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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Sales Management Notes: Personal Selling

Unit – 3: Personal Selling
Personal selling is a face-to-face selling technique by which a salesperson uses his or her interpersonal skills to persuade a customer in buying a particular product. The salesperson tries to highlight various features of the product to convince the customer that it will only add value. However, getting a customer to buy a product is not the motive behind personal selling every time. Often companies try to follow this approach with customers to make them aware of a new product.
Personal selling (or salesmanship) is the most traditional method, devised by manufactures, for promotion of the sales of their products. Prior to the development of the advertising technique, personal selling used to be the only method used by manufacturers for promotion of sales.
According to Philip Kotler, “"Personal Selling is the face to face interaction with one or more perspective purchasers for the purpose of making presentations, answering questions, and procuring orders"
According to Duncan, “Salesmanship is the art of presenting an offering so that the prospect appreciates the need for it and a mutually satisfactory sale follows.”
W. Major Scott, “It is the part of a salesman’s’ business to create demand by demonstrating that the need does exist, although before his visit there was no consciousness of that need.”

Nature of Personal Selling
Personal selling plays a significant role in our economy and in the organization’s marketing program. Personal selling plays a strategic role in the total sales-force management. Personal selling plays an effective role in the following situations:
1.       When the value of the product is not readily apparent to the prospective customers.
2.       When the product is quite technical, has high unit cost and requires demonstration to explain its utility.

3.       When the product is in the introductory stage of its life cycle.
4.       When the market is geographically concentrated in few industries or a group of select customers.
5.       When the product to be marketed has to be fitted to individual customer’s requirements (like securities or insurance)
6.       When the enterprise does not want to spend large amount of money to sustain adequate advertisement campaign.
7.       When the product requires after sale services.
8.       When the product enjoys no brand loyalty.
9.       When the customers need immediate answers to their queries.
10.   When the customers require persuasion and follow up in the back-drop of competition.
Personal selling occurs in almost every human interaction. Apart from business situations, it occurs in varying life situations also. For example, Personal selling occurs even when (a) An executive recruits a marketing personnel; (b) A lawyer convinces the judge that his client is innocent; (c) The principal addresses a group of students to encourage them to attend social services; (d) A child persuades her mother to buy her something from e Toys.
In business situations personal selling could be in two ways:
a)      Customers coming to the sales person.
b)      Sales force going to the customers.
Customers’ coming to the sales personal is called inside selling. Most of the sales people in the store houses or retail show rooms or telephone order takers come under this category. Most of the existing customers’ orders are taken over telephone by the wholesalers or manufacturers or retailers. Inside selling saves most of the selling efforts of the sales force, because customers are themselves coming to the sales personnel to place orders.
Sales force going to the customers is called outside selling. In this form of personal selling, sales personnel contact the customer on telephone or in person. The representatives of producers/manufacturers go to consumers’ homes to demonstrate the products, give advice, provide an estimate and book the orders to deliver the products. Here the persuasion and convincing power of the sales personnel become very significant.
Personal selling is an art of selling. The personal selling is called an art of selling because it makes presentation to convince the other persons. The salesman must have the knowledge about the customer perceptions, attitudes and must have the skills to customize the demonstration according to the situation.
Advertisements’ done by the companies focus on a large group or segment of perspective customers. On the other hand, the personal selling is directed at a single perspective customer only and is aimed to influence that customer only. A salesman modifies his presentation according to the attitude, perception and requirements of the customer. Personal selling involves the following attributes:
1.       Face to Face Communication: Personal selling involves communication between the salesman and the perspective customer face to face. This is one of biggest advantage of personal selling that the salesman can modify his demonstration according to the customer and customer can ask his queries more conveniently.
2.       Different Types of Selling: Personal selling involves different types of selling depending on the situation to situation. As per the nature and requirements of the customers, sales force can adopt cold selling, soft selling, retail selling etc.
3.       Different Personal Selling Techniques: As the businesses differ in their size and resources, different size of sales force and different personal selling techniques are applied depending upon the different marketing strategies of each organization.
4.       Personal Selling Analysis Major Policy: Personal selling sales persons are more aware of the major policies and the managerial problems of the organization and help the organization in communicating the benefits of their products to the perspective customers.
5.       Different Levels of Personal Selling: There are different levels of personal selling at the initial level of personal selling, the salesman only work as order takers and when they gain experience they give presentation and demonstrate the product.
