perceived need for its benefits.
The customer has the perception of the product and its benefits but is in dilemma if the product offered can really provide any benefit.
In this category, the customer agrees with the benefits as advised by the salesperson and has no objections or negative feedback towards the product.
Thus, we can conclude that negotiation skills are required to change a customer’s perception towards a product or service.
Sales Negotiation Strategies
A salesperson needs to practice some negotiation strategies to deal with customers. The best way is to draw them into a problem-solving partnership. The initial step is to focus on the issues where the salesperson and the customer have the most agreement.
The salesperson has to take a stiff position initially so that when he compromises, the customer feels that he has negotiated a bargain. The motive should be to concentrate on solving the issues that satisfies the needs of both the buyer and the seller. Solutions of the issues should be certain for both the parties to work on.
It’s very important to keep a record of the issues resolved in the process of discussion and to request recaps to confirm the progress being made. This helps to roll up the discussion and easily arrive at the final conclusion.
The following are the four types of negotiation outcomes −
Seller Win – Buyer Win
In this outcome, there is a Win-Win situation for both the buyer and the seller. Out of the four, this is the only outcome that leads to long term success for both the parties.
Seller Win – Buyer Lose
In this case, the seller wins but the buyer loses. If the customer is not satisfied, the business relationship is in trouble, as it may affect the reputation of the company.
If the customer feels that he is not satisfied or has been manipulated regarding the product description, he may refuse to have something. If his nature is aggressive, he may take action against the salesperson.
Seller Lose – Buyer Win
The buyers win in the negotiation and the salesperson will feel short changed and try to avoid the situation or even future negotiation. In this outcome also, the buyer and seller relationship is in trouble.
Seller Lose – Buyer Lose
Both the buyer and seller lose and are dissatisfied. After this outcome, it is very unlikely in future to have any negotiation between the two parties.
Reverse selling refers to a situation where the buyers get a chance to respond to the sales negotiation or feedback regarding the product or service. If we observe keenly, in most of the cases, the seller talks too much and is always ready to question.
Reverse selling is just the opposite. The buyers have to provide the feedback, which helps to develop a long term relationship between the buyer and the seller. By doing this, the company can understand the pros and cons of its products and services, which helps to improvise and make changes accordingly.
The traditional way of selling a product used by a salesperson is that he/she pressurizes the prospective buyer.
Once the company has listed all the points and the required information, they need to prepare a questionnaire. The questions should begin with broad issues and should allow the buyer to express his/her point of view.
Engaging the Buyer
Questions can be open ended or close ended. If the questions are close ended, the buyer will not be able to apply his own perception or points. An open ended question gives the buyer a chance to explain an issue or to provide a proper feedback, whether positive or negative.
When a buyer evaluates a product, whether to purchase or otherwise, it gives an opportunity to the seller to pitch in and re-confirm the perception of the buyer. It helps improve the relationship. The seller can better understand how to deal with the situation and what can be offered to the buyer to satisfy his/her needs.
We can thus conclude that reverse selling has now become an important part in today’s competitive market.
Take away selling techniques have become very famous in recent times. As the name suggests, in this type, the buyer takes the product and moves on. In the traditional system, the regular and take away counter used to be the same and people had to wait for long even to take a small parcel.
In the following illustration, we can see a modern take away counter, where the buyer can easily grab a parcel and move on. Such take away counters help the buyer to the get the product in less time.
In a few places, we have a take away counter where the customer orders the product from one side and the delivery is made on the other side of the road. This also saves a lot of time for the buyer.
Sales outsourcing is a way by which one company outsources its process or part of the process to the other company. The company outsources its work to increase the sales volume without link to the sales team that carries on the sales campaigns.
The company that undertakes the process will be paid on a contract basis or the as per the mutual understanding between both the parties. The other party is accountable and answerable regarding all sales activities while representing the brand to the client. That party is responsible for all the operations associated with direct sales activities.
The main purpose of sales outsourcing is to reduce the cost of production. For example, in London, the labor cost is high as compared to India. So the company would like to outsource the process to India and get the work done in less cost as compared to the home country.
Advantages of Sales Outsourcing
Sales outsourcing is cheaper as compared to fully loaded cost of employing sales personnel. The advantage of sales outsourcing is increasing the revenue for the company by providing the same process in a different way, i.e., by a third party.
The company may also select outsourcing as a means to access the best sales skills. From the company’s point of view, if the work gets done in half of the cost as compared to the previous method, it will obviously outsource.
Another reason of outsourcing relates to a company that wants to set up its market in a new place. It would rather provide the contract to a local agency because they will understand the need and perception of that locality. This helps the company to easily set up the business and capture the market faster.