March 2, 2019 279
March 2, 2019 279
Personal selling is of significant importance to marketing which entrepreneur should take seriously. Its effectiveness may determine not only the success of a firm’s marketing programme but also the success of the business. Personal selling is defined as the face-to-face contact of a firm’s representatives with target customers.
It is imperative to note here that salesmanship entrepreneur should understand and be aware of the importance of salesmanship as part of his business which has to be handled seriously and effectively.
He should understand that:
Selling jobs are usually challenging and require above average intelligence, initiative, and self-discipline. To a marketer, selling is the personal presentation of tangible and intangible products including ideas of commercial significance to potential buyers.
Therefore, the ability to emphasize with others, persuade others to adopt one’s point of view, simplifying complex ideas and exercise initiative is very important in selling as well as in other occupation.
In this article, we will emphasize on the characteristics of the salesmen, sales training, selling process, salesmen motivation and control.
Salesmanship is a very demanding task; hence the entrepreneur should endeavor to employ salesmen with good health and experience of the sales job.
The salesman employed must have a pleasing personality in addition to the following characteristics:
The entrepreneur is therefore advised to be well-informed of the above characteristics when selecting their salesmen. This is because the customer at the other end sees the company through the salesmen. A bad salesman misrepresents the company with his bad attitude.
We have three major purposes of personal selling namely:
Salespeople must be skillful at persuasion, information gathering, and problem-solving to meet the needs of potential buyers and to persuade them to become buyers. Salespeople should be able, not only, to answer questions and handle objections from potential buyers, but also known when to close the sale.
In order to encourage repeat sales, salespeople must make the effort to keep customers happy after the sale. To maintain customer satisfaction, there should be a genuine effort to handle customer complaints correctly.
Advertising is usually designed to encourage interested individuals to request additional information. However, the sales force is responsible for the follow-up of these information requests. In addition, a large number of corporate clients come from salesmen’s efforts to search out new buyers. Salesmen normally study the demographic, psychographic, or behavioral information of potential buyers.
For a business organization and entrepreneur to enjoy the benefits of the sales job the salespeople must be trained irrespective of how good they may be; the nitty-gritty of selling must be imparted on them.
There are four good fundamental areas of knowledge, which the salesmen must be trained on:
(i) Knowledge of the Company’s Products: The salesman should have extra knowledge of the product. He should know about performance, the quality and the uses of the product both primary and secondary. The product’s advantages over those of the competitors should equally be trained on so as to satisfy the consumer’s needs and wants.
(ii) Knowledge of the Consumer: For a better deal, the salesman must have an idea of the type of the consumer he is meeting and his buying motives. When the consumer’s social status, likes, dislikes, income level, purchasing power, and educational level are known by the salesman, a better deal can be struck.
When the salesman knows the buying motives of the consumer, he will be in a better position to choose a better presentation method. For example, a consumer who is buying for esteem, status, and self-actualization purposes will prefer the costly and expensive products and will always want to be associated with unique things, unlike a consumer who is buying just of buying purposes. The salesman must design different approaches to these sets of people.
(iii) A Salesman Must Know Himself: The salesman’s first training must start from self-audit of him. Any salesman who does not know himself, his proper worth and attributes may always have problems in dealing with customers. He must know his capabilities, his level of creativity, tactfulness, diplomacy, and intelligence so as to know what to do at the right time. So proper training shall be conducted on self-audit of the world-be salespersons.
(iv) Knowledge of the Company: Knowledge of the company is as important as knowledge of self. The salesman must be exposed and inducted properly on the followings:
Apart from knowing the buying motives of the prospect (prospects are those who need products and are likely to buy them), the salesman must so understand the selling process as to properly present his facts and products well to the prospect.
The steps of the selling process are:
Prospecting: The process of searching for the people who are likely to buy the product is called prospecting. A good salesman must always prospect for more customers so as to increase his company’s sales.
There are five widely practiced methods of closing sales.
The entrepreneur should know that effective selling could only be done through effective sales training. Every member of the sales force must be groomed in the art of salesmanship to improve productivity. Experience is the best teacher, hence the salesman should practice the art of selling always.
