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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 IISALES FORCE ACTIVITIES

Chapter 5:

Customer Interaction Management


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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.


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Personal selling

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



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Basic types of selling Models

  • There are three types of selling models which are :

  • Standardized model

  • Need satisfaction model

  • Problem Solution model


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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


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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 .


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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


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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


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Customer Interaction

Figure 5-2: Some Important Pre-transactional Information


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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.


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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


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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.


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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?


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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?


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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


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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


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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 :


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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.


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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.


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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.



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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 “


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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.


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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.


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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.



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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.



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Questioning

  • 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.


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Questioning

  • 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.


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Customer Interaction

Needs Discovery: Types of Questions

Permission Close-ended

Fact-finding Factual information

Feeling finding Open-ended questions

Checking questions Confirm understanding


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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:


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Advocating skills

  • Presenting a specific solution to a problem.

  • Addressing customer concerns regarding the solution being proposed.


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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.


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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


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Type of customer relationship

  • Presentation skills , like the other skills are related to success regardless of the customer relationship being developed.


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Customer Interaction

Figure 5-6: Key Differences in Practices Between Relationships


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Written sales proposal

  • Although proposals maybe organized in various ways, proposal should convey the five quality dimensions:

  • Reliability

  • Assurance

  • Tangibles

  • Empathy

  • Responsiveness


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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.


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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:


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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


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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.



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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.



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Customer Interaction Support

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


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Customer Interaction Support

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


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Customer Interaction Support

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


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Customer Interaction Support

Ways to Anger Customers

  • Constant Selling

  • Neglecting Customer Problems

  • Talking Too Much

  • Stretching the Truth

  • No Thank-You


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