6.       Persuade: Personal selling also persuades different market intermediaries to stock more of the company’s product with their personal inter mediation.
7.       Personal Relationship: Under personal selling, the company through its salesmen tries to make personal relationships with the customers.
8.       Professionals: Sales force is well educated and professional. Sales persons, through their professional presentation, try to make long term relationships with the customers. They know the art of opening sales, making demonstrations and of closing the sales.
9.       Solve Customers’ Problems: Personal selling is a technique of selling that better solves the problems and doubts of customers. As the salesman is doing direct face to face talk with the customers, he is able to handle the situation in a better way.
10.   Participation of Buyers: Personal selling is that medium of communicating with the buyers that involve buyers in the transaction process. Prospective customers clear out their doubts and involve themselves in the demonstration given by the salesman.

11.   Integrated Strategies: Personal selling when integrated with the other forms of communicating message to the consumers brings maximum communication effects which lead to more sales.
Objectives of Personal Selling
Objectives of personal selling are divided into two parts: Qualitative and Quantitative objectives. The qualitative personal selling objectives are long term and concern the contribution management expects personal selling to make in achieving long-term company objectives. These objectives generally are carried over from one period’s promotional program to the next. Depending upon company objectives and the promotional mix, personal selling may be assigned such qualitative objectives as:
1. To do the entire selling job (as when there are no other elements in the promotional mix).
2. To “service” existing accounts (that is, to maintain contacts with present customers, take orders, and so forth).
3. To search out and obtain new customers.
4. To secure and maintain customers’ cooperation in stocking and promoting the product line.
5. To keep customers informed on changes in the product line and other aspects of marketing strategy.
6. To assist customers in selling the product line.
7. To provide technical advice and assistance to customers (as with complicated products and where products are especially designed to fit buyers’ specializations).
8. To assist (or handle) the training of middlemen’s sales personnel.
9. To provide advice and assistance to middlemen on management problems.
10. To collect and report market information of interest and use to company management.
The basic considerations in setting qualitative personal selling objectives are decisions on sales policies and personal selling strategies and their role in the total promotional program. After this role is defined, qualitative long-term personal selling objectives are set. In turn, the qualitative personal selling objectives become the major determinants of the quantitative personal selling objectives. The quantitative objectives assigned to personal selling are short term and are adjusted from one promotional period to another. The sales volume objective-the rupee or unit sales volume management sets as the target for the promotional period-is the key quantitative objective. All other quantitative personal selling objectives are derived from or are related to the sales volume objective. Thus, discussion here focuses upon the setting of sales volume objectives. Setting the sales volume objective influences the setting of other quantitative personal selling objectives, among them the following:
1. To capture and retain a certain market share.
2. To obtain sales volume in ways that contribute to profitability (for example, by selling the “optimum” mix of company products).
3. To obtain some number of new accounts of given types.
4. To keep personal selling expenses within set limits.
5. To secure targeted percentages of certain accounts’ business.
Significance of Personal Selling
Due to increased expectations of consumers on one end and customer orientation approach of companies on the other end, the personal selling is given more priority. Many companies enjoy a strong position in market only due to effective personal selling. Salesman can personally attend each customer to convince as well to solve problems. Note that personal selling in not only important to sell the products, but also to create permanent customers. Salesman can renew customer relations each time. People have more faith on salesman than exaggerated advertisement. Following points explain the importance or benefits of personal selling:
1.       Two-Way Communication: It is the best tool for two-way communication. Salesman can provide necessary information to customer about company’s offer, and also can collect information from customer. Customer can actively involve with salesman to solve his doubts and objections. It is not possible in any other methods of market promotion.
2.       Personal Attention: Advertising and publicity are among mass communication tools. They do not cater individual needs. Personal selling focuses on personal problems of customers. It is comparatively more effective and result-oriented.
3.       Detail Demonstration: Except television advertisements, demonstration is not possible. However, television demonstration is much limited. Salesman can provide a detail demonstration and can supervise when customer is making the actual use of products. For technical products, it has more relevance.
4.       Complementary to other Promotional Tools: Personal selling can support advertising, sales promotion, and publicity. It removes the drawbacks of advertising and sales promotion. Advertising increases awareness while personal selling reinforces the advertising message. Similarly, it can make sales promotion tools more effective by personal guidance or conviction.
5.       Personal Selling Creates Time Utility: Personal selling creates time utility for the customers by making available the goods and services as and when needed to their door steps.