Salesmen must be motivated in order to bring out their best and be able to withstand the rigors involved in the job like the physical and mental torture, the frequent traveling and lots of disappointments. In addition to training, adequate and enticing compensation should be given and meetings/conferences organized.
The entrepreneur and his sales manager need to design an appropriate compensation plan for the sales force.
Generally, there are various methods of compensation, from which the entrepreneur must choose the type that suits his organization:
This is a situation where the salesmen are paid a certain amount, usually monthly. This system of compensation has some advantages and disadvantages as follows:
This approach rewards hard work. Under this method, the salesmen are paid according to the sales volume made. The amount paid is usually based on a certain percentage of the net sales volume made. This method is, therefore, an effort oriented one.
The combination method is compensation based on a fixed salary plus commission based on the sales volume. It gives the entrepreneur the flexibility and control of salary plus the incentive and motivating effects of commission. It aims at eliminating the advantages of both the straight salary and the straight commission methods.
The salary gives the salesmen security in terms of assurance of the monthly salary while the commission rewards hard work amongst the sales force.
Under this method, the salesmen share in the profit of the firm. This is in addition to the salary and the commission they might have been paid. It can be stated that if the salesman exceeds his given quota or target he shares in the profit arising from the extra sales. This motivates the salesmen to put in their best to better the organization’s sales volume.
This involves compensating the salesman that makes the highest sales within the period in question. This is normally held weekly, monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or annually. The salesman that makes the highest sales wins the contest and is given a prize agreed. The aim of this contest is to stimulate the competitive spirit of the salesmen.
Promotion is an indirect way of offering a financial incentive to staff. Inasmuch as individuals always aspire to reach new heights and new challenges, provision for promotion must always be provided. The salesmen must always be offered a promotion to appreciate their good performance and encourage them to work harder in the future.
The compensation plans are stated above for the entrepreneur to choose the one that will suit his organization.
The entrepreneur should take the following factors into consideration when designing the compensation plan:
The entrepreneur is therefore advised to adopt the method that will allow for control and ensure high incentive by adopting salary form and commission.
The sales conference is one of the fora by which the salesmen can come together as a group to discuss the problems encountered in the field and way forward. Suggestions on how to improve performances are also discussed. It is motivating to the salesmen as they are able to share experiences and collectively proffer solutions to problems.
Such issues like:
All these issues listed above will always discuss in sales conference and they will address all of them. These sales meetings may be held weekly, monthly or quarterly as the case may be.
Controlling the sales force, therefore, involves the determination of whether the sales force is meeting the set sales target. A salesman put in charge of a specific territory, branch, outpost or division writes his reports on regular intervals. This could be on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis.
But without proper coordination, the sales organization may not be successful in its operations. It is through proper control of the sales forces that can bring about such coordination of efforts towards a common goal.
There are several ways of controlling the sales force such as follows:
The sales report and record is a common tool used in controlling the sales force. Each salesman is required to give a detail report of his sales activities within his territory on regular intervals, weekly, monthly, quarterly or as the firm may desire. This report should cover the daily calls, expenses, competitor’s activities, customer complaints, and economic activates within the territory among other issues. From these reports, the actual performance of each salesman can be seen compared with the set standard.
A sales territory is a geographical area or group of people from which or from whom the demand for a firm’s products comes at present and are likely to arise in the future. One or more salesmen serve each sales territory and they are made responsible for the activities of the firm within that territory.
Sales territories are allocated to achieve the following objectives:
A sales quota may be defined as an estimated volume of sales set up as an objective to be attained over a given period of time. The estimate can be expressed in monetary terms or in unit sales volume. It is a standard for measuring the achievement of a salesman. The period of time through which the sales quota is to be achieved could be weekly, monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or yearly.
The period used varies from company to company. The most important thing is for the organization to use the sales quota as a means of knowing how each salesman is performing in a given territory.
Finally, the entrepreneur should be able to control his salesmen effectively, through the above-mentioned ways.
Personal selling or salesmanship is the face-to-face contact of a firm’s representatives with target customers.
The entrepreneur must motivate the salesman to bring the best in him. He should know that by designing an appropriate compensation plan for his sales force they must be motivated to meet the target. Salesmanship is an excellent career and someone who can really sell will always have a job.
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