Salesmen particularly traveling or specialty have at least ten golden methods at their disposal to give interviews with the prospect. All these methods are explained as under.
1. Personal Call without Introduction:
Barring the cases of sales by mail or telephone, the salesman is to have personal approach to his prospects. It is simple and straight way to approach the prospect. Here, he starts with name, the firm he represents nature of his proposition and appeals to prospect’s desire for gain. He shoots an arrow of curiosity and emphasizes self-interest from the angle of prospect. Arousing curiosity is possible by emphasizing the points of savings, cost reductions, added benefits that are tagged to his product or products. Sometimes, little flatters click in gaining interview, is to appeal to his five senses of sights, touch – taste – smell – and hearing. Fair dealing she is his way out though tricks work sometimes.
2. Personal Call with Introduction:
It is considered to be one of the most effective methods because, the salesman approach the prospect as an acquaintance rather than a stranger. A common or a mutual friend of salesman and the prospect may give a letter of introduction or might have passed on a mess to that effect by phone or a card well before the meeting of a salesman with the prospect. Intimate relationship that exists between the person introducing and the prospect ma introduction is very effective. Following is a specimen of a letter of introduction.
3. Sending in a Visiting Card:
Business cards are quite common these days and majority of the reputed firms have found it beneficial and hence essential to send their salesmen with these visiting cards. A distinct hence attractive card acts as an ambassador in gaining easy appointment or the interview. M sending of such card may not grant interview. Courtesy and tact play considerable role in gain such an interview. Visiting cards are mostly given at the start. However, to have concentration and gripped impression some salesmen prefer to hand over the same at the end of the talk. There is no any hard and fast rule as to when the card is to be presented. Much depends the individual situation.
4. Writing for an Appointment:
This is another agreeable method where the salesman writes well in advance to the prospect seeking his appointment or an interview at this convenient data and time. Much care is to be exercised particularly in case of busy executives and very important personalities. There is danger of not keeping the time schedule to the last minute as desired by the prospect. In such cases, he can request for elastic appointment where he has sufficient margin and excuse for the possible delay. However, most of the executives dislike such flexible appointments. That is why; a successful salesman meets the requirements of such live-wire executives by adjusting himself with good sense of time and opportunity.
5. Use of Premiums:
To blast-off the barriers that arise, most of the companies send their salesmen with small, inactive yet low priced gifts like pen sets, diaries, calendars, ashtrays, pencils, lighters, packet – openers, key-chains, cuff-links, feather touch mini-calculators, bottle openers and such other souvenirs. These are popularly known as ‘door-openers’. As the prospect gets these door openers, he feels obliged to clear the way. Having sales with housewives with this method works very well. Generally, it is a two-step formula. First, he presents a card entitling the prospect gift with his proposal; second, he approaches the prospect with stipulated gift novelty after a pp of a day or two. This method only helps in opening the door but not finalisation of the proposed deal. The major work of reciting curiosity is the responsibility of salesman. The point to ponder is that it creates a goodwill for the firm.
6. Telephone Appointment:
Making an initial appointment in person would be desirable but is usually too time consuming for the salesperson. Using mail requires a lot of lead-time and may also result in its letter getting misplaced or unreal in the junk mail clutter. Hence, the phone is the most often used to make the initial appointment. Sales people can save many hours by phone to make appointments. There is need for use of phone correctly and effectively. Though use of phone is common since childhood, many of us have developed bad habits that reduce our effectiveness when talking over the phone. One should perfect phone style by practicing alone before making any calls. One need not rush to be nice; it is never acceptable to be rude. One expected to smile while one is talking. It is because even though the prospect will not be able to see it, he or she will hear it that the sales person is an enthusiastic tone of voice. Actual listening is as important when conversing over the phone as when conversing in person. Salesperson is to take note and restate the message or any action you have agreed to undertake. What is more important is that communication is two-way. A potential customer may have objectives, reasons for not granting appointment or interview. The aim of telephone call, however, is to make an appointment, not to sell the product or service. When sales people call for appointments, prospects frequently ask question about product or service. But the sales person should not be drawn into giving a sales presentation over the telephone. In fact, some firms use telemarketing staff to set appointments for sales people to avoid being drawn into complete sales presentations. Some sales people have their secretaries to make telephone appointments for them. This often gives them greater prestige in the mind of the prospects or customers. In case the secretary can not get an appointment, the sales person may make a second call, using afferent approach.
7. Use of Sales Letters:
Some firms very often, prefer to use sales letters to different prospects. Sales letters are specially couched letters that induce prospects. The effectiveness of a sales letter depends on its convincing capacity, force of appealing and style of its message. These letters are founded on the A-I-D a principle. They are dependable door openers as they are master pieces of creativity and novelty. It has an unusual form, size, style that it is not thrown in trash box. It attracts the attention of prospect and appeals to eyes and brain. Though sales-letters do the work of introduction, there is good deal of difference between a sales-letter and a letter of introduction. Sales-letter talks more about the product than salesman. On the contrary, a letter of introduction tells more about the salesman than the product.
8. Giving a Sample Trial:
Some companies adopt a policy of getting an interview by sending samples of their products to the Secretaries of the prospect (the executive) with the intent of giving an opportunity to fee prospect to have a trial or trial run before he decides to buy. The samples are sent along with a letter requesting for appointment or a sales interview in a short period of a day or two more. After receiving confirmed invitation for having sales interview the salesman takes the opportunity. The sample may be returnable or not returnable depending on the nature of product. This is another popular way of securing an appointment.
9. Appointment by Prank:
Prank stands for a trick, a knock, earning, or deception. We know ‘Honesty is the best policy’ provided all are honest. These days, ‘Honesty is the worst policy’ because people are not honest at least all and all the time. It is also true that many a times ‘true lie’ is better than being very honest and true. Deception or a trick plays and pays these days because it is a hard world or dishonest world. These are the days where milk is mixed with water rather than water mixing with milk. One cannot move against current. Therefore, some times the sales people are also resorting to ‘trick’ or ‘prank’ to get the appointment. This is resorted by salesman and other methods fail. In fact, it is a fraudulent practice which is not in the interest of salesmanship as it brings bad name to even the honest sales people. Honest and sincere efforts gain interview are the marks of good governance and tenet of a sales