Ever green sales concepts

Ever green sales concepts

Concepts are like appetisers. They whet the appetite for the main meal (the theory). But a fine balance has to be maintained. If the appetisers are not interesting, the main meal will not be consumed heartily. And if the appetisers are too good, the main meal will not be consumed at all.

Concepts are like appetisers. They whet the appetite for the main meal (the theory). But a fine balance has to be maintained. If the appetisers are not interesting, the main meal will not be consumed heartily. And if the appetisers are too good, the main meal will not be consumed at all.

Keeping the above in mind, I would walk a tight rope. The aim is to inform and excite the reader to get more information by themselves.

1) PSS - 'Professional Selling Skills’: It is a highly structured selling process pioneered by the US Xerox (and UK Rank Xerox), the photocopier organisation during the 1960s. It has been adopted by countless business-to-business sales organisations, normally called the 'Seven Steps of the Sale'. PSS places a huge reliance on presentation, overcoming objections and umpteen different closes (asking for an order). PSS is now less popular than the more modern 'Open Plan' two-way process. The structured one-way manipulative style of PSS leaves most modern buyers completely cold.

2) Elevator pitch: It is a short summary used quickly and easily to explain a profession, product, service, organisation or an event. The name "elevator pitch" reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator (lift) ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes. The term itself comes from a scenario of an accidental meeting with someone important in the elevator. If the conversation inside the elevator in those few seconds is interesting and value adding, the conversation will continue after the elevator ride or end in exchange of business cards or a scheduled meeting. Many sales people rehearse and use elevator pitches to get their point across quickly.

3) Trial close: It is a technique by which a sales person tests the prospect's readiness to buy, traditionally employed in response to a buying signal, e.g.: prospect says: "Do you have them in stock?" to which the sales person would reply: "Would you want one if they are?" This should be used with extreme care as many customers might resent the question and feel that it is impertinent. If one sees a buying signal there's no need to jump on it - just answer it politely.

Used by pushy salesmen, it is the process of testing the waters. The sales man is testing the resistance of the buyers. If there is no resistance, the sales man would go in for the Kill (ask for the order). Pushy trail closures will not work in the modern era where the customer is confident of himself and will not accept intrusive salesmen.

4) Face of the company: In a sales situation, a company can’t monitor the activities of the sales person all the time. When the sales person is interacting with the customer, he becomes the company. Rather he is the face of the company. If he is polite and professional, the company will be perceived positively and if he is rude to the customer, the customer is inclined to have a negative opinion. The company has to recruit its sales people with care as they can impact the customer’s opinions and perceptions.

5) Moment of truth: It is what a salesman lives for. It is the culmination of all efforts that the sales person has put in, right from the pre-prospecting stage. The sales person would have moved the customer from the stone cold level of interest to the cold level then to a warm level and finally to buying readiness. The customer is ready.

The sales person has to maximise his time with the customer and see that his objective is achieved. The moment of truth has to be utilised in the optimal fashion. In the retail sector, the moment of truth is when the customer takes the product in his hands and examines it. If he is interested, the sale is made. If not, the entire marketing process has gone waste.

6) Galvanometer test: A research method that measures physiological changes in consumers when asked a question or shown some stimulus such as an advertisement. The most famous case that is always quoted is the Senior Bush’s election speech in which he says “read my lips no new taxes”. This particular speech was given the galvanometer test and when Senior Bush uttered the above words, he got a very positive response. The speech was later widely used by senior Bush and is cited as one of the reasons of his victory during that presidential election.

7) Mystery shopping: One of the critical elements in a retail organisation is to measure the effectiveness of its sales personnel. The sales people may not perform their best when there is no supervision but will turn into angels of virtue once they are observed.This problem can be solved by mystery shopping, which is a covert operation by trained researchers. In mystery shopping, trained operators would pretend as customers and act as customers to get information about their selling techniques and their selling effectiveness.

The mystery consumer's specific identity and purpose is generally not known by the establishment’s sales personnel being evaluated. Mystery shoppers perform specific tasks such as purchasing a product, asking questions, registering complaints or behaving in a certain way, and then providing detailed reports or feedback about their experiences, which can be used to rectify deviant behaviour and improve performance of the stores.

8) Missionary selling: This is a concept that comes from pharmaceutical marketing. It is said that religion is not marketed directly and that missionaries take the indirect route to interest the people in taking up their religion. The same is followed in pharmaceutical marketing. The medical representative counsels the doctor. The doctor in turn prescribes the medicine and the patient buys it from the medical shop. As the sale is transacted indirectly, this marketing is termed “missionary selling”.

9) Canned presentation: This also comes from pharmaceutical marketing. In formulations/ pharmaceutical marketing, the medical representative plays a submissive role in the selling process. The buyer (the prescribing doctors sees himself as a know all) is pressed for time and gives very little time for the medical representative. As there is little time, the medical representative practices his pitch to the last T and presents it in rapid fire fashion in the shortest time possible. So any presentation that is totally pre-rehearsed and presented in the shortest possible time is called a canned presentation.

10) Leaking bucket: This is a concept taken from hard core selling. It was believed that there are always more customers than products available and that the company would keep on getting orders or sales in spite of bad service and disgruntled customers. The concept believes that older customers who buy the product get dissatisfied and move away only to be replaced with eager new customers who take the place of the old customers. Just like a leaking bucket, where new water keeps on replacing old water which keeps flowing out.

11) Funnel theory: It says that the funnel is broadest at the top and narrowest at the bottom. If a sales person has to get five orders per month consistently, he or she has to see that the prospective or cold customers are many more at the top of the funnel.

Twenty five cold customers will whistle down to 20 warm customers, 20 warm customers in turn will result in 15 hot customers and 15 hot customers will become 10 eager to buy customers. Out of these 10 eager to buy customers, five orders can be finalised. The beauty of this concept is that if one wants a sale of five machines in June, the seeds of sale of that month have to be laid in the months of March, April and May.

12) Don’t Sell the Steak—Sell the Sizzle! : This can be credited to Elmer Wheeler, a sales lecturer and consultant, who wrote an influential book in 1937 titled "Tested sentences that sell." The book first popularised an advertising term, “Don’t Sell the Steak—Sell the Sizzle!” The principle, however, is much older than Wheeler. The idea is to suggest (but not directly assert) an association between the product and some drama, pleasure, fear, emotion, or desire.

By:Dr M Anil Ramesh

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