6.       Personal Selling Creates Place Utility: Personal selling creates place utility by making goods and services available at the place where it is required. Sales persons go door to door and make demonstrations to the potential customers. Thus they not only provide knowledge about the products but also save the time of the customers by making goods at their doorsteps.
7.       Immediate Feedback: This is the only market promotion technique that provides an immediate feedback. At the end of every call/visit, a salesman can easily judge whether the customer is interested or indented to buy.
8.       Individual Services: Salesmanship offers individual services. It can meet personal expectations of buyers. It leads to customer satisfaction.
9.       Flexibility: Sales talks and presentation can be adjusted according to situation to suit individual nature, motives, and problems.
10.   Customer Confidence: By systematic sales talk and presentation, a capable salesman can remove all doubts, quarries, objections and misunderstandings, and can win customer’s confidence. It increases customers’ faith in company and its offers.
11.   Triple Rewards: Salesmanship offers triple rewards. It benefits all parties, including customer, salesman, and company. Customer is satisfied with products and services; salesman can achieve his targets; and company can improve its market share and profits.
12.   Improving Image: Note that salesmanship can remove bad image or misunderstanding by highlighting company’s achievements and offers. The detailed explanation about company and its products removes all doubts and misunderstandings. It helps in restoring company image and reputation in market.
13.   Importance of Personal Selling to the Companies: Personal selling plays a vital role in the promotion of the products for the companies. Personal selling approaches potential customers and provides them with the beneficial information about the products and services of the company. Customers clear their doubts and queries from the sales persons and thus it results in increase in revenue of the company
14.   Importance of Personal Selling to Non Business Organizations: Personal selling is also useful for the non profit organizations. For example, Politicians do use the personal selling approach to gain votes during election days. They interact with general public door to door and convince them that they are the right choice who will solve their problems and provide more benefits to them.
Limitations of Personal Selling
All is not well with the process of personal selling. It has certain inherent limitations. These are:
1.       Expensive: A full-fledged personal selling efforts is costly. No doubt, personal selling minimizes wasted effort, but the cost of developing and operating a sale force is quite high. Further it becomes difficult to attract and retain the quality sales force.
2.       Customer Loyalty at Stake: The relationship between the sales company and the clientele is built by the efforts of sales person. The clientele starts developing loyalty withy the sales person. The moment the sales person moves out, the clientele drops down to the determent of the company. Thus with personal selling, the fortunes of the company and tied to the loyalty of the consumers which, in turn, depends on the very presence of sales person.
3.       Difficulty of getting right kind of salesmen: Though, theoretically certain guidelines are prescribed for getting right kind of salesmen from the potential candidates, it is really very difficult to get suitable salesmen from company’s point of view. The potential salesmen so selected, trained and placed, do not guarantee loyal service to the company.
4.       Administrative problems: Personal selling involves more of administrative problems than impersonal selling. Since, the firm is to deal with manpower a driving force behind sales the company has to meet the challenges in the areas of manpower-planning, organizing, directing, coordinating, motivating and controlling. The solutions to these problems, even if found out, are not everlasting because, human content in management is unique.

5.       Little Respect as a profession: Salesmanship as a profession commands very little respect not only in India but all over the world. Many go in for salesmanship as it has easy entry points. Many incompetent people try their hands and heads. As, it is, every Tom, Dick and Harry's line, it has become a profession of last resort. Again, the easy entry is there because, there are no need of high standards of academic achievements nor any criteria which is universally applicable. These salesmen, all of them, do not have minimum of educational qualifications nor training. Those who are gifted or have aptitude are rare to find.
6.       Chances of Fraud: In salesmanship, there are good chances of fraud and deception. Malpractices that are followed by salesman —not all are sufficient to damage the very image of salesmanship — the great art and profession which is thrilling, challenging and paying. Such unscruptious salesmen are furnishing the very image of noble profession of serving the humanity.
7.       Limited Reach: One disadvantage is that your customer reach is limited through personal sales. As a result, it will require extended time period to create product awareness, particularly if we don’t use other forms of advertising. Sales representatives have to cover up one region or place at a time.
