Difficult sales Do not sell, but help to buy

In a market economy, selling should be the business of the entire firm, not just the sales department.

It doesn’t really matter how the sales are made: in a convenience store, over the Internet, through an expert’s recommendation, in a personal selling mode, and so on. Everything will be for sale! Sales should be viewed in a broad context, in two senses. Under the sale, we will understand the actual acts of sale, incl. and with the help of sellers; and under “selling” – the art of persuading, “selling” one’s ideas. A popular phrase is that we all live by selling something. Being a good “seller” is good for everyone.

If everything is fine with the “sale” at the company, then the sale is often needed mainly in the technical sense – to accept orders and payments. To be considered a good “seller” in the West is considered prestigious. When an advertiser is called an excellent “salesman”, it means that he knows how to make selling advertising. A “salesperson” can also be called an effective marketer who, in particular, can creatively identify and create selling information (see below) for products and a company.

A good salesperson must be a great salesperson. Sales require expenses.

Reducing them allows you to lower prices, gaining a competitive advantage. Here is how the Utkonos online store justifies its low prices: “We do not pay for extra square meters; we do not overpay for real estate in the Center; We have automated all management processes. I would also add – we do not spend money on sellers. Selling through sellers is the most expensive way to sell. If you cannot do without them, then you should maximize their effectiveness. Most books on sales deal with the form (technique) of personal selling. They pay little attention to the content of the sale, i. what needs to be sold. But in sales, as elsewhere, content is more important than form.

From Understanding Buying to Selling It is natural for a customer-oriented company to view the process of acquiring its products by customers, first of all, not as a sale (from itself), but as a purchase (from the Customer). This explains why Drucker believes that: “Ideally, marketing should create a consumer who is ready to buy.” However, there are a lot of products on the market and they are bought in different ways. This means that you need to prepare the consumer for buying in different ways. But in any case, for a marketer, selling means helping the Client buy. So, we must make it clear to ourselves that the marketer goes from understanding and / or feeling how a purchase occurs, to how to build a sale accordingly.

Buying and selling is an exchange of information

At the heart of the decision to buy, as well as any decision in general, is the analysis of information. When your firm sells and your customer buys, there is an exchange of information between you. This exchange is not symmetrical: The client is free to search for information. He can use information received from competitors and from various independent sources. The more important the purchase, the less familiar the product and the more difficult it is to get “selling” information, the more difficult it is for the Client to buy. Help him buy (and sell himself!), by providing him with comprehensive selling information in forms convenient for him and through channels convenient for him. Remember: Sales content is selling information.

Or more precisely, the development of selling information and bringing it to a potential buyer. Selling information about the product and the company are: Selling moments of the product – a marketing description of how the product solves the Client’s tasks better than competitors do; The firm’s selling points are a marketing description of the firm’s customer focus, if needed. (The topic of selling points is discussed briefly below.) Product specifications. As well as supporting information: Confirmations – facts, examples and links to independent sources; Educational information – an introduction to the relevant technology, comparisons with competitors, recommendations, etc. Almost always, the selling points of a product are much more important than its technical characteristics. Unfortunately, in Russia it is customary to sell without any selling points, at best using only technical characteristics.

It is impossible to create a marketing description without knowing the principles of marketing. The simplest and most philosophically correct definition of marketing was given by Peter Drucker: The purpose of marketing is “to minimize sales efforts.” The practical task of marketing is “Marketing should create a consumer ready to buy.” Marketing Vision – “Marketing is the whole business, viewed from the point of view of the Client.” This is customer centricity. The measure of the success of marketing programs is sales, or better to say profits from sales. It is impossible to consider business from the point of view of the Client without marketing thinking. At the center of the market universe stands His Majesty the Client, indifferent, inundated with offers and armed with the Internet. Marketing is “done” in his mind, not in the mind of the marketer or salesperson. A customer-oriented company can be represented as follows: Marketers are sometimes called the representatives of the Customer in the firm. Client It the main figure in the market economy.

The better we know him, the better.

Let’s start with a simple question – do people know how to buy? Some are good, some not so good, some not at all. People have fuzzy ideas about the quality of many products and about their needs. They are far from always able to justify their choice of even many routine goods and services. As more and more new products appear on the market, it becomes more and more difficult to buy. Thus, we are all not very qualified buyers of most products. There are product categories in which almost 100% of buyers are “dummies”. Ultimately, the Client does not purchase a product, but the satisfaction of his needs and the solution to his problems. At the same time, the same product can be used by different people to solve different problems. It is very important to know why exactly people and companies buy, but, unfortunately, it is not always possible.

There are examples of how companies (sometimes even successfully) promote completely different things for which Clients appreciate their products, i.e. the market itself finds useful applications for products. There are purchases that entail a trail of subsequent purchases and relationships between the supplier and the buyer for years: service, spare parts, staff training, etc. In such cases, the proposal should offer not only a product, but also a quiet life for years. Criteria for choosing products by the Client and his needs In the conditions of a large choice, any purchase is a comparison with the offers of competitors. And you can compare something only if you have comparison criteria – knowing what indicators to pay attention to when evaluating a product. These criteria, their number and relative importance are determined by the specifics of the product category, market segment and the product itself. Sometimes the Client already has the right selection criteria. Can they be identified? And if it is possible, then how? Some rational criteria can be identified by a survey. But the survey does not always help, so the marketer should use all his experience in order to understand the selection criteria as thinly as possible. At the same time, it is strange when companies do not take into account the criteria that lie on the surface and relate to a wide class of products. For example, traditional categories of criteria can be distinguished for equipment: Technical – performance, reliability, maintainability, safety, etc.

Economic – consumption of energy, spare parts and / or consumables, saving space, freeing up employees, etc.

Ergonomic – ease of use, storage, installation, etc. Personnel – the number and qualifications of employees operating and maintaining the equipment; the need, time and cost of their retraining. Commercial – price, payment terms, delivery terms, etc. Legal — compliance with standards and norms, availability of certificates, assistance in obtaining approvals, etc. Environmental – harmful radiation and emissions, etc. Intangible – aesthetics, prestige, etc. The specifics of the industry, market segment and innovation can be superimposed on this. You can also talk about the priority criteria. The client may know the correct selection criteria in part. For example, when purchasing a new generation product known to him, the Client may not know the new selection criteria. However, most often, when choosing a product of a “difficult” category, the Client either has a vague idea of ​​the selection criteria, or does not have them at all. And without the Client knowing the right criteria for choosing a product, his purchase may turn out to be unsuccessful.

In order to successfully sell to an unqualified Client, he first needs to explain the correct criteria for evaluating products in this category using various sales tools. For the seller, the question is interesting – what criteria will the Client have when he learns a lot about the product? As the understanding of the correct selection criteria grows, the Client will have needs. They will change from Uncertain Demand (actually needs an air conditioner) to Informed Demand (needs a specific air conditioner).

The task of the “seller” is to help the Client acquire an informed need. The client can only see the tip of the iceberg (their explicit needs), unaware of what is hidden under the water (hidden needs). Thus, one of the main tasks of the “seller” is to demonstrate to the non-specialist buyer this hidden part of the iceberg. A good seller should also disclose the possibilities of the proposed solution in relation to the specific situation of a particular buyer. When educating the Client, marketers, sellers and advertisers should speak with the Client in a language that he understands, and not in the jargon of his industry. Otherwise, they will lose a large percentage of potential buyers. The client can also be a professional. By offering him your solutions, you will pleasantly surprise him with your knowledge of his jargon – for him, you become, as it were, his own.