The article provides a complete guide on the field of salesmanship or personal selling. It tells the features of salesmanship and the advantages of salesmanship for the customers. It also describes the advantages or the merits of salesmanship for the businessman and the society while dealing with the physical, mental, social and vocational qualities or attributes of a good or an idle salesman.
Meaning of salesman
Salesmanship or the personal selling is the oldest and most popular method of selling goods. It involves direct and personal contact of the seller or his representative with the prospective buyer. It means face-to-face persuasive communication between the buyer and the seller. Due to the booming market in our country, there is a great scope for making career in salesmanship.
Features of salesmanship
It involves direct and personal contact between the buyer and the seller.
It is face to face and oral communication.
It is the art of persuasion that involves converting human needs into demands.
It is the science of winning the buyer's confident into the seller as well as his product.
It is both an art as well as science as it can be practiced and not just learnt.
Its real purpose is not to induce or trap people to buy goods which they do not need or cannot afford. It is rather to build up a mutually advantages and permanent relationship between the buyer and the seller.
It involves contact between the buyer and the seller.
It requires a lot of patient and flexible approach as different people react differently.
Objectives of salesmanship
Creation of demand: The basic objective of salesmanship is to create demand for a product or service. The salesman personally talk to the customers and explains the utility of the product. He tries to convince the buyers that the customer may buy the product.
Handling objections: Customers express their doubts and objections about the quality of the product. The aim of salesman is to listen to the grievances of the buyers patiently and to solve them so as to retain existing customers while creating new ones.
Exploring hidden wants: A salesman studies the hidden desires of the customers. He helps them appreciate their needs and take action to satisfy them. A salesman demonstrates the product and explain its uses to increase the sales.
Educating customersA salesman informs and educates the customers about new products and explains their uses. He guides the customers in the selection of the suitable products.
Building relationships: Salesman is developing permanent relationships with customers for the benefit of both the buyer and the seller.
Importance of salesmanship
Salesman offers a number of benefits to customers, businessman and society at large.
Benefits to consumers
it provides knowledge and education about new products and new uses of existing products.A salesman acts as guide and friend to customers.
It helps consumers in selecting products best suited to their needs, tastes and preferences.
It communicates the grievances and suggestions of consumers to traders and producers.
It enables consumers to get quality products at fair prices.
Benefits to businessman
It helps to locate prospective buyers and create demand by winning the confidence of the customers. It helps in increasing the profits and the sales.
It explores new markets and make new products available in the current market.
It enables the businessman to secure the advantages of economies of scale and marketing.
It creates continuous demand thereby reducing seasonal fluctuations in demand.
It helps the businessman to face cut-throat competition in the market.
It provides valuable feedback about the likes and dislikes of the customers on the basis of which producers can improve design, quality and package.
It help0s to build a favorable image of the company and its products. We can say that the salesman acts as the 'eyes' and the 'ears' of producers.
Benefits to the society
It stimulates consumption and accelerates the rates of production.
It creates employment opportunities for a large number of people.
It increases the national income of the country.
It generates revenue for the government.
It is the basis of all trade activities.
Steps in personal selling
Prospecting: First of all, a salesman prepares a list of customers to be approaches either by name or the specific area. Potential customers may be identified through personal contacts, business publications, dealers, inquiry, area etc. The salesman should consider accessibility, needs, preferences, buying capacity, behavior etc, of the consumers.
Pre-sale preparation: A salesman should acquire the necessary information and knowledge about the product, the company, the market, the competitors and the environment of the business.
Sales presentation: The next step is to gain the attention of the consumers.The salesman demonstrates the product and describes its features and how to use them. He should be patient and friendly in his approach.His talk should be lively and he should try to arouse the interest of the consumers and create the desire to buy.
Convincing the consumer: Once the interest and the desire is created, the customer will put forward questions and doubts. For this, he may hand over the booklet of frequently asked questions or demonstrate the product so as to clear all his doubts and objections without entering into any controversy.
Closing the sale: Once the customer is convinced, the salesman helps in selecting the most suitable variety as per his tastes and needs. He accepts the payment from the customer, packs he product suitably and delivers it efficiently. The salesman should close the sales in a courteous manner. He should not force the deal but let the customer feel that he has made the final decision and the right choice.
Post sales activity: A good salesman may show and suggest a related item either for current selling or future transaction. For example, he may persuade the buyer who buys a shirt to purchase socks, vests, ties etc.
Qualities of a good salesman
I have described some of the qualities of a good salesman that he must possess. In reality, theses are the qualities of a an idle salesman.
Physical qualities: A successful salesman must have a sound health and pleasing personality. His job is arduous and his physique must be strong, sturdy, free from disease and disability of any type. Good personality consists of various qualities such as neat appearance, refined tastes, good habits, clear voice etc. A pleasing and charming personality boosts confidence and morale. Only a well groomed and cheerful salesman can create a good impression on the consumers. The Chinese proverb " one who runs the store must have a smiling face" indicates the significance of personality for a good salesman.
Mental attributes: A good salesman must have a high degree of intelligence, initiative, flexibility and imagination. He needs to be intelligent and imaginative enough to understand the customer quickly and to read his mind accurately. Balanced judgement, self-confidence, tactfulness, poise and patience are needed to handle the customer according to requirements of the situation.
Social attributes: A salesman has to deal with different types of customers and should therefore, have the ability to get along with all kinds of people. Sociability implies good manners, a liking for people, sense of humor and conversational ability. He should not be shy and reserves but an extrovert and a good listener. He needs to be a man of sound character, honest, courageous, ambitious, mature and loyal. He should be co-operative and helpful enough to assist the consumers in the proper selection of the goods.
Vocational or professional attributes :Salesmanship is highly vocational job that requires ambition, aptitude and enthusiasm. A good salesman needs to have creative ability, leadership qualities, urge for excellence, optimism etc. Success in salesmanship requires sound education, wide knowledge and specialized training. A good salesman must be familiar with his firm, the product that he is selling, competitive firms ans their products, market condition, the mentality of the consumers, and selling techniques.
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