Principles of Selling
Before we begin with the principles of selling, let us take a brief look at Marketing concept. Phillip Cotler sees marketing concept as the management orientation which states that the key task of an organization is to determine the needs, wants and value of its target market and to organize the company towards delivering the desired satisfaction in an efficient and effective manner than its competitors.
Stanton says the social and economic justification for the existence of a firm lies in its ability to satisfy the needs and wants of its target market. He believes that no organization can survive without customers, and it is only organizations that are customer oriented that will be able to survive in the business environment. To survive in the business environment, there are certain environmental factors you must take cognizance of, they are technology, political or legal, demographic, economic, socio cultural.
As marketing manager, in responding to these environmental factors, you use the marketing mix. i.e the 4ps of marketing. The 4ps of the marketing mix are controllable tools or elements which the marketing manager uses to meet the challenges of the macro elements of the environment. They are product, price, place and promotion.
In examining this mix, we believe that selling is embedded in promotion while product is anything that can be offered to a market for attention, acquisition, use and consumption. This definition for product incorporates tangible and intangible products. On the other hand, Price is the exchange value for a product while Place (distribution) bridges the gap between production and consumption. This involves place utility, time utility, possession utility and form utility.
Promotion is the communication variable in the marketing mix. Within it there is the promo-mix or promo tools. Promo-mix constituents include advertising, public relations, publicity, sales promotion and personal selling. Promo tools involve the use of coupons, samples, premiums etc. Selling is a managerial function; it bridges the gap between production and consumption.
Now let us look at the roles selling plays:
The socio- economic role of selling: selling as a function is inevitable, it is not optional, it is essential and inevitable in our economy because our economy is largely inflationary driven. Selling is highly productive In the sense that it benefits both the buyer (who is given value for his money ) and seller (who gets profit or commission. Socio economic benefits of selling include:
- Product innovation: Making improvements to better products
- Freedom of enterprise: Freedom of entry and exit to buyers and sellers
- High standard of living: It changes one’s consumption pattern.
- Economic growth: It leads to economic growth. The main activity in distribution for economic growth to come, investment must b rising
- It keeps business activities moving. The key activities in business are consumption, production and employment.
To drive home some sales, some companies would utilize personal selling. Personal selling is when a business uses people to promote personal relationship with customers and convince them of the need to buy a particular product. It typically occurs after face to face meetings with the client, and after the sales team has built some rapport with the client.
The role of personal selling in a firm.
- Persuasion: Selling is a persuasive act. It tries to make one interpret phenomena the same way the organization perceives it.
- Service: Convincing a prospective buyer might take the promise of top notch quality service. It may be pre-sale services or after sales services.
- Information: Information can make or mar a business. Through personal selling, you meet your competitors and your consumers who give you an insight to what is needed, the quality and for what reason it is needed.
Approach to personal selling
- Introductory approach: This means you get to the consumer or customers, and you first introduce yourself. Key notes include:
- Your appearance must be neat
- Bad mannerism must be eschewed
- The initial opening statement must be one that would get the relationship going.
- Tell the customer that your meeting with him or her is going to be of benefit to you, your company and him or her.
- Thank him or her for granting you audience
- Always remember that your first assignment is to get the consumer’s undivided attention
- Product approach: Note that the moment you are getting “out of stock”. They would want to listen to competitors, so do not allow them to get out of stock before getting your products to them. You can keep a buffer stock in case of emergencies.
- Consumer-benefit approach: Here, you use the features of the product to explain the benefit e.g one buys beauty in buying lipstick or clothing, one buys comfort or convenience in buying car etc.
- The referral approach: This is where a seller is referred to a consumer by a user. The mere mention of the name of the person who referred the seller gets him or her attention and relationship he wishes to establish.
- The shock approach:This is mostly used by insurance policy sellers e.g fire burglary, life. Etc. As the name implies, it is trying to sell a product to customers who are just recovering from shocks which could have been countered by the product. Fore example promoting a fire insurance policy to a shop owner who just got half of his shop burnt down.
- Theatrical approach: This involves the use of drums, beats and dancers to make a sale.
- Premium approach: This is the giving away of something of value in order to make prospective customers see the worth of the product you are trying to sell.
- Question approach:This is when you ask questions from the consumer and attempt to use consumer’s response In convincing him about the benefit of your product.
- Curiosity, selling: When you palace the consumer in a position that will necessitate his asking questions.
Schewe, Charles D., and Alexander Hiam, The Portable MBA in Marketing
Gary Armstrong., and Philip Kotler, Marketing an Introduction
Philip Kotler., and Kevin Lane keller, Marketing Management (14th Edition)