Types of Personal Selling
There are different types of selling that are applied to sell the goods and services directly to the customers. There are different requirements of different customers which are fulfilled by the use of these different approaches to selling. The different types of selling are explained as follows:
a)      Cold Selling: This type of selling involves a sales person who walks on street to street and calls the customers. The success of this kind of selling depends on the skills and abilities of the sales person that how much interest he can create in the minds of customers for the given products.
b)      Department Selling: This type of selling includes maintenance of goods and long term relationships with the companies and then using long term relationships in the process of distribution of goods and services to the ultimate consumers.
c)       New Product Selling: This type of personal selling is applied when company introduces a new product line when their existing product lines are already in the market. For example, Hindustan Unilever Limited introduces a new line of shampoos. It creates demand by distributing shampoos pouches free through personal selling.
d)      Service Selling: This type of personal selling is applicable in case of services. Here, the task of the sales person is to sell the company services to different users.
e)      System Selling: In this type of personal selling, the salesman has in depth knowledge about the company’s product line. He not only have the knowledge about the product, but he also have in depth understanding about the technical details of the product. He can demonstrate to the customers not only about the company’s product but can also compare the product with that of the competitors and can explain the different attributes of the products to the customers.
f)       Team Selling: Team selling includes a team of salesmen, engineers, technicians and people from various departments who have all the knowledge regarding company’s products. This is an emerging type of selling which is very effective because it involves people from various departments.
g)      Retail Selling: Retail selling includes a sales person who is a direct link between the company and the final customers. The retail salesman gets compensation on various basis. Some salesmen gets fixed salary and others gets commission of the sales made by them.
h)      Relationship Selling: It is also known as Consultative Selling. This is a new trend in personal selling. It emphasis on building long term relationships with the customers and then selling new products to them. Research has also provide that cost of selling to the existing customers is only 10 percent of the cost of selling to the new customers.
i)        Sales Force Automation (SFA): Sales force automation includes using computer technology in the process of selling to make the whole process convenient and more effective, For example, order processing, information sharing, inventory monitoring, inventory control are done conveniently through computer application and software. With the sales force automation now the customers can track their orders online also.
Personal Selling as a Career
In this career, there are many challenges that the salesman will have to face. But there are also immense opportunities for growth that attracts many people to this challenging career.
1)      Job Security: The salesmen will receive their salary even if the company is in losses. Companies will never losses their good salesmen because they are the one who contribute sales revenue and value to the company directly.
2)      Attractive Salaries: Salesmen receive attractive salaries. They get their fixed salary and also the commission on the extra efforts put in by them. This provides an opportunity to the sales persons to earn higher than the other employees of the company.
3)      Psychological Satisfaction: Sales persons will receive more recognition if they put in their best efforts. They get awards and many monetary benefits for their direct contribution in the enhancement of company’ turnover.
4)      Opportunities for Growth: Sales persons will have to work in different situations and different markets each time. It will provide opportunity to develop and ultimately the skills of the sales person will develop. They will get many opportunities for their growth in selling career.
Difficulties in Sales Career
1.       Daunting Profession: A sales person’s job is a very challenging. He needs to put in much effort to complete the sales. In today’s busy life, no one pays much attention to the sales persons at the doorstep. A sales person needs to complete the sales of the product from the very initial contact with the prospective buyers.
2.       Little Respect for Beginners: The beginners in these fields do not get recognition easily. A reason for this is that, this profession does not require any professional qualification. So it also attracts a lot of incompetent persons in this field. No minimum qualification makes a perception in the minds of people that this is not a respectable job.

3.       Target Based Environment: Generally, the sales persons do not have any fixed salary income. Their salary level depends on the sales done by them. So their job is basically target based. Sometimes sales persons may not achieve their targets, which make them frustrated.
4.       Rude Customers: Sales persons may not get good mood customers all the times. Customers behave rudely with the sale persons. Different types of customers need to be handled differently. The rude and un respectful behaviour of the customers towards sales persons discourages people to enter this profession.
5.       Layoffs of Un productive Sales persons: Company usually layoff the unproductive sales persons. Personal selling is not a secured job. So persons usually do not enter this field. To save his job, a sales person is required to put his best in every situation to promote the sales of the company.
Steps in Personal Selling Process
In personal selling, a sales person has to go through various steps, which are explained as follows:
a)      Identifying Prospects: The first step in the personal selling process is identifying the prospects who can be your final customers. For example if your company manufactures rubber, then the prospects will include all the manufacturers who use rubber in their manufacturing process, like – rubber tyre manufactures etc.  A sales person can find the all the prospects by
Ø  Trade shows.
Ø  Data bases.
Ø  Existing customers.
Ø  Internet enquiry.
