Methods of Approaching
In the approach step of the selling process, the main task of the seller is to meet his prospects, make an interact, and try to win their attention.
While making an approach, as a seller you need to remember that “first impression is the last impression”. It is sure that when getting the attention of potential customers you are nearer to converting them into customers.
To make a good approach you may start from a good talk, smile, firm handshake, indicating benefits, etc. In addition, to make your approaching good in sales journey you can also apply the following useful methods of approaching.
In this method, the salesperson can state his/her own name, the name of the company which he/she represents, or he/she can hand over his/her business card to the prospect/ customer. Among the three alternatives, the business card can provide more information. But as this method is non-verbal, it may prove an ineffective opening for generating a prospect’s interest.
These activities are sometimes used alternatively and sometimes together. It is argued that it would be better to go together. The reason behind it is that customers may not hear the name if the first alternative is used because they are busy sizing up the salesperson. On the contrary, they can know the name and other more information by reading the card.
Although this approach/ method is the simplest one, it may prove an ineffective opening because it is unlikely to generate much interest, especially when a business card is used.
While using this method, a salesperson starts the interview by referring to the names of satisfied customers or a friend known to the prospect. Many times, a salesperson may use a letter of introduction or testimonials from reference groups. Sometimes, references, praise printed in a magazine about a salesperson’s products/ services could also be presented to a prospect.
A salesperson should keep in mind that he/she should in no case give false testimonials. He/she should state individual names specifically so that if the prospect wants to verify the reference it would be easy for him/her. Such authentic references could make a prospect feel obliged to pay attention to what a salesperson is saying.
At the beginning of the interview, a salesperson asks some questions to a prospect about the product/ service that he/she needs. Actually, the method of getting a customer’s attention is a two-way affair. The questions asked are of such a type that the prospect is motivated to give his/her response.
A magazine seller: Have you ever seen a magazine that provides practical knowledge not only to school students but also to general readers? A prospect: Is this so? Let me have a look at it. The magazine seller: Yes, indeed! It has a new style of presenting information, I liked it.
This method is widely accepted in selling jobs. On the very first rather than focusing on the prospect, the salesperson starts focusing directly on the product/ service. However, the focused benefits must be factual and exact so that a prospect/ customer can fully realize them.
A magazine seller: Sir, I would like to tell you that if you buy five copies of the magazine, you can get a 40 percent discount on the total. A prospect: Give 5 copies of the magazine, and contact the accounts section go to get your payment.
This method is generally applied when approaching a prospect of technical products which need demonstrations of the product features and benefits. When a salesperson demonstrates the product features and benefits of a product, the prospect can himself/herself see the features and listen about the benefits in the course of the demonstration.
Example of Product Demonstration
- Demonstrating computer
- Demonstrating projector
- Demonstrating calculator
- Demonstrating typewriter
- Demonstrating gas table, etc.
Free Gifts or Sample Method
This method has become one of the most effective methods of approaching nowadays in this competitive selling age. By using this method, a salesperson tries to draw the attention of the prospect by offering free gifts or samples. After getting this benefit, the custom prospect feels somewhat obligated.
This method is popular in both door-to-door selling and industrial selling jobs. In the course of applying this method, two sorts of problems may arise.
The prospect may want gifts or samples in the very first approach whereas the salesperson may want to offer these things only at the end of a sale. The next problem may arise when a prospect receives gifts and samples at the beginning of the sales interview but may keep them aside to test them later so that he will be able to give his decision on buying or rejecting after testing the sample.
This method of making a customer/ prospect approach is more effective in a society where the prospect/ customer is appreciative of compliments. If not, the prospect/ customer may show an adverse reaction. Some prospects enjoy praise and compliments but others may not. Hence, a salesperson needs to be sincere and not indulge in insincere flattery. In addition, he must be specific in compliments.
“Miss Rai, congratulations on your getting 100 shares issued by our firms.” “Mr. Thakar, you must be proud of your daughter winning a scholarship for studying MBA”
In case a salesperson dealing in technical products makes an approach, he/she needs to get permission from a prospect/ customer to survey the prospect’s operations so that the real need of the prospect/customer can be identified. After getting information on the actual operational needs, the salesperson analyzes them and uses the analyzed concrete feedback in the course of his/her sales presentation.
Apply one or more of the above-mentioned methods of approaching to make a good approach with your potential customers. A single method may not help you to give the best first impression but by combining more than one you can.