Salesmanship

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Mr. Joe was muttering a curse. He was trying to make a sales call on the forth prospective customer and opening the gates of his house when the ferocious dog came barking. It had bitten off a piece from his pant. Had the land lady not been there it would have killed him. Mr. Joe was feeling miserable. He was one of the many desperate sales employees roaming around for business.

What is the most arduous task for a sales person? Is it planning or executing? Both are merely parts of sales prospecting. Most of the guys who fail in sales job despite their talent in it find it very hard to create their own ‘Psychological positioning’.

Sales the most primitive profession on earth needs tremendous will power. Although the vital part of product management in sales is ‘Positioning’ the product, but before the product gets positioned the salesman requires his own psychology to take position for the difficult task of market penetration.

How would you react if I suggest you to walk using your hands rather by your legs? The idea would bring forth instant angry reaction or a vexed rejection. But that’s natural. Salesman’s job requires suggesting people, ( read selling people) just opposite concepts or ideas of what they have been doing so far. Believe it.

Mr. Parker, the  sales officer of multinational, selling newly introduced alloys for manufacturing gold ornaments went to a famous showroom with a prior appointment to show the efficacy of his products to retain the shine of gold jewelry in the long run. Normally the goldsmiths make the use of a mixture of copper and a bit of silver to make carat gold. The same mixture used to be manufactured by the company of Parker with collaboration from U.K. The wealthy owner of the showroom heard with patience regarding the goodness of the alloys.

But his anger hit the ceiling when he heard the price of the product.

“How dare you try selling me the cheapest copper at a price more than the price of silver”-He yelled in the face of Parker.

Parker committed the folly of panicking at the  angry voice of the buyer. The first part of customers’ complaint handling had just begun. In stead of remaining firm under such invariable, usual complaints from the purchaser he was nervous and took to his heels.

Had he shown the calculation there that for making one kilo of gold, the buyer needs to make use of one hundred gram of alloy, the latter would have been silent within seconds. At best the cost hike would come 0.001% more than the old method, which was negligible concerning the quality.

But he lost nerves. It would have been wiser for him to brag before the objecting customer that many other show-room owners for jewelry had already procured alloy from him and improved their ornaments. By doing this, he could have aroused the jealously factor in the customer . The latter  would have got the compelling urge to buy and at least use the product for once.

A sane advice for Mr. Parker from the peers of salesmanship is “Never retreat in the face of an objecting buyer”. All books on this subject urge the sales fraternity to make use of ‘aggressiveness’ while selling. But that quality in salesman is most required in such situations. Aggressiveness is nothing but the tactful presentation of the utilities of product before the objecting customer. Every argument can be done politely till the logic of the utilities of the product is driven deep in to the hearts of the customers. The salesman’s confidence should not dip there.

It was a total bolt from the blue when Parker stepped into the same show room for the next time. This time the same man nodded in appreciation.

He was transformed within a gap of fifteen days!!!

“Your product is one of the best”-The same man who posed so much of opposition said with a smile.

What changed the man?

Well, simple. He got the very idea of trying Parker’s product while gossiping with a customer about the glossy ornaments of his neighboring show room.

“Why don’t you use alloy for shine of your of ornaments, while your next shop is making use of it”-The customer advised.

Parker had failed to act in the nick of the time. It is imperative upon every sales guy to stand bold while the product faces the resistance at the penetration stage in the market.

Another thing that helps a salesman is timing. In India the best kind of savvy salesmanship is seen when the people from Bangladesh arrive to sell saris and bed sheets from Bengal. They only appear while the men go away out of their offices on their vocations. The womenfolk are usually free. Just step in and squat at a place and open the knot of your bundle. The women would of course come to give their dismal opinions criticizing the wares. But the Bangladeshis would not open their mouth. It is not easy to sell something to a woman. But clever sales people know that they have one or two hours in their hands –the available time before the women retire to beds for the afternoon nap. The haggle lasts for one or two hours. Alas, the entire bundle is sold. Every trick to sell is applied there. The astute sales men can even know that the woman is reluctant to buy because she is diffident to spend the money that she stole from her husband’s purse.

A simple trick brings the result there. The salesman holds the hand of the woman and places it on his head and asks for her blessings. She agrees to buy at such unexpected courtesy.

The price quoted may be a thousand bucks initially but the womenfolk would bid it to one hundred. Finally it would peter out at one hundred fifty bucks. God only knows at what price the sellers procure the clothes. You would commit the inevitable mistake if you only go to the market with the knowledge mugged up from the sales and marketing books. You would one day concur that the real market is much more different from the images given in the books.

“The sales of a product are always done by tricks, not by the prescribed methodology in the books of study”- A senior marketer had told me long back.

Srikanta Mohanty,MBA(Symbiosis)

HIG-1/60, BDA COLONY

Bhubaneswar-751002.

Email;srikant_mh@rediffmail.com

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