Ø  Channel members, etc.
b)      Qualifying Prospects: After identifying all the prospects, the qualifying ones are find out. It is basically the screening process that who can be the more potential buyers, who not only have the willingness to buy your product but also have the capacity to buy the product. These qualifying prospects are then contacted like a proper target market.
c)       Pre Approach: The sales person then tries to find the prospective customer’s needs and present perceptions. Many prospects are busy at certain times of the day. The sales person tries to find out the right time to meet the prospects. He makes initial calls to the potential customers and tries to make an initial contact with the prospects.
d)      Sales Approach: After pre approach, the sales person makes a final approach to the potential customers to make them convince regarding the benefits of the product. As there is a very popular saying that first impression is the last impression. A sales person must behave politely and courteously. He needs to develop a good relation with the potential buyers.
e)      Presentations and Demonstrations: After sales approach, the potential customers are given presentations and demonstrations about the company’s products and they are explained about the benefits and features of the product. Using multimedia makes the presentations more effective and interesting. Audio, video tools are used to create interest in the presentations. The sales professionals must have all the knowledge regarding the company’s product and its attributes.
f)       Handling Grievance and Objections: Potential customers may have doubts regarding the product features and may have other queries too. A good salesman solves all the queries of the potential customers effectively so as to make them convince regarding the benefits of the product. The sales person provides more information about the product to the potential customers to solve their queries.
g)      Closing the Sales: After handling all the grievances and objections, a good sales person needs to close out the sales process effectively. The sales person may give some information, booklets, brochures, pamphlets to the potential customers. The sales person may ask the potential customers to buy the product. He can ask the prospects that at what time they would like to take the delivery, what color they would prefer etc.
h)      Follow Up: A good sales person will keep a regular follow up with the customers so that they again purchase from the same company. The sales person’s objective is not to make a sales, but his objective is to make long term relationship with the customers and make loyal customers towards the products of the company.
A good approach is one that is characterized by the following essentials can be expected of an effective approach. These requisites are very nicely developed by Prof. Russel, Beach and Buskirk in their standard work namely “textbook of salesmanship”. These essentials can also be called as principles. These are –
1.       Making suitable appointment: The appointments of salesman with a prospect may be definite or elastic in terms of time. Whatever may be the type, the salesman is to plan his visits with sufficient margin of time between two appointments or interviews. Much depends on the prospect himself as to prefer a definite appointment to elastic one or vice versa.
2.       Timing the approach: Wise salesman meets his prospects at the most opportune time. Opportune time implies his receptive mood. To sell the products like fans, fridges, air coolers etc. he is to meet just before the summer season. The person selling cars, T.V. sets, scooters should see the prospects just after the promotion and so on.
3.       Using the business card: It is almost a necessity these days to use visiting cards. The question is that of handing over these cards before or after meeting the prospects. In addition to these cards, it is suggested by some veterans that these cards should be accompanied by some presentations.
4.       Looking good/attractive: Appearance of a salesman is of top significance in approach. What impression other carry about him is a key factor. It is his look or appearance that clears the way and can straight talk to the prospect. Appropriate appearance fits the occasion and makes him more important that speaks of his poise and dignity.
5.       Avoiding an early dismissal: Quite often, the salesman has the fear of being dismissed well before he could present his ideas of his proposal. This happens either because of the disinterest of the prospect or the inability of the salesman to make the scene. The secret lies in his appealing to his buying motives and presenting interesting and latest information to him.
6.       No apology: The salesman should never apologize for taking the valuable time of the prospect. In fact, he should feel that he is doing the prospect a favour by calling on him. Apology for taking time indicates that salesman is guilty of making a call and even unsoundness of his proposal.
7.       Winning undivided attention: Salesman should command undivided attention of the prospect to involve him in sales proposal. Some prospects have the habits of listening to others and doing their work too. A prize, a waiting, an exhibition or a present that helps capturing his attention. First catch his sight touch and then his hearing.
8.       Cent ring the attention: As soon as the salesman meets the prospects, the attention of the prospect is focused on the salesman and not on his proposition. That is why, the salesman is to be the effective conduit pipe to center his attention not on him but on his product for sale. He will do so if he demonstrates or speaks about the features of the product.
9.       Removing the sales tension: Removal of sales tension is the major mission of the shrewd salesman. The moment the salesman starts speaking of his products, some try to avoid it by having barrier of resistance. Such frigidity or tension can be eased in case he tells the prospect that his intention is not to sell but to present his ideas on the proposal.
