THE SELLING PROCESS
• Prospecting (identify & qualifying)
• Handling Objections
• Closing The Sale
• Follow Up (Post Sale Action)
PROSPECTING AND QUALIFYING
Prospecting refers to identifying the
A prospect is a qualified person or organization
that has the potential to buy the good or service,
provided he has the money to buy, authority to buy,
and desire to buy.
IMPORTANCE OF PROSPECTING
Its important to locate a prospective buyer to sell a
Demographics of customers have evolved and
hence sales people should also keep track.
It helps to focus only on important and selected
group of customers.
It helps sales person to align his efforts and bring
order in sales process.
Some special products require continous
A GOOD PROSPECT
A good prospect is someone who :
Has a problem that the product can solve efficiently
Has a goal, purpose or need that the company’s
product can help to achieve.
Has the power to make the buying decision.
Someone who is eligible to buy. For E.g hold a
Is a center of influence; someone who can open
doors for other prospects.
Is easy to sell to and service.
WAYS TO LOOK FOR PROSPECTS
Cold Calling: In this method a sales person makes calls to
potential customers without any reference. He makes
unsolicited sales calls. This method is very random and time
Referrals from Customers: Customers who are satisfied give
the names of those who are interested in similar products.
They are the most credible source to new leads.
Mailing List: Prospective buyers can be contacted through
mail and telephone. Information about the product can be
send and reply card can be attached to facilitate response.
Personal Observation Method: Experienced salesmen are
appointed to look-out for information which can lead to a
prospect. They make use of opportunities like interacting
with people, social functions, travelling, to get leads.
Endless chain method: In this, the salesman try to get details
of two or three other prospects from the main prospect
thereby maintaining the chain of prospects. This method has
proved effective in case of services such as insurance,
investments, educational courses, etc.
Centre of Influence Method: This is modification of
endless chain method. Here the sales person identifies
a person of influence such as local politicians, poets,
journalists, bankers, teachers etc and obtains leads
Leads from Junior Sales Force: Junior salesmen are
employed to call and inquire about the product. They
try to get an appointment so that an experienced
salesmen can take the sale forward.
Present Customers: Existing customers could be the
best prospect for repeat sales or additional products.
Its easier to sell to someone who already knows you.
Former Customers: People who were customers of a
product in the past could be contacted again so that
they can become a prospect again.
Personal Contacts: A keen sales person can always
use his contacts to find prospects to sell his products.
Directories: There are a lot of directories like trade
directories or directory of residents which could be a
good source of leads.
Advertising: Advertising helps generate enquiries
for product. These enquiries must be quickly
followed up to start a sale.
Trade Shows and Exhibition: Participation in trade
fairs and exhibitions can generate prospects
economically as there are a lot of interested people
who visit such events.
Spotters: In some situation, salespersons use
spotters to identify prospects. Sales trainees are
often used as spotters. They help to save the time
of salespersons. Spotters are also known as “bird
Once the sales person has identified potential
customers, he or she must qualify them to determine, if
they are valid prospects. Unless this is done, time and
energy is wasted in trying to sell to people who cannot or
will not purchase the product or service. MAN( money,
authority and need) approach is used to qualify
Money: Does the prospect have the money or
resources to purchase a product or service?
Authority: Does the prospect have the authority to
Need: Does the prospect need the product or service?
The pre-approach step includes all the information
gathering activities necessary to learn relevant facts
about the prospect.
It is an effort to get details regarding the prospect such as
his ability, need, authority, accessibility to buy.
It is a closer look of prospects’ likes and dislikes, tastes,
habits, financial status, social esteem, material status,
family background, etc.
IMPORTANCE OF PRE-APPROACH
Pre-approach helps in saving valuable time, effort and
energy of the salesperson in the best interest of the
organization in which he works.
Pre-approach makes the salesperson more confident
and enthusiastic while meeting the prospects and
putting forth the sales proposition before them. The
confidence and enthusiasm is the cumulative result of
the detailed background information about the prospects
collected during pre-approach.
Pre-approach enables the salesperson to know
beforehand about the needs and requirements of the
prospects in the most detailed manner possible.
By pre-approach, the salesperson’s knowledge about
the prospects is considerably enhanced. As the
salesman has prior information about the financial
status, likes, dislikes, tastes. He is likely to commit least
number of mistakes at the subsequent stages of sales
PRE- APPROACH STAGES
Knowing the Prospect: The salesman gathers
information about the age, needs, income and other
relevant aspects relating to the prospects.
Information can be obtained from both internal and
Planning the Call: The objective of the particular
call is defined. On the basis of customer research
the salesman can arrive at a tentative judgement as
to which of his products best meets the needs of
the prospect and present the features and benefits
It means to come in direct contact with the prospects. It
involves meeting the prospect for the first time by the
salesperson. Salesperson makes face-to-face contact with
the prospect to understand him/her better.
