There are pretty good number of sources of information which a salesman can tap for his purpose of pre approach in a successful manner. Each source is important and a wise salesman touches and taps each source. These are:
Sources for approaching your customers
1. Fellow Salesmen:
Generally persons working in a same department or same lines have good and cordial relations and one depends on another for mutual benefit that benefit goes to the company or the organization. Friendly relationship with others or other salesman especially of non-company type help a salesman to add to the inventory of his information. It is done fruitfully by mutual inter-change of information about prospects among themselves. Some times, even competing salesmen may disclose some useful clues about prospects and their peculiarities. Much depends on the salesman to extract from such, colleagues and competitors. The only requirement is that the salesman should have the ability to elicit the information and use it for his benefit and to the advantage of his organization.
Customers, particularly satisfied customers are most dependable source of information. Such a satisfied customer wants that his friends and relations are also be satisfied on his recommendation. He takes pride in recommending. These satisfied customers readily give the information in terms of their likes and dislikes, income status family composition and so on. A shrewd salesman strives hard to learn useful facts from these satisfied customers about his friends and relatives.
3. Local Newspapers:
News-papers are rich source of information pregnant with wide variety of information. It a unfortunate that some sales people do not tap this rich source to the extent it to be exploited. It is of immense assistance particularly to traveling salesmen. These sales persons are to carefully study the advertisements both special and classifieds. These ads give general ideas of community’s interests and the fertile and virgin area to be exploited. Further, tenders and notifications are given with details for purchase and sale of products, which click, very often.
Directories provide a database, which is updated and detailed, classified information re girding professionals and non-professionals, individuals and business houses. Of late, publishers have come out with directories providing personal data of person’s categories as professional and non-professionals, businessmen, traders, dealers, and the like. These may include service ionizations and persons. Today, we have ready directories for each reputed line of activity where one finds who is who and what is what? These directions give activity wise the level of education, level of income, area wise spread. That is, a salesman finds the names and addresses, area of specialization achievements, social status, hobbies and such other details. Further, different industries tries publish rosters and isographic data on executives and others employees of the companies within the industry. This provides a wealth of information which will be quite useful to the sales people.
5. Market Survey Reports:
Market surveys are conducted by companies in need in a particular locality or covering a particular area in respect of product or service in terms of customer profiles. There are certain special magazines published by media owners – which regularly undertakes market surveys in case of different products for a particular period covering local, regional and national areas. The best example of this is FACTS FOR YOU published by KFY Private Limited of Delhi. These market surveys help the sale people in getting the required information.
6. Special Investigators:
Some of the selling houses do employ special investigators whose work is to visit the dealers and collect good deal of information about their requirements, particularly the consumer i lying habits, purchasing power, occupation and the like. As it is a special and specific effort, it helps salesmen in two-way : (a) He can utilize his valuable time on straight sales calls and (b) the information collected is much detailed and reliable as collected by professionals who are paid for professional touch.
7. Office Records:
The records in sales office and the findings of Sales Manager the advertising and research sections prove of much value as they are relevant and reliable being authentic. They give locality wise detailed and classified information about prospects. It is possible to locate past customers to get their help in finding new customers. The mailing list of mail order houses is of this type a where the organizations gives one special gifts for going new customers details. This information is rich enough to help the sales-people.
Dealers especially retailers are the last link in the chain of distribution. These relations lave close contact with customers. They know their customers by every inch in terms of temperament, buying behaviour, profession, purchasing power, and so on. By contacting these relations, salesmen can contact good deal of information for the purpose of locating the prospects it customers.
9. The Prospects:
A prospect himself is a source of information. In good many cases, much critical information warranted for sales is known only through prospect. It is a dependable source though some questions its validity on its practically. As salesman is there to solve the prospect problems. The prospect is motivated to give the salesman complete cooperation. The salesmen must not be bashful about asking the prospect for ready information even though it may be purely personal or strictly confidential.
10. Personal Observation:
Keen and meaningful observation on the part of salesman can be another vital source. As he enters prospects place of business, he can size up good many things. For instance, he can see as to what his competitors doing by motivating – the goods in stock, mail on the desk and so on. Assuming that prospect is a dealer, he can till whether the prospect is enterprising or conservative by studying his stock display fixtures. His disposition can be known by relation with his sub-ordinates and with other who he comes in contact.
11. Data Surfing:
On line, business is increasing that works on data base. A salesman can surf the data basics of his choice where number of prospects are provided with all consumer dimensions at a point. He gets the latest information at length of prospects of his choice, which he can choose, and pick fox his advantage. This is working about a cheaper and effective source of information.
12. Other Sources:
There are other sources of pre-approach information. These are very practical sources. A shrewd salesman follows him whenever he goes. Thus, a prospect may go in for a tailor for his wears or a barber for hair cut or a shave, or a doctor for treatment, and so on. He does not ask directly the prospect.
However, he collects the information from the owners or managers of such places where he goes for one service or other. These persons or organizations may travel agents, garment cleaners, green grocers jewellers, petrol pump stations garage and on. All these sources appear quite petty but they are rich source of information.