10.   Calling back: All salesmen will no succeed in selling the product at the first attempt. Failure at first sight need not lead to total rejection. Second and subsequent calls may result in sale. New approach from changed angle should be his aim, as the prospect has many dimensions of look at the proposal. It is not the number of attempts, but the success that is to be counted.
There are eleven standard methods of approaching the prospects. The knowledge of all these divergent methods is a must for a salesman for it helps in combining these different methods to his advantage to get maximum for his efforts put in. These methods are:
a)      Introductory approach: The most common approach followed is this. He introduces himself by greeting, “good day Mr. so and so, I am Mr. so and so salesman of such and such company”. Then he commences his talk on sales proposal. Such an approach fails to gain favourable attention if the company is not known to the prospect. Sometimes, the prospect may be neither interested in the product nor in the salesman ultimately resulting in no appeal at all.
b)      Product approach: On several occasions, the people like to handle and examine the product before they form their opinion. This method believes in handling over the sample product to the prospect. To make it appealing the product offered must be popular, attractive and unique in its own way so that it tells its own story.
c)       Consumer benefit approach: Consumers are keenly interested in such products that guarantee certain usual and unusual benefits in terms of product performance, economy, space, appearance and so on. Consumer benefit approach is likely to be more appealing as it is designed for the consumers.
d)      Curiosity approach: Under this approach the salesman, in order to attract attention of the prospect instantly, appeals to the instinct of curiosity. He may simply send a message on a chit along with his visiting card. The message may run as “Will you please give some three minutes of your valuable time to advise me in solving a business problem?” This trick clicks in many cases. This trick opened can be fully exploited by the salesman accordingly.

e)      Shock approach: Sometimes shock treatment comes to the aid of salesman. It may be old age, sickness, death, security, theft, depreciation that have greater and deeper concern in ones life. It is fear over all these that make the prospect to think and act. The salesman particularly selling service cap takes full advantage of this. This idea makes the prospect to think about reality, thinking about things he prefers not to think about.
f)       Showmanship approach: Not all the prospects appreciate showmanship and imagination. The salesman can arrange for good many shows for the benefit of some significant prospects. It is rather difficult to say as to what shape this showmanship takes. There is no limit to what an enterprising man can do to dramatize his approach when the situation demands it. However, salesman is to be careful as it is likely to back fire.
g)      Question approach: Using questions to open an interview is gaining importance. In that, it is an art itself use of questions can be effectively used with other complementing approaches like consumer benefit or curiosity. To take full advantage of this approach, the questions ask able must be suitable and specific tailored to the needs of a prospect. These questions must be textured around the buying motives.
h)      Statement approach: Salesman can open interview with some solid statements of achievement or benefits to the prospect. Such achievements or benefits already bestowed upon the prospects, has its own impact. Sometimes, these statements may declare facts about the product or what it can do for the prospect. Such statements are normally concluded with a question seeking prospects reactions. Generally these bring home to the prospect of quickly some strong points in favour of the product.
i)        Premium approach: As noted earlier in this chapter, sometimes the salesman is to virtually bribe the prospect to get his attention. Frequently the salesman are advertising specialties like pencils, cigarette cases, lighters, memo-book, because it is the human urge to get something for nothing; it brings prospects in a good frame of mind and creates a more permissive atmosphere in which salesman can operate freely.
j)        Survey approach: The prospect is more likely to receive the salesman and will listen to his proposition with interest and involvement, in case the salesman comes with a detailed study done by survey. Care is to be taken to see that imagination should not enter the real findings. Little amount of research work pays on the part of a salesman. Though this method has legitimate uses, it has been badly misused by some unscrupulous door to door salesman.
k)      Complementary approach: Appreciation, praise, and compliments can be good tools open in interview. There is no harm in complementing a prospect in case he deserves it. However, the salesman should not push this belt of flattery too far, his trick is brought to light. Of course, there are some people who can absorb generous does of the insincere compliment. However, certainly not all.
