Face to face sales, or most commonly known as door to door sales, is becoming more and more popular in this new global market that we find ourselves in. While coupons are still being printed and free samples given, personal selling situations are becoming a larger part of many company’s marketing mixes. This face to face marketing strategy must be thought through, as well as a presentation plan should be made to facilitate more effective sales through this type of marketing strategy. A presentation plan is broken down into six steps, in which each step is important. Each step can also bring its own challenges and problems. Each steps is as follows; approach, presentation, demonstration, negotiations, close and servicing the sale.
Step one is the approach. This is where the seller will review his selling model and then initiate customer contact. Customer contact can be via the telephone, at the consumer’s house or it could be a customer in a store in which you will try to sell a product or service.
One of the challenges that can arise in this first step is finding the right person to approach. I used to promote business phone services through Sprint and the hardest part sometimes, was finding the actual customer. A seller needs to be face to face with a buyer to be successful, and you will find that many people are not buyers, and do not have the authority to buy anything. This can turn into a waste of time if the potential buyer is actually not one, so who the person is should be of the utmost importance to find out. In another example, a door to door salesman knows not to try to sell a vacuum cleaner to a husband, he has no say in that type of purchase and could really care less about the purchase. He is not your customer, thus should not be approached in the first place.
Presentation is the next step of the presentation plan and is a crucial one. In this step you must find out what the prospects needs are, so that you can match a product of service to those needs. People buy things because they need something, if they do not need the product, there will no reason for them to buy it.
This can have challenges, especially in emerging markets where needs are so drastically different. Electronics companies would have problems selling computers to a country like India or Africa, where electricity is not as widely used. This country is not ready for the product, and thus, most of the potential consumers does not have needs that can be fulfilled by a specific product. This challenge can be lessened with due diligence and choice approach methods.
Product demonstration is next on the steps process and holds the most beneficial part of face to face sales. This is where the seller can engage the potential buyer with the product or service, this is the moment to wow them Once you have found a buyer, tested out their needs, it is time to show them you can fulfill it. This can be a powerful step to eventuate the sale.
The problem with a demonstration can come, if there is a problem with the demonstration. If a vacuum seller through dirt on a carpet and the carpet failed to pick it up, this would be a disaster. Not only will there not be a sale, but there could also be financial and brand name ramifications with the negative demonstration. The seller should know and be able to operate the product correctly and efficiently. They should know what the product can and cannot do, as well as have the fortitude not to make claims that cannot be backed up.
Negotiations is the next step, this is when the deal is ironed out Prices and extras are negotiated to ensure that both parties are getting what they want. The best result of negotiations is a win-win opportunity. The needs have been assessed and the prefect product is found to satisfy the need.
If negotiations are not a win-win situation, there may be problems. This can create ill will, as well as lose a potential sale for a seller. Cultural differences may play a part, whereas one culture is quicker than another. Pressure exerted in one country can be seen as persuasive, while another country may find similar actions rude and refuse to do business with the company or individual seller. This is also a time when personalities can clash and have a negative effect on the potential sale.
Close is the fifth step of the process, finalizing the sale. This is when the deal has been struck, finally! If the seller has not messed up the first four steps, they will make a sale. If the product is immediately available it will exchange hands with the payment, or the product may need to be ordered. This is when the seller asks how many of something a person wants.
The challenges with this step, or many and the same of the previous step. Cultural and personality differences can be a problem, especially in face to face sales scenarios. There may also be a problem getting the product in the specifics desired, as well as getting the product there when it is needed.
The final step of the presentation plan is servicing the sale. This could mean anything, but mainly refers to any activity that is needed to end the sale, as well as any activities after the sale. Some products may need to be delivered if ordered. Other products may have to be installed for use or the use may need to be taught if it is a complicated product. There should also be a check-in after the fact of sale, to make sure that the product is satisfying the need, as well as looking for openings to sell more products or the same ilk or different/new products that are being offered by the company.
This can be a challenge if there is a large volume of sales, as an individual seller would have to personally follow up with all the customers. Problems could also arise if there is a problem with the product of service. As a field sales representative for many years, I have learned that the problem is not the problem, but the way the problem is handled. Handling a problem with the product can ensure return customers, or it can guarantee dis-satisfaction.
Keegan, W.J., and Green, M.C. (2013). Global Marketing (7th ed.). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.