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Part II SALES FORCE ACTIVITIES. Chapter 5: Customer Interaction Management. Personal selling . We have divided the customer interaction process into three phases: Pre-interaction: actions that are initiated prior to the interaction with key decision makers.

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part ii sales force activities


Chapter 5:

Customer Interaction Management

personal selling
Personal selling
  • We have divided the customer interaction process into three phases:
  • Pre-interaction: actions that are initiated prior to the interaction with key decision makers.
  • Interaction: actions initiated while interacting with decision makers , calling on skills in relating , discovery , advocating, handling objections and closing.
personal selling3
Personal selling

3. Post interaction : activities following the transactions involving the supporting skills.

basic types of selling models
Basic types of selling Models
  • There are three types of selling models which are :
  • Standardized model
  • Need satisfaction model
  • Problem Solution model
1 standardized model
1. Standardized Model
  • With this model , a series of statements are constructed about an offering, so as to stimulate a positive response by the customer, this is often referred to as benefititzing an offering.
  • Benefitizing means translating features of a product into benefits believed to be of value to the customer
1 standardized model7
1. Standardized Model
  • The standardized model is most appropriate in situations where a product is standardized or when the benefits are the same for all customers.
  • This type will be most appropriate for transactional relationships where customers are concerned about the lowest cost and convenience.
1 standardized model8
1. Standardized Model
  • Because the standardized sales presentations are easiest to learn , they are also used in cases where the sales force is inexperienced and employees turnover is high
  • If the buyer’s decision making is complex , then a standardized selling approach is at a disadvantage because salespeople aren’t well trained to cover this complexity.
2 need satisfaction model
2. Need satisfaction Model
  • Is oriented to discovering and meeting customer needs. Needs discovery is achieved by skillfully asking questions that will elicit customer buying needs..
  • Needs discovery takes place early in the selling cycle , often during the first call and replaces the presentation as the most important step in the selling process.
2 need satisfaction model10
2. Need satisfaction Model
  • The need satisfaction is most appropriate for the consultative type relationships both the customer and the supplier are investing more time and resources in the relationship.
  • The need satisfaction model is most appropriate when customer needs vary in important ways from one another.
3 problem solution model
3. Problem solution Model
  • is similar to the need satisfaction model in that both involve an analysis of each customer’s circumstances. The primary difference is that a problem solution selling process is based on more formal studies.
  • The selling model involves significant dollar expenditures ,and the selling cycle maybe quite long.
3 problem solution model12
3. Problem solution Model
  • A problem solution selling approach is most appropriate for a consultative or enterprise relationship where there is a very high investment in the relationship by both the seller and the client organizations.
pre interaction phase planning skills
Pre-Interaction phase: Planning skills
  • As the term planning skills implies , this stage occurs when you collect your thoughts and organize your interaction strategy prior to meeting a customer face to face.
1 setting objectives what do i want to accomplish
1. Setting objectives: what do I want to accomplish
  • Many selling experts have stated simply that the salespeople shouldn’t make a call unless they can specify an action that they want the client to take.
  • Objectives should be stated in terms of client actions so that the salesperson will know whether the objective have been met .
setting objectives what do i want to accomplish
Setting objectives: what do I want to accomplish
  • Here are some examples for good objectives:
  • The client agrees to supply information on historical inventory levels.
  • The client tells you who will be involved in the purchasing decision.
  • The client arranges for a meeting with the chief design engineer.
  • The client agrees to a trial run on a system
2 knowledge management what do i know about the customer
2. Knowledge management: what do I know about the customer?
  • Pre-interaction planning is also a good opportunity to review individual , company and industry information about the clients and their company.
  • Basic information that maybe useful to know about an individual includes exact spelling and pronunciation of her name , title, age , residence, education , buying authority….etc

Customer Interaction

Figure 5-2: Some Important Pre-transactional Information

3 information gathering where can i find the information
3. Information Gathering: where can I find the information?
  • When you know what information you need to make a successful sales call , you can usually identify a number of sources for obtaining the data.. These sources include company records, salespeople, customer employees , published information and observations.
  • Observation of the prospect’s business operations provides a wealth of information to the experienced sales person.
Successful Salespeople