Handling objections
All sales person confront sales resistance i.e. actions or statements by a prospects that postpone, hinder or prevent the completion of the sale. Normally sales resistance takes the form of an objection which can be classified as stated or hidden. Prospects may state their objections to a proposition openly and give the sales person a chance to answer them. This is an ideal situation because everything is out in the open and the sales person does not need to read the prospect’s mind. Unfortunately, in many instances prospects hide their real reasons for not buying. Beside having hidden objections, their stated objection may be phoney. Unless one can determine the real barrier to the sale one shall not be able to overcome it. There are two major techniques for discovering hidden objections. One is to keep the prospect talking by asking probing questions. The other is to use insights gained through experience in selling the product, combined with a knowledge of the prospects situation, to perceive the hidden objection. Often objection to price and product are also faced by sales person either in a form of unaffordable or too high price. Product objections can be answered best when sales people have extensive product knowledge of both their own products and competitors. Many times prospects may be misinformed or may not understand some of the technical aspects of the proposition. In this case, the sales person should provide additional information. Even the prospects objections can be met simply and effectively by altering the product to suit the customer.
Depending up on the nature of objections, the authors of repute have classed them into seven categories from the point of view of better understanding and suggesting remedial measures to overcome them effectively. These are:
1.       Price Objections: Price is the major aspect of sale where too many objections are raised. Some express their inability to pay exorbitant price; still other pose that can’t afford to pay high price as a pretence. Whatever may be the case, the salesman is to charged the standard price. He must not decrease it too much.
2.       Need Objections: Many times prospect may express that he is not in need of the product. It is the task of the creative salesman to inject need consciousness in such prospects to convert these needs into wants. Such type of objections can be easily overcome by describing the product features and merits and showing by proof of the existing and expanding demand for the same.
3.       Product Objections: If not price and the need objections, at least there will be objections regarding the product itself. It may refer to the very appearance, taste, dimension, design, package, finish, odd size and so on. It impossible to satisfy all the people with same range of goods.
These objections can be met with profit by establishing the superiority of the product by means of tests and reports; sometimes even the testimonials are to be presented; to elucidate that the stuff is of standard – material and make specially designed to meet the needs of prospects.
4.       Service Objections: In case of consumer durables and industrial goods, the prospects have service objections like after sale – delivery, installation, repairs, adjustment, etc. The best thing would be to get clear picture about such specific cases of dissatisfaction.
These service objections can be settled by clearly illustrating the service facilities, dangers of wrong handling, describing the service experience of other customers and also presenting testimonials from V.I.P.s who have used the products.
5.       Company Objections: Company objections are generally raised by the retail dealers and industrial buyers. These relate to financial standing – plant capacity, how long in production like – broad of directors – business policies and so on. These enquiries are really quite pertinent because the fate of these dealers is having probing link with the prospects of such a company.
6.       Time Objections: The prospects express their strong desire for the postponement of purchase saying that they are waiting for a new model or present situation does not warrant such a purchase and so on.
The best way to break such objections is to turn the key of fear of inflation, possible delay in getting new model and delay may deprive even the availability of existing proven model etc.
7.       Objections Over Salesman: There is another class of prospect that may not be very happy with the personality, attitude, mannerism and even the techniques of a salesman. Such objections are not disclosed to the salesman. Such secret objections are to be dug out by the salesman himself by careful study of consumer gestures and reactions.
Overcoming objections is really a delicate stage that makes or mars the unbroken chain of selling process. Being of very crucial importance, a set procedure is designed and developed by the veterans in the sphere of salesmanship. The major aspects of such a planned procedure are four, namely – listen to the prospects – cushion the jolt – anticipate the objections and prevent their occurrence. These aspects need explanation of a few lines.
a)      Listen attentively: The first requirement is to listen attentively to whatever the prospect wants to unload the stock of objections. He should not intervene, ignore the doubts, lose temper. Lending the ears fully will create an atmosphere of slowly overcoming the tension. This is the most difficult job that the salesman is to do to start with.
b)      Cushion the jolt: To soften the effect or the jolt or the till created by the objection, he is to try a cushioning technique. It is like using insulation or shock absorber. This cushion is nothing but the “third party opinion”. He should contradict himself and say that same is the opinion of other prospects and the prospect is quite right in objecting so. This further soothes the wound of a prospect.
c)       Anticipate objections: There is no substitute for training and experience. With these the salesman can foresee in what way the prospect likely to react; what would be his objections. In the light of such an anticipation, the can change his presentation right at early stage and such objections can be met well during presentations stage. Scientifically planned presentation and well-knit sales talk can reduce the objections considerably. Thus, a proper presentation, a tactful and defensive way of meeting objections backed by gentleman approach will give ample scope for improved relations.
d)      Prevent objections: Precaution is better than cure. It pays to take certain amount of precaution then creating a problem and solving it. We should have nip in the bud. There are certain common mistakes that a salesman commits knowingly or unknowingly. Precaution taken while presenting the sales story can solve this issue lucratively. The most common mistake, for example, is to go on talking without any interruption by the prospect. It should be two-way process. Further, some salesman are over positive and egoistic. Such an attempt tempts the prospect to challenge what the salesman says. This will be root cause of inviting unwanted objections.
