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Planning The Sales Call: Steps To A Successful Approach

Figure 4.1: The Personal Selling Process (PSP)


The second and third step in the 7-stage professional personal selling cycle

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Why Plan the Sales Call?


"Failing to plan is planning to fail"
an old saying with a lot of truth in it

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Why Plan the Sales Call? (contd)


Top professional sales representatives thoroughly plan all their sales calls to ensure success by
1.Establishing Sales Call Focus
Generate sales sell particular products to target customers on designated sales calls. Develop the market lay the groundwork for generating new business by educating customers and gaining visibility with prospective buyers. Protect the market learn competitors strategies and tactics and protect relationships with current customers.

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Why Plan the Sales Call? (contd)

2. Improving Effectiveness and Efficiency 3. Preparing for Customer Reaction

4. Enhancing Self-Confidence and Professionalism


5. Determining Which Selling Strategies to Use 6. Avoiding Errors

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Sales Call Planning Importance


Sales call planning increases in importance when
the customer's decision is a complex, highinvolvement, high risk one;
future interactions and negotiations with the customer are expected;

the customer's needs are unique;


a range of alternatives is available to the customer; and

the sale is very critical to the salesperson.

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Planning for the Sales Call: Six Steps to Pre- Approach Success
There are at least six general steps that ought to be considered in preparing for a sales call
1. Prepare the prospect for the initial sales call
"Seeding"
prospect-focused activities carried out several weeks or months before a sales call

2. Sell the Sales Call Appointment by prenotification


cold call e-mail

fax
mail telephone

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Planning for the Sales Call: Six Steps to Pre- Approach Success (contd)
3. Gather and analyze all relevant information about the prospect
Gathering Information About Consumer Prospects Consumer credit bureaus Market research

Library sources
Gathering Information About Organizational Prospects In-house purchasing agents Electronic directories and databases Library sources

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Planning for the Sales Call: Six Steps To Pre- Approach Success (contd)
4. Identify the prospect's problems and needs

Organizational Problems and Needs


SPIN approach
Situation Problem

Implication
Needs Payoff

5. Choose the Best Sales Presentation Strategy 6. Rehearse Your Approach

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Initial Sales Call Reluctance Sales Stage Fright


One of the biggest problems new salespeople face is fear of making the initial contact with prospects
Kinds of Sales Call Reluctance Social or self-image threat Intrusion sensitivity Analysis paralysis Group fright Social class or celebrity intimidation Role ambivalence Exploitation guilt

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Sales Call Anxiety (SCA)


SCA (sales call anxiety) can be attributed the fear of being negatively evaluated and rejected by customers

SCA has 4 components


1. negative evaluation of the self 2. imagined negative evaluations from customers

3. ones physiological symptoms


4. protective actions

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Overcoming Sales Call Reluctance


Many of the barriers to making sales calls can be overcome through the following efforts
Listen carefully to the excuses other salespeople use to justify call reluctance and learn to objectively analyze your own excuses Use supportive role-playing and discussions with sales colleagues to overcome fear Make some initial prospect contacts with a partner for support; then make calls without partner support

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Overcoming Sales Call Reluctance


Review and re-enact recent sales calls with sales colleagues to constructively critique performance for signs of progress Shift the focus from individual prospect personalities to sales objectives by setting them down in writing prior to making a sales call Rehearse sales calls with sales colleagues to reinforce positive behaviors Observe and model the behavior of successful salespeople

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Approaching the Prospect

The old saying that "you never get a second chance to make a first impression" indicates how important that first face-to-face contact with the prospect can be

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Greeting the Prospect

Mood
positive

Facial Expression
warmly smiling with mouth and eyes

Proper Body Posture

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Greeting the Prospect (contd)


Good Handshake
Types of handshakes
Seal-the-deal The fish Three-fingered claw Bone Crusher The pumper The death grip

The dish rag

Presenting Your Business Card

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Interaction with the Receptionist


What determines whether salespeople receive the receptionists assistance or not is dependent on the behavior they exhibit with that person.

A common complaint of many buyers is that salespeople are oftentimes rude, particularly to receptionists. So, professional deportment with the receptionist is critical.

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Improving Ones Self-image

Because failure is so prominent in selling, salespeople may need to reprogram themselves so that they can focus on their successes rather than on their failures.

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Key Terms
Preapproach
The approach planning stage of the selling process.

Approach
The first face-to-face contact with the prospect.

Seeding
Prospect-focused activities, such as mailing pertinent news articles, carried out several weeks or months before a sales call.

Prenotification
A technique using an in-person cold call, a mailing, or a telephone call to send a strong signal to the prospect that the salesperson would like to schedule a sales call appointment.
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Key Terms (contd)


Cold Call
Initial face-to-face contact with a prospect who is not expecting the salesperson to call.

SPIN
A selling technique that allows the salesperson to identify a prospects major needs quickly. The acronym refers to Situation, Problem, Implications, and Needs payoff.

Customer-Benefit Approach
An approach whereby the salesperson offers the prospect a specific benefit that can be realized from using the salespersons product.

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Key Terms (contd)

Survey Approach
An approach whereby the salesperson asks the prospect to answer a few survey questions, the responses to which establish quickly whether or not the prospect has a need for the salespersons product.

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Case 4.1. The Really Cold Initial Sales Call


1. What do you think are John's major problems as a salesperson? 2. Outline a strategy for John in making initial sales call appointments so that he isn't turned away so often. 3. What first-meeting approach might John use to win over "gatekeepers" such as receptionists and administrative secretaries? 4. What kind of training program do you think EBCC has for new salespeople? What would you suggest that the program include?

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Case 4.2. Approaching Prospects To Sell a Gotta Have It Product


1. What do you think of Jodi Miller's general approach to selling the new line of area rugs? What could she do differently to obtain appointments with buyers? 2. Critique Jodi's performance in trying to sell the area rugs to Thrush's. What positive moves did she make? What mistakes did she make? How would you have handled this account? 3. What might Jodi do now to sell the area rugs to Thrush's? 4. What strategies would you advise Jodi to use in (a) scheduling appointments with retail buyers, (b) preparing for the sales call, and (c) approaching prospects for the first time?

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