Research prospect background

Use referrals for prospecting

Open by asking questions

Use needs-satisfaction type presentation

Focus on customer needs

Let prospect make purchase decision

Less Successful Salespeople

Do little background research

Use company generated prospect lists

Open with a product statement

Use standard presentations

Focus on product benefits

Close by focusing on the most important customer objection

Customer Interaction

Figure 5-3: Successful Versus Less Successful Salespeople

customer relationship management software
Customer relationship management Software
  • CRM can play an important role in this phase of the process , the purpose of CRM software is to ensure that every person from the supplier’s organization who comes into contact with a customer has access to all the latest information on a customer, and the information is relevant , accurate and up to date.
4 rehearsal what am i going to say
4. Rehearsal: what am I going to say?
  • All salespeople should have at least some idea of how they will initially start an interaction, what questions they will ask , and what benefits they plan to present.
  • When preparing to call on clients , it’s helpful to put yourself in their position , what do you want to know about your company and its products if you were the customer?
4 rehearsal what am i going to say22
4. Rehearsal: what am I going to say?
  • A sample of the client’s questions includes:
  • What’s your company ?
  • What are you selling and what kind of person are you ?
  • How does your solution compare to other alternatives?
  • How much does it cost? Is your price truly competitive?
the interaction phase
The interaction Phase
  • The interaction phase refers to what takes place during a face to face encounter with a customer.
  • We will focus on three skills that are important in all business and social interaction, relating , discovering and advocating. In addition there are two skills critical to successful selling in certain situations: gaining access and closing
gaining access
Gaining Access
  • According to many experts , its getting difficult to get “ face time “ with clients and will be even more so in the future
  • Following are four commonly used alternatives for gaining access to decision makers
1 direct personal contact
1. Direct Personal contact
  • The most difficult approach is the direct personal contact , without prior attempt to continue with prospects.
  • For example , the person maybe busy so the salesperson must wait. The key is not to waste the time.
  • A more difficult problem arises when the client has a negative reaction to being called on without an appointment.
1 direct personal contact26
1. Direct Personal contact
  • Many people don’t like to meet with a salesperson who walks in without an appointment. Indeed many clients simply won’t see a salesperson without an appointment.
2 phoning ahead
2. Phoning Ahead
  • Using the telephone to approach prospects has number of advantages.
  • Appointment make better use of the salesperson’s time and reduce the hours spent in waiting rooms.
  • The major problem with a phone approach is that it is too easy for prospects or their secretaries to turn someone down over the phone.
2 phoning ahead28
2. Phoning Ahead
  • Phone contacts are quite common with current clients. A special problem that arises with both new and existing customers is leaving voice message.
  • Salespeople will tell you to keep several rules in mind when leaving voice messages.
2 phoning ahead29
2. Phoning Ahead
  • Keep the message as short as possible.
  • State your name at the beginning and again near the end of the message
  • Always repeat your phone number
  • State your phone number slowly, slower indeed than you think is necessary.
3 personal letters
3. Personal letters
  • The first approach to a prospect maybe made by means of a personal letter.
  • Letters are more difficult than phone calls for the secretary to screen.
  • In addition, letters allow the person to include brochures that describe the product assortment and benefits enabling prospects to learn more about the potential supplier than they can over the phone.
3 personal letters31
3. Personal letters
  • Approach letters should close by suggesting dates for a meeting. This may also be accomplished by a follow-up phone call.
  • In doing so , the salesperson focuses the prospect’s attention on the issue of when to meet rather than whether to meet.
4 e mail messages
4. E-mail messages
  • An increasingly common method of communications, whether with new or existing clients is to leave an email message.
  • E-mail messages have at least two advantages over the voice messages which are :
4 e mail messages33
4. E-mail messages
  • It is possible to send the message at very little cost in time or money to a large number of people.
  • Graphics and detailed promotional material maybe included with the message as an attachment to the main message.
  • * In particular the body of the message should be as short as possible.
relating skills
Relating skills

“ Building new relationship between the salespeople and the prospects “

  • In most social situations, both of the people meeting for the first time experience a degree of tension. Salespeople have long recognized the fear of making contact with a customer.
relating skills35
Relating skills
  • Customers are also likely to feel a form of anxiety , referred to as “ relationship anxiety” when meeting a salesperson’s.
  • This anxiety arises because people don’t like to be sold , they like buy.
  • In one sense , the role of the salespeople is to help customers buy wisely. This calls for well developed relating skills, that is the ability to put the other person at ease in a tense situation.
relating skills37
Relating skills
  • To help establish a rapport, salespeople should be forthcoming about the purpose of the sales call. Many experts admonish the salespeople to avoid asking “ how are you ?” because this question is meaningless. Its good to say “Thank You for Your time “
need discovery skills
Need Discovery skills
  • After establishing initial rapport with the prospect, the salesperson should begin to understand the other person.
  • Customers don’t buy products or services, they buy solutions that address their problems or enhance the opportunities.
  • The salesperson’s job is to discover the true needs and they inform the prospect about the characteristics, capabilities and availability of goods and services that can address these needs.
need discovery skills39
Need Discovery skills
  • Need discovery is about understanding the other person’s perceptions of his or her most important needs and help them to fully understand these needs.
  • It’s not easy to do but when you help customers understand the total cost of their problem and the extent to their opportunities , it makes it easier for them to choose the best solution.
identifying motives
Identifying Motives
  • In selling to organizations , the situation is complicated because both task and personal motives influence the purchasing decision.
  • Task motives can be defined as the logical , practical or functional reasons for buying; they usually involve money or productivity.
identifying motives42
Identifying Motives
  • Successful salespeople know what the customer’s personal needs may be just as important as their business needs in making a decision.
  • Personal motives are the individual preferences that spur a person to buy.
  • Personal needs include the need for respect , approval , power and recognition.
  • Discovering a customer’s perceived needs involves asking questions and listening to the customer responses.
  • Asking question isn’t as easy as it may first appear.
  • Obtaining information through questioning is most important in complex sales situations, such as in consultative and enterprise type relationships.
  • Questions maybe classified as closed ended or open ended .
  • Closed ended questions can be answered with a simple yes or no by selecting from a list of responses.
  • Open ended questions cant be answered with a simple yes or No and are used to identify a topic.
customer interaction46
Customer Interaction