Irrespective of the above aspects of the procedure to handle the objections, time factor is very important. The objections are to be met as soon as they are raised. Postponement spoils the taste. Even the lame excuse are not to be overlooked. They are to be met defensively. Salesman is to keep the customer if he is not capable of effecting sales right immediately. He is to sell his ideas necessarily then the products. It is his tactful approach to capture the prospect friendly behaviour that heals up.
With all the care the caution, there will be objections which have slipped off the stage of anticipation or prevention that are to be ultimately met with. Sometimes, even the most seasoned salesman may fail to anticipate these objections. Once they are raised, they are to be handled with care for mutual benefit. A salesman has seven courses or methods open for meeting the objections that are explained as under:
1.       Direct Denial Method: As it implies a direct denial and involves contradiction, it is also known as “contradiction” or “head on” method. Straight forward there is contradiction to what the prospect says. This being offensive approaches likely to hurt the sensitive prospects. This matches well to a prospect of broad mind seeking frank answer. This is a desperate remedy for desperate disease. Hence, it need not be applied in all cases. Thus, a question may be of time accuracy to seconds in case of a wrist watch. The answer can be equally clear saying that the watch is not ordinary but “quartz” one.
2.       Indirect Denial Method: This is the most commonly used method as it involves least pinch of offensive. Being milder it is also known as “yet – but” method. There is no direct contradiction. It is like saying “India is not underdeveloped” but a “developing country”. The salesman agrees with prospect yet differs in an inoffensive way. Thus a transistor dealer may get a reply “I prefer Kreft” transistor to “Philips” for they are far more cheaper”. The answer can be “sir Phillips is Phillips for sound and after sale services”. Please, don’t take into account only price.” Thus, in a mild way there is a denial. This is liked by most.
3.       Reverse Position Method: Instead of explaining himself the objection, the salesmen request the prospect to explain as to why he thinks so. It is like putting cart before the horse. At time it works. As reasons are sought to prove the case, it is also known as “why” method. Thus, a prospect may have an objection regarding a detergent washing powder. Stating “I doubt it cleans well”. The salesman is ask the prospect as to why so. He shows his eagerness to know the reasons for such objection.
4.       Boomrang Method: This method has the capacity of translating the objection into a purchase. That is why it is known as boomrang method. Still others call it as “Reserve English” method. The person who raises the objection will have to accept and take back his objection. Thus a retailer may object as “Your firm spends lot on publicity that results in higher price”. The answer can be “It is this promotional publicity that gives you too many customers at your shop”. He may emphasize “narrow margin” with expanded turnover results in large cake of profit. Thus, it believes in capitalizing the very objection. Only seasoned salesman can use this method, very effectively without antagonizing with the prospects.
5.       Superior Point Method: The salesman under this method, admits the validity of the objection by offsetting the same by a superior point of greater advantage. This likely advantage is the compensation for the objection. This method does not dispose of the objection; it only seeks to detract the attention from it to a corresponding benefit or advantage. On hearing a radio set – the prospect may express “it seems the sound is not released so panosomically”. The reply would be “you are right sir, if it has been, the price would have been much more higher”. Lower price is the point that compensates the lower quality. Thought this method resembles to that of indirect denial method, there is vast difference. In case of indirect denial the salesman does not admit the validity of the objection but in case of compensation method he is forced to accept.
6.       Question Method: Question method is the process of asking the questions very tactfully to the prospect so that the objections are answered by the prospect himself. This method is like reverse position or why method. A prospect may be thinking of buying a cheaper scooter. This can be changed by asking him several questions about economy, safety and resale value of the said scooter.
7.       Pass up Method: There are some objections which can be simply passed off. That is the salesman instead of replying to the objections, he just tries to evade them by smiling or uses some other trick to do so. This method should not be used in case of genuine objections because it hardly works.

In a nutshell use direct denial method where there are false objection, the indirect denial method for removing objection is offensively compensation method where the objection is true or reasonable; The boomrang method may be used vary occasionally; the pass up method in case of very trifle objections or excuses may be used.