What is Pre-Approach?
Pre-approach is the second step of the selling process which includes all the possible activities that a sales individual does before approaching (visiting) the sales prospects.
In pre-approach, the salesman prepares himself about the customers, analyzes about the customers so that when he meets them, the chances would be much higher they will be real customers.
In short, it is a to-do list of salespeople right before they meet their potential customers in their selling journey. It is also a pre-plan scheme to go for steps of presentation, demonstration, dramatization, and handling objections so that a successful sale can be made.
While pre-approaching the salesperson may analyze his prospects based on their need, want, desire, abilities, location, etc. so that his efforts will be more relevant. Moreover, he may visit consultants to best know about how to make the first impression better.
As a seller, you have to choose the best approach to first meet the expected buyer. In addition, you can do a practice with the help of someone of you, as they act as a prospect and you as a seller, or you may just rehearsal just by imagining possible events.
Why Pre-Approach in Selling is Important?
When you visit a customer without being prepared about that customer, you are going to commit a mistake? Without being aware of that customer’s condition, need, want, or abilities you would not be able to imagine how would he respond when you meet him.
That’s how pre-approach works. When you are well prepared about the customers you are likely to get better first impressions.
In addition, to understand the importance/objective of pre-approach can be presented as follows,
i. When you are done doing pre-approaching, you will get additional information about the potential customers, which in turn helps you to separate who is your likely qualified potential customer and who is not.
ii. It helps you in advance to make a more productive strategy where you will be already ready to deal with the potential customer before visiting them.
iii. It helps you to save your valuable time and effort since you have practiced all the likely events in your room.
iv. Since you are fully prepared for the approach, you are in a fair degree of confidence. As you are confident and present confidently, it increases the chances that the prospect can be converted into a customer considerably.
Activities To Do In Pre-Approach Step
Particularly, pre-approach activities include the following…
Obtaining Pre-call Information
To be a successful seller, the salespeople need to do a large amount of homework in obtaining information about the prospective customers. It is axiomatic that the more information the salespeople possess about the customers, the higher will be the chances of making sales. However, it does not mean that they need to make a sale more costly by incurring high costs, investing time and effort in the course of obtaining information.
The salespeople need to obtain pre-call information about the individual customers or industrial customers. However, obtaining pre-call information about the customers is regular work since the customers would be in contact because of their previous calls. And information but making the first these previous calls can bring to light much necessary first call to the customer needs specific consideration for obtaining pre-call information.
Pre-call information of individual or organization buyers will help the salespeople in making their sales presentation effective mainly on two grounds. First, by using this information, they can initiate and develop relationships with the customers. Secondly, by focusing on this information in their presentation, the salespeople can best fit in with the customers’ needs.
Developing Sales Call Objectives
After obtaining information about an individual customer and the customer’s organization, the salespeople should move towards setting objectives for each and every sales call. These objectives should be measurable as well as responsive to the prospects/customers. In this regard, Porter Henry says that the sales plans should be made in terms of what the customer should do, and not, what the salespeople will do.
Examples of Objectives (for typewriter)
- Showing and demonstrating the entire line of typewriters.
- Obtaining at least ten orders for the portable typewriters.
- Obtaining customer’s promise whether he/she would test the typewriter within one or two weeks.
Developing Customer/Prospect Profile
Keeping records of prospects requires an efficient operating system in the selling firm. The system may include various sub-systems. But the sub-systems vary by the type of selling business. Generally, these systems include the following:
- Master file
- Friends’ and acquaintances’ file
- Inquiry file
- Centers-of-influence file
- Regional zonal, district, urban, and rural files
- Standard prospect cards
The success and failure of an individual salesperson depend upon the extent of the use of these systems. The more rigorous the implementation, the higher will be the chance of regularly getting good prospects.
The master file includes sufficient prospect information on the basis of which prospect cards can be prepared for the sales representatives. The friends’ and acquaintances’ file helps a salesperson to cultivate his friends and acquaintances, whereas the inquiry file helps to determine the different nature of inquiry calls during a particular period of time.
Similarly, the center of influence file helps a salesperson cultivate the center of influence. Regional zonal, urban, and rural files help a salesperson to segregate the name of prospects by geographical area. These files prove especially important when the salesperson wants to cover a number of towns or several well-defined sections of a city. Industrial salespeople maintain separate cards for customers and for prospects as far as possible.
Developing Customer Benefit Program
Before approaching activities to proceed on, a salesperson should also develop a customer benefit program so that he/she will fully enjoy sales presentation benefits later on.
The program includes the following.
Buying Benefits: The seller should mention the product features/attributes, advantages, and benefits in his customer benefits program.
Marketing Plan for Sale: This plan should be for both intermediaries like wholesalers and retailers and the end-users.
Highlight on Business Position: Here, the salesperson should include items like price, profit margin, discounts, return on investment, investment, and payment plan.
Enlight a Suggested Purchase Order Benefit Plan: In this last step, the seller should develop and enlist some suggestions to buyers/prospects such as:
- What to buy?
- How much to buy?
- What assortment to buy?
- When to ship the product?
- What visual aids are used to effectively communicate information?
Developing Sales Presentation Strategies
In fact, a salesperson has to work in different situations in different ways while going with presentations. These situations create many challenges for the salesperson. In order to face such challenges, he/she should use his/her intelligence as to which sales presentation method(s) to use in a particular time and situation.
The salesperson should, therefore, focus on the suitability of these presentations in the pre-approach activities.
Keeping Records of Developed Plans and Strategy for Future Use
After preparing the plan for one sales presentation, the salesperson should record it for future use in the next sales presentation plan. Then he should move on to prepare the next presentation plan.
In the course of preparing the plan, the salesperson not only uses the past information but also notes down their own observations that might be helpful in the future.
Techniques For Pre-Approach
In order to identify a suitable prospecting approach, the following techniques will be helpful while doing pre-approaching.
Through the advertisement, different types of customers are tried and wanted to be contacted and have exposed their interest. Inquiries techniques involve knowing the customer’s interests by replying to them through the messages they messaged from ads.
Endless Chain Technique
The endless chain technique is contacting the customers personally. In this technique, salespeople’s goal is to increase the number of customers as they are consistently involved in converting prospects into customers. This technique is often found more used by individual salespeople than firms.
In this technique, salespeople try to build relationships with those prospects who are some kind of influencer in their area. As the name “Center-of-influence” suggests itself, salespeople try to get the people of that influencer by converting that influencer into their customer list.
Public Exhibitions, Demonstrations, and, Trade Show Technique
Through public exhibitions, demonstrations, and trade shows salespeople try to satisfy the queries of the visitors during the product demonstrations.
List of Prospects Technique
This technique involves making a list of prospective customers and preparing yourself to make a better performance at approach. To make a list of prospects the salesperson can use both primary and secondary sources.
Friends and Acquaintances Technique
In this technique, a salesperson also makes a list of his friends and acquaintances. Also, here in such a list, his previous customer’s friends’ and acquaintances’ names are in the list.
- Sales Prospecting: Definition, Objectives, Process, and Importance
- Approach: The 3rd Step of Selling Process (Made Easy)
- Sales Presentation: 4rth Step of The Selling Process (Explained)
- Handling Objection: 5th Step of The Selling Process (Made Easy)
- Closing A Sale: Definition, Importance, and Techniques
- What is Follow Up? Definition, Importance, Methods, and Mistakes