• Prospects often judge the quality of a salesman by the
way in which the sales person approach. With this stand,
the prospects form their estimation that the salesperson
has really something to offer.
• Salespersons who posses courage, courtesy and also
the ability to gain trust, Wins. So it is the most important
stage in sale process. The salesperson who approaches
the prospect confidently, makes a good impact.
IMPORTANCE OF APPROACH
Approach is one of the important stages in the
selling process. It is correct to say that a sale is
won or lost during the approach.
During the first few minutes of the approach, the
prospect decides whether he will buy or not.
Similarly, the salesperson is also likely to know
whether the prospect is really interested in the
product or not.
The importance of the approach varies with the
type of selling. For example, while selling cheap
and necessary articles, the importance of the
approach is comparatively less whereas for selling
costly and luxurious goods and services, the
importance of the approach is very high.
METHODS OF APPROACH
Company’s Reputation/Brand Name: Salesperson
introduces company’s name and uses the influence of
brand to draw attention of the prospect.
Referral Approach: Furnishing the name of a satisfied
customer or a friend of the prospect can be the
beginning of a sales call by salespersons.
Customer Benefit Approach: The salesperson could
start the conversation by telling about specific benefit,
something the prospect can actually realize of his
The Premium Method: This method uses small gifts to
impress the customer upon approach.
The Shock Method: The sales person introduces the
prospects with the risks, thereby, making prospect think
of product as remedy e.g. insurance, health and fitness
A good presentation is as important as a good
The significance of a good presentation of the
product can be gauged from the fact that many a
time an attractively packed presentation is sufficient
to sell the product.
ESSENTIALS OF A GOOD
salesman should explain the product with its features and
price advantage to the customer in simple and easy terms.
Presentation must create a good impression in the mind of the
customer that he feels that he is being dealt with care and
The presentation can also be given through models, slides,
pictures and videos to make the presentation interesting.
An intelligent salesman should stress on high points of his
offering rather than pointing out the negatives of the rivals.
It is very important that the customer be shown the kind of
quality that he is looking for. Too many varieties will only
confuse the customer, while too little does not help him make
Half the battle is won, if the salesman is able to make the
product appeal to the customer’s senses.
Demonstration is an exercise to prove the
characteristics of the product. It highlights various
attributes of the product such as utility,
performance, service and quality.
Demonstration can be done mostly when the
product is tangible.
During a sales presentation, the salesman
describes the product to the prospect but it is only
during the demonstration that the customer gets an
opportunity to verify the facts about the product.
Hence, demonstration is imperative and essential
for a prospect to make a buying decision.
SIGNIFICANCE OF DEMONSTRATION
Demonstration gives the salesman a chance to show
specific features of the product or service clearly, For
example, in case of a vegetable chopper, demonstration
is more effective than the description.
It creates a lasting impression in the minds of the
prospective customers as they see the functions of the
product or handle them personally.
The salesman can provide proof for the claim through a
series of tests, experiments and operations. Thus,
increasing the confidence of the prospective buyers.
By proper demonstration, the customer’s sense of
curiosity about the product is considerably satisfied.
It helps in focusing attention of customers on the
satisfaction and utility that they will be deriving out of the
ownership of such products.
It also provides a chance to the prospects for making
comparisons with the competitor s products.
ESSENTIAL OF A GOOD DEMONSTRATION
The demonstration should be easy and clear to
understand,not leaving any doubts.
The demonstration must be comprehensive and
cover all relevant aspects.
The sales person should give the prospect an
opportunity to try and handle the product.
Demonstration must be in a manner that provide a
chance to the customer to compare the product
with the product of competitors.
Description and demonstration must be the same.
It should win the prospects’ confidence.
HANDLING OBJECTIONS AND COMPLAINTS
Prospects usually show resistance against buying
products by pointing out real or imaginary hurdles
and by voicing objections.
Objections are also a sign that prospect is
interested in the product.
It has been rightly pointed out that without handling
objections the salesman cannot sell anything to the
Therefore, the success of a salesman depends on
how he handles objections. It should be done
efficiently and tactfully.
REASONS FOR OBJECTION
Prospect display resistance to new and unfamiliar ideas
As they are not 100% sure about the product or service
They are waiting for more explanation, classifications,
additional features about the sales proposition.
To test the salesman’s knowledge and patience.
To postpone buying or because the prospects lack the
required purchasing power.
Prospects raise objections if the salesman is unable to
identify their need.
When the salesman pressurizing them or using unfair
means to sell the product.
As a means to avoid salesman.
