‘Pre-approach’ means a salesman’ this preparation to approach a prospect that he can succeed in turning into a customer. At this stage, the salesman collects information about his different prospects with reference to their age, education, social status, usual habits, likes, dislikes, buying practices, etc. These additional information help a salesman to plan his ‘sales talk’, when he actually approaches the prospects. To put it in other words, the preparation to meet the prospect is known as “Pre-approach”. By pre-approach, the salesman tries to make successful presentation of his goods and services before the prospect.
The main objectives of pre-approach are:
(i) To provide additional information
Prospecting provides salesman only the names and addresses of prospects. But this information may not be sufficient to convert a prospect into customer. The salesman, at pre-approach stage, requires some further information about the prospect- his likes and dislikes, habits, types, economic status, behavior, nature, etc. As a result, it becomes easier for him to deal with the real potential buyers.
(ii) To select the best approach to meet the prospects
All prospects are not equal in all respects. That is, all prospects can not be approached in one and same manner. Their nature are different and hence need different treatment by salesman. Some are easy to meet; while others are quite difficult to contact. Direct approach is suitable to some prospects, while some others prefer indirect treatment. In the light of these differences, the pre-approach aims at selecting the best approach to meet his prospects. As a result, chances of returning empty handed are very less.
(iii)To obtain information for planned presentation
Effective sales depend upon effective presentation and demonstration. Intelligent pre-approach is the pillar of successful presentation. A good pre-approach furnishes a salesman a clear idea into the buying motives of the prospects. As a result, he (salesman) approaches the right motive of the buyer to seek right action. The sales talk is fabricated to suit the individual tastes. Thus, pre-approach helps the salesman to make best presentation and proper demonstration of the product.
(iv) To avoid serious mistakes
By pre-approach, a salesman knows before hand about the likes, dislikes, taste and temperaments of the prospects. For instance, some prospects may not like smoking during sales- interview. This advance knowledge of prospects helps the salesman to avoid any serious mistakes during sales talk. If he finds any fault with his pre-approach, he corrects it immediately to win the hearts of prospects.
(v) To meet the prospects with confidence and enthusiasm
A salesman, who presents his sales-talk without knowing prospect’s nature and the situation, may commit more mistakes out of fear and uncertainty. But a salesman armed with all possible information of customers’ wants and desires to plan his sales campaign intelligently. Thus person-approach makes a salesman more confident. It develops self-confidence and enthusiasm to convert a prospect into a customer.
(vi) To save time and energy
Time and energy is valuable for all, but these are more valuable for a salesman. In the absence of pre-approach a salesman may have to meet both prospects and suspects, fake buyers and genuine buyers, china-eggs and cold-turkeys. By doing so, he consumes more of his energy and times unnecessary. However, due to pre-approach, the salesman approaches only selected prospects who are most likely to buy. To put it literally, instead of showering upon the cultivated plants for best results.
(vii) To be successful in the sales-interview
Pre-approach also helps the salesman to come out successfully in the interview with the prospect. As we have stated earlier buying is a mental process, therefore the mind of a customer moves in a definite direction from attention-interest –conviction-action- during the process of selling. Any disturbance in this path distracts a customer and he (customer) finds difficulty in arriving at a conclusion. If the salesman preplans his approach, he will definitely help the customers in his buying decision and will be successful in the sales-interview.