Techniques For Pre-Approach Step of The Selling Process
Since pre-approach is all about pre-analyzing the customers and preparing for likelihood events, it is better to choose the best approach to visit them and make a good first impression with the help of some techniques to do it.
Although pre-approach techniques differ from sale to sale, the salespeople need to identify the type of selling that they are involved in and choose the most suitable technique. It is natural that a salesperson in a stationery shop, a salesperson in a medical store, a salesperson in an automobile center will have quite different prospects.
Hence, the methods of pre-approaching also vary significantly. In order to make the salespeople able to identify suitable prospecting approaches in the selling process, some important pre-approach techniques can be mentioned as below,
Modem marketing firms have to operate on the razors’ edge promotional activities to promote their products and services. They have also developed a good system of recording inquiries from prospects who have been exposed to ads and other promotional efforts. For keeping such records of inquiries, a record book is also made available to their salespersons. In case inquiries are directly received by the firm, a record of such inquiries is maintained at the firm level.
Prospects generally inquire about the product or service by writing or over the telephone. After receiving the inquiries, the prospects are evaluated on the basis of the above-discussed determinants. From among the inquiries, good prospects are chosen to send replies/ deliveries: In this regard, Clayton manufacturing says that at least 40 percent of its inquiries come from prospects who have a real interest in its products, have the necessary decision-making authority to buy and intend to purchase within or around eight months.
Endless Chain Technique
This technique is mostly used by salespeople rather than by firms. By applying this technique, they try to increase the number of prospects through each customer or try to do so by talking directly with each person. In other words, an additional number of prospects is tried to be increased in two ways.
i. When a salesperson talks with an individual about his product or service, the latter may become enthusiastic about the product or service. In this situation, he may refer to his friends and relatives as the prospects for the products or services. He may write a letter or give an introduction card to the salespeople. This way, a chain of additional prospects is developed.
ii. In order to develop direct interviewing the sales prospect, the salespeople try to make themselves frank, courteous, friendly, informative, etc., with the person with whom they talk. In addition, they try to keep themselves busy talking to people whenever they get time after closing a sale. The main purpose of doing so is to motivate the people to buy if not right then, perhaps some time in the future. The endless chain method of prospecting proves more effective in the sale of intangible products like educational courses, insurance, investment policies, etc. However, it doesn’t mean that industrial people ignore this method.
In the case of personal sales, this technique is used by salespeople to cultivate relationships With those people who have influence in a particular territory and who are willing to supply prospecting information. Influential men or, women prove to be the centers of influence because the people in that territory are under their Influence. In other words, the people respect such men and women for their territorial contributions and the people believe that whatever these personalities suggest would be for their betterment.
In the case of industrial sales, those people would be influential who are not directly involved in selling activities but have a dominant image in the firm, such as quality control people, equipment maintenance people, people engaged in receiving orders, etc. the salespeople keep in close touch with these people for getting information about the firm’s buying requirements? When they succeed in making a sale to the firm with the help of these influential people, the salespeople inform them about it. This way, new prospects are developed. Considering both situations, we can say that the centers-of-influence method is only a modified form of the endless chain method.
Public Exhibitions, Demonstrations, and Trade Shows Technique
Public exhibitions and demonstrations take place at the point of purchase or sales. The point may be an automobile show, a business machine exhibition, trade association and professional conventions, state fairs, country fairs, fairs in a particular city, etc. There, the salespeople will be ready to satisfy the queries of visitors during their product demonstrations. The people of Kathmandu have had several such opportunities to visit different kinds of exhibitions in Bhrikuti Mandap. Some sales are made during the exhibitions, If sales are not made on the spot in the exhibition, prospects are increased for future sales.
Trade shows are arranged by the salespeople basically to qualify prospects for future follow-up and not for on-the-spot sales. The salespeople visitors and describe their products in brief, highlighting the specialties of the products.
List of Prospects Technique
In course of prospecting, an individual salesperson prepares a list of prospects from various sources of information. Actually, the information is from secondary sources and recorded in different firms, clubs, trade associations, public libraries, etc. In addition, public records, classified telephone directories, chamber of commerce directories can also help a salesperson a lot for preparing the list of prospects.
Friends and Acquaintances Technique
In some types of selling, such as doctor services, groceries, lawyers’ services, stationery sales, etc., individual sellers prepare a list of prospects of their friends and acquaintances. Actually, these friends and acquaintances would be the people who had studied in educational institutions (schools, colleges, universities) or had worked together in an office or firm or had been members in some clubs, etc. A salesperson would assume that they may be his/his immediate prospects and so he/she includes their names in the list of prospects.
Regarding industrial sellers, they prepare a list of prospects from among those people on whose request they had been donating, giving subscriptions for a particular cause. These prospects may be members of social, fraternal, religious, civic, and professional organizations or clubs.
Cold Canvass Technique
The cold-canvass technique is applied by a salesperson when his/her product is highly demanded by the people or companies, in particular, an area or territory. According to this method; the salesperson calls on each and every individual or company belonging to a certain group. This means, that he categorizes prospects in various groups. It does not mean that he has prior knowledge of the financial status. It simply means that they have the average capacity of buying has been found in America that from among ten such prospects, one additional made by using this method. But Nepali sellers seldom use this method.
Conclusion… Besides just preparing about the customers just by imagining give a chance to these pre-approach techniques to make a better approach with the prospects.