When they find rival product compelling.
When the prospects’ has been unpleasant.
TYPES OF OBJECTIONS AND WAYS TO DEAL
objections Meaning Way to deal
Quality Objections Question about durability,
packaging, design, color
and so on.
Highlight superior points in
contrast to rival products.
satisfy prospects’ need.
Provide case histories,
Price/value Objections Prospect thinks the price
is not worth the value he
Show superiority of a product
over rivals, provide alternate
cheaper options, offer
Hidden Objections Prospects mention phony
reasons instead of actual.
Ask questions, talk to
prospect to get to hidden
“Let me talk with my
boss” or ”I will think over”
are such examples.
Find out reason to delay
and list advantages.
Competition Objective Customer unwilling to
shift product, likes other
Point out additional benefit.
Describe new features.
METHODS OF HANDLING OBJECTIONS
The Direct Denial Method: When the prospect makes false
statement, the salesman can submit a proof politely.
The Indirect Method: Most buyers do not like a flat
contradiction. Therefore, the salesman may stoop to
The Boomerang Method: The objection hurled by the
prospect returns to him in the form of a reason why he
The Compensation Method: The salesman admits the
validity of the objection but points out some benefits that
will compensate for it.
The Question Method: The question form of
handling objections may make the prospect answer
his own objection.
The Pass-up Method: Mostly in case of flimsy
objections, the salesman may either just smile or
pretend not have heard the objection, further pass
on to the next point.
The Yes Method: The salesperson agrees with the
prospect’s objection but then makes a statement
that offsets the objection.
The Comparison Method: The salesperson
compares it with something that is acceptable.
The Case History Method: In this method, an
Example of a satisfied buyer is stated to offset the
CLOSING THE SALE
After going through all the presentation &
demonstration and handling any objection, the
sales person is ready to ask for order.
This is the last stage and the most crucial stage for
a salesman. The whole exercise becomes useless
if the sale does not take place.
The main aim of the close is to convince the
prospect to sign the order form or to place an order
immediately rather than in the future.
IMPORTANCE OF CLOSING
It is a proof of sales persons’ ability to sell.
It brings revenue for company.
Improves self confidence in sales person.
DIFFICULTIES OF CLOSING
Salesman fear that prospect will say no.
Inadequate presentation by sales person.
Interruption by third party.
WHEN TO CLOSE A SALE
An alert sales person should know when to close a
sale. Too early or too late call might lead to a lost
sale. It should be close when the interest of prospect
is at peak. Sales person must learn from the signals
and body language of the prospect.
SALE CLOSING TECHNIQUES
The assumption method: Assuming the prospect will buy,
the salesmen asks questions like “how much” or “what size”?
Build-up method: Here closing is just an affirmation from the
prospect and the prospect have agreed to most of the
arguments by the sales person.
Special offer/gift closing: A special offer concludes the
argument like if you buy now you will get a discount.
Narrow the choice: Out of a number of choices, the sales
person suggests the best suitable for prospect and literally
sells one of the product.
The SRO method: ‘Standing Room Only’ to secure a sale of
prospect who is vacillating. Saying things like this is the last
piece or the price will increase from tomorrow, etc.
REQUISITE FOR SUCCESSFUL CLOSING
Have confidence, look optimistic, don’t fear.
Try to be in control. Make the prospect raise query
and give information, keep initiating.
Adjust according to mental condition of prospect.
Keep the important points for the last.
Compliment for the choice made by prospect.
FOLLOW-UP/ POST SALE ACTION
Post-purchase follow up is very important in
building customer confidence and long-term
relationship with the company.
The moment the salesman closes the sale, he
should not think that relationship is closed. Rather a
close is just the beginning of such relationship.
The salesperson contacts customer to learn if there
are any problems and answers any questions that
the customer does.
He also contacts customers regularly to ascertain
that they are happy with their purchase and offered
STEPS IN AFTER SALES SERVICE
Connect with the customers: Sales professionals need to remain in touch
with the customers even after the deal. They should not ignore their calls.
Provide necessary Support: The sales personnel can help them install,
maintain or operate a particular product.
Replacement of the product: Any product found broken or in a damaged
condition must be replaced immediately by the sales professional. Their
grievances should be addressed and make them feel comfortable.
Frequent Feedback: Feedback of the products and services from the
customers should be taken periodically. It helps the organization to know the
customers better and incorporate the necessary changes for better customer
Annual Maintenance Cost: AMC is an agreement signed between the
organization and the customer where the organization promises to provide
after sales services to the second party for certain duration at nominal costs.
Exchange Policies: The exchange policies must be transparent and in favour
of the customer. The customer who comes for an exchange should be given
the same treatment as was given to him when he came for the first time.