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Such a canned sales presentation was intended to provide all the

information the
customer needed to make a purchase decision. The entire sales process was
viewed
as a situation in which the prospective customer was passive and ready to
buy if the
appropriate information could be identified and presented by the
representative.
Contemporary selling recognizes that the interaction between buyers and
sellers
usually rules out canned presentations in all but the simplest of sales
situations.
Today's professional sales personnel typically follow a sequential pattern,
but the
actual presentation varies according to the circumstances. Figure 13.5 shows
that
seven steps can be identified in the sales process: prospecting and
qualifying, the
approach, the presentation, the demonstration, handling objections, the
closing, and
the follow-up.
Prospecting and Qualifying. In prospecting, salespeople identify potential
customers. They may come from many sources, such as previous customers,
friends,
business associates, neighbors, other sales personnel, and other employees in
the
firm. A recent study indicated increased advertising in business publications
results
in more prospects for salespeople promoting industrial goods and services.5
In the qualifying process, potential customers are identified in terms of their
financial ability and authority to buy. Those who lack the necessary
financialfurther attention.
The Approach. Salespeople should carefully prepare their approach to
potential
customers. All available information about prospects should be collected and
analyzed. Sales representatives should remember that the initial impression
they
give prospects often affects the prospects' future attitudes.
The Presentation. The presentation is the stage at which the salesperson
transmits the promotional message. The usual method is to describe the
good's or
service's major features, highlight its advantages, and cite examples of
consumer
satisfaction.
The Demonstration. A demonstration allows the prospect to become
involved in
the presentation. Demonstrations reinforce the message communicated to the
prospective buyer. In promoting some goods and services, the demonstration
is a
critical step in the sales process. Paper manufacturers, for example, produce
elaborate booklets that their salespeople use to demonstrate different types
of paper,
paper finishes, and graphic techniques. The demonstration allows
salespeople to
show art directors, designers, printers, and other potential customers what
different
paper specimens look like when they are printed.
Handling Objections. Many salespeople fear objections from the prospect
because they view them as a rebuke. Actually, such objections should be
welcomed,
because they allow additional points in support of the sale and to answer
questions
the consumer has about the good or service to be presented by the sales
representative.
The Closing. The closing is the critical point in selling—the time at which
the
seller actually asks the prospect to buy the product. The seller should watch
for
signals that the prospect is ready to buy. For example, if a prospect starts
discussing
where the new equipment would fit in the plant system they are inspecting, it
should
give the sales agent a signal to attempt to close the sale.
Effective closing techniques might be that the salesclerk can ask the prospect
directly or propose alternative purchases. Or the salesperson may do
something that
implies the sale has been completed, such as walking toward a cash register.
This
forces the prospect to say no if they do not want to complete the sale.
The Follow-Up. After-sale activities are very important in determining
whether
a customer will buy again later. After the prospect agrees to buy, the
salesperson
should complete the order processing quickly and efficiently and reassure
the
customer about the purchase decision. Later, the salesperson should check
with the
customer to determine whether the good or service is satisfactory.
Many firms employ telemarketers to conduct post-sale activities.
Telemarketing is a personal selling approach conducted entirely by
telephone.
Telemarketers employed by the Apple Bank for Savings in New York make
followup
calls to customers to measure their reaction to the bank's services.
Telemarketers
also perform other functions in the sales process. At Apple Bank, they
handle
customer inquiries and help market the bank's financial services. For
example,
telemarketers call customers when their certificates of deposit are about to
mature
and suggest other savings alternatives
Sales Promotion
Sales promotion consists of the forms of promotion other than advertising,
personal selling, and public relations that increase sales through one-time
selling
efforts. Sales promotion was traditionally viewed as a supplement to a firm's
sales or
advertising efforts, but now it has become an integral part of the promotional
mix.
Expenditures for sales promotion total more than $100 billion each year.
Point-of-Purchase Advertising (POP)
Point-of-purchase advertising (POP) consists of displays and
demonstrations
promoting an item at a time and place near the location of the actual
purchase
decision, such as in a retail store. Video advertising on supermarket
shopping carts is
an example. POP can be very effective in continuing a theme developed by
some
other aspect of the firm's promotional strategy.
Specialty Advertising
Specialty advertising is the giving away of useful merchandise such as
pens,
calendars, T-shirts, glassware, and pocket calculators that are imprinted with
the
donor's name, logo, or message. Because the items are useful and are often
personalized with the recipient's name, they tend to be kept and used by the
targeted
audience, giving the advertiser repeated exposure. Originally designed to
identify and
create goodwill for advertisers, specialty advertising is now used to generate
sales
leads and develop traffic for stores and trade show exhibitors.
Trade Shows
A trade show is often used to promote goods or services to resellers in the
distribution channel. Retailers and wholesalers attend trade conventions and
shows
where manufacturers exhibit their lines. Such shows are very important in
the toy,
furniture, and fashion industries. They have also been used to promote the
products
of one nation to buyers from another.
L.A. Gear used a trade show extravaganza to let retailers know about its
diversified product line. The company, which originally produced a line of
teenage
fashion athletic footwear, expanded its offerings to include 80 women's shoe
styles, a
men's and a children's line, and an apparel collection. But most retailers
carry a
limited number of L.A. Gear styles compared to those of nationally
recognized brand
names such as Nike and Reebok. To build its brand recognition among
retailers, L.A.
Advertising and the Product Life Cycle
Product and institutional advertising can be subdivided by its purposes: to
inform, persuade, or remind. Informative advertising, intended to build
initial
demand for a product, is used in the introductory phase of the product life
cycle.
When Johnson & Johnson introduced its Acuvue disposable contact lens—
the
nation's first disposable lens—it launched a massive advertising campaign
directed
at consumers and eye-care professionals to explain the health benefits of
using the
new product.
Persuasive advertising attempts to improve the competitive status of a
product,
institution, or concept. It is used in the growth and maturity stages of the
product
life cycle. The Kinder-Care advertisement in Figure 13.7 is an example of
persuasive advertising. Since it was established in 1969, Kinder-Care used
informational ads that promoted the centers' hours and programs. But now
that the
company has grown to almost 1,400 centers and competitors such as La
Petite
Academy, Children's World, and Gerber Children's Center have entered the
market,
Kinder-Care has shifted to a persuasive advertising approach. The theme of
the
campaign—"The Joys of Kinder-Care"—promotes the idea of trust, which
the firm's
marketing research indicated was parents' major child-care concern.8
One of the most popular approaches to persuasive product advertising is
comparative advertising, which makes direct comparisons with
competitive
products. Numerous companies have used comparative advertising in recent
years.
The Pepsi Challenge is an example of comparative advertising. Pepsi-Cola
ads have
used blind taste tests in which a majority of consumers choose Pepsi over
Coca-
Cola. Although Coca-Cola still leads the soft-drink market, the Pepsi
Challenge
helped increase Pepsi sales considerably.
Reminder-oriented advertising, used in the late-maturity and decline
stages of
the product life cycle, attempts to keep a product's name in front of the
consumer or
to remind people of the importance of a concept or an institution. Soft
drinks, beer,
toothpaste, and cigarettes are products for which reminder-oriented
advertising is
used. The Association of Railroads used an advertisement that began:
"Today's