Lesson 23. PERSONNEL SELLING
Module 6. Elements of marketing mix – IV. promotion
Personnel selling are a two-way communication process of promotional mix. The history of personnel selling is as old as human civilization. All the countries have witnessed the use and growth of salesmanship / personnel selling. In India, 'pheri wallas' carried goods (mostly clothes) on bicycles and moved from one place to another to sell the goods. In present times the method of personnel selling has seen many changes in terms of practice, strategy and adoption of technology. Earlier salesmen were regarded as an order taker or information provider. But now he is looked upon as a customer consultant.
23.2 Significance of Personnel Selling
For business to business marketing, personnel selling are perhaps the most preferred method of promotion as it provides opportunity to the companies to match their products to the needs of consumers. This is useful in products which require explanation / understanding to be given to consumers for using the product / appliance. In personal selling, the salesman is assumed to be representing the company. He is considered to be company itself. The capability of salesmen to satisfy the consumer determines the success or failure of business transaction. This necessitate that salesman is skilled, knowledgeable, able to solve consumers doubts. In today’s internet era, personnel selling method gives company to prove that it is a customer oriented company.
23.3 Types of Personnel Selling
23.3.1 Order takers
They are of two types: Outside order takers and inside order takers. The outside order taker makes sales call and takes order from the consumers. They do not deliver products to the customers. The insider order taker may act as either retail sales assistant or delivery sales people. As retail sales assistant, they simply complete the sale transaction by receiving cash from consumer and providing goods to them. They do not assist consumers in making their choice. Such retail sales assistants are employed in big super stores. Delivery sales people deliver the product at customers’ house. They do not actually influence the choice of consumers but the way in which they provide their service / delivery decides the future of business transactions.
23.3.2 Order creators
These are sales people who do not actually sale any product but convince the experts to recommend the use of their product to consumers. For example the medical representatives do not sell the medicines / drugs but convince the doctors to recommend their medicines.
23.3.3 Order getters
They convince the consumers to buy the product. It includes the new business sales people, organizational sales people, consumer sales people, technical support sales people and merchandisers. The new business sales people always try to sale the products to non users or new users. Organizational sales people build strong relationship with institutions. They sell the product to institutions undertaking a team effort so as to convince different departmental head of the organization. The consumer sales people move from house to house and sell company's product. The technical support sales people work along with main front lines sales people to solve the technically complex problems. Merchandisers give assistance / advice in retail and wholesale distribution with respect to display.
23.4 Activities of Personnel Selling
A typical selling approach consists of following sequential steps:
Prospecting: This is the first step of any personnel selling approach. At this stage search for potential consumers is done.
Targeting: This involves time allocation between prospects and existing consumers.
Communication and approach: At this stages sales person meet the consumer and engage in communication and make approach for the sale.
Presentation and demonstration: At this stage sales person delivers a sales presentation highlighting features, advantages, method to use the product / appliance if required, and showcase all those aspects required for the satisfaction of the consumers.
Handling objections: Consumers may raise some issues related with price, quality, comparison with competitor's product etc. The salespersons quality solve all such queries of the consumers.
Closing: This is the most important stage of affecting the sale and closing the sale after classifying all the doubts of the consumers.
Follow up and maintenance: Under this step, the sales person make a follow up visit, enquire whether consumer is facing any problem with the product? Carryout necessary maintenance if required etc. This step ensures customer satisfaction and lead to repeat sales transaction.
23.5 Determining the Number of Sales Persons
Determining number of sales persons to be kept by the organization is a complex process. There is no single method to arrive at this number. The organization operates in dynamic environment. These dynamic environments pose a challenge to maintain a fixed number of salesperson. The factors determining the number of sales person are the nature of work to be carried out by salesperson, such as paper work, demonstrations, time etc, and the type of customers to be contacted i.e. new or existing one. Following methods are used by the organizations to arrive at appropriate number of sales person:
23.5.1 Workload method
In this method the time estimate is used. The time required to make a sales by sales person is calculated. The other time such as that of travel, waiting time and break is also found out. Total working time available with a sales person is found out. The consumers are then divided into different segments like large, medium, small, new, growing, established etc. Based upon such estimates, the time of call for different type of customers is calculated and dividing it by total time available to meet this calls will give number of sales persons required. This method does not take into account the differences in capabilities of each salesperson. This factor may give rise to erroneous results.
23.5.2 Sales potential method
This method uses two different factors, one the sales forecast and the other productivity of salesperson. Using both this factors, firm is able to arrive at approximate number.
23.5.3 Increment method
This is based on the principle that while employing new sales person and upon calculating its cost of employing and revenue generated by him, if revenue generated is more than the cost incurred then salesperson should be employed otherwise not.