The personal selling process is an eight step approach that has been found to be beneficial in sales. The eight steps are: prospecting, preapproach, approach, need assessment, presentation, meeting objections, gaining commitment, and following up.
Prospecting is the step where salespeople determine leads or prospects. After they figure out potential customers, they must determine whether they are qualified leads, or leads who are likely to buy. Qualified leads are those who have a need for the product, can afford the product, and are willing to be contacted by the salesperson.
Next, the preapproach is used for preparing for the presentation. This consists of customer research and goal planning for the presentation. Then comes the approach. This is when the salesperson initially meets with the customer. It is helpful to schedule an appointment to ensure capturing the buyer’s attention. Since first contact leaves an impression on the buyer, professional conduct, including attire, a handshake, and eye contact, is advised.
Following the approach is the need assessment. Salespeople should evaluate the customer based on the need for the product. They should ask questions to reveal the current situation, the source of any problems, the impact of the problems, the benefits of the solution, and the interest of the buyer.
Once the salesperson knows the needs, he or she is ready for the presentation. The point of this is to grab the customer’s Attention, ignite Interest, create Desire, and inspire Action, or AIDA. The salesperson can do this through product demonstrations and presentations that show the features, advantages and benefits of the product.
After this comes meeting objections. Customers who are interested will voice their concerns, usually in one of four ways. They might question the price or value of the product, dismiss the product/service as inadequate, avoid making a commitment to buy, or refuse because of an unknown factor. Salespeople should do their best to anticipate objections and respectfully respond to them. Then, gaining commitment comes next. The salesperson can use several different sales closes to move the sale forward. They can use the ‘alternative close’, the ‘assumptive close’, the ‘summary close’, or the ‘special-offer close’, among others. Finally, the salesperson must remember to follow up. Following up will ensure customer satisfaction and help establish a relationship with the customer.
- Spiro, Roseann; Gregory Rich; William Stanton (2008). Management of a Sales Force (12th ed.). McGraw-Hill Irwin.
- "Personal Selling". Retrieved 28 July 2012.
- Brown, Alex. "Chapter 20, Personal Selling and Sales Management, Class Notes". Retrieved 28 July 2012.