Needs Discovery: Types of Questions

Permission Close-ended

Fact-finding Factual information

Feeling finding Open-ended questions

Checking questions Confirm understanding

advocating skills
Advocating skills
  • Refers to the ability to clearly and fully present a solution that customer can see helps to address their needs.
  • Advocating is an opportunity to demonstrate customer and product knowledge and one’s ability to provide solutions that fit the customer needs.
  • Two aspects of advocating are considered:
advocating skills48
Advocating skills
  • Presenting a specific solution to a problem.
  • Addressing customer concerns regarding the solution being proposed.
1 solution presentation
1. Solution Presentation
  • The objective of a solution presentation is to convince customers that the good and services which are offered , match their requirements and satisfy their needs.
  • So it’s a discussion of a series of product or service features connected with benefits that the client has indicated are important and are followed by evidence that the benefits will in fact be delivered.
1 solution presentation50
1. Solution Presentation
  • Features : are tangible and intangible characteristics of a product or service.
  • Benefit is a statement about how a product or service can help a customer satisfy an explicit or stated needs.
  • The benefits focus on the client and is related to task motive. The benefit is being sold not the feature
type of customer relationship
Type of customer relationship
  • Presentation skills , like the other skills are related to success regardless of the customer relationship being developed.

Customer Interaction

Figure 5-6: Key Differences in Practices Between Relationships

written sales proposal
Written sales proposal
  • Although proposals maybe organized in various ways, proposal should convey the five quality dimensions:
  • Reliability
  • Assurance
  • Tangibles
  • Empathy
  • Responsiveness
written sales proposal54
Written sales proposal
  • Sales proposal are advantageous because everything is in writing , which means there is less chance of misunderstanding, written proposals also improve the communication when the purchase decisions are made.
  • But on the other hand it takes time and money and they may not be cost effective for all selling situations.
addressing customer concerns
Addressing customer concerns
  • Customer concerns or questions are likely to arise in any sales presentation.
  • Customer concerns are best considered a natural part of any sales presentation and should be viewed by salesperson as an opportunity rather than an obstacle.
  • The question remains as how to handle the real concerns that are raised, the process involves the following steps:
customer interaction56
Customer Interaction

Handling Concerns

Listen to the buyers feelings

Share concerns without judgment

Clarify real issue with questions

Problem-solve present options and solutions

Ask for ACTION to determine commitment

closing skills
Closing skills
  • Closing occurs when a salesperson asks for a commitment from the customer.
  • An often heard suggestion is to “ close early and close often “ , this advice isn’t consistent with efforts to build trusting relationships with customers.
  • Trial closes are questions that ask for opinions that will serve as indicators of how close the client is to making a purchase decision.
post interaction phase
Post-Interaction Phase
  • Follow up activities: refers to all the efforts involved in servicing the sale and building a lasting and growing relationship. customers expect an after sales services.
  • Quality of customer service was ranked the highest in terms of contributions to growth and profits.
customer interaction61
Customer Interaction

Pillars of Sales Support

  • Reduce buyer anxiety
  • Make a follow-up call
  • Ask for feedback

Support Buying Decision

  • Assist w/ approval process
  • Introduce support resources
  • Monitor & report progress

Manage the Implementation

customer interaction62
Customer Interaction

Pillars of Sales Support

Deal with Dissatisfaction

  • Empathize with the buyer
  • Respond to problems – use objection handling techniques
  • Anticipate buyer concerns and expectations
  • Reinforce the Benefits
customer interaction63
Customer Interaction

Pillars of Sales Support

Enhance the Relationship

  • Be available
  • Arrange continuedpersonal communications
  • Maintain quality of products/services
  • Provide ongoing updates and progress reports
  • Be a resource for info, help and ideas
  • Grow the business internally
  • Ask for referrals

Customer Interaction

Ways to Anger Customers

  • Constant Selling
  • Neglecting Customer Problems
  • Talking Too Much
  • Stretching the Truth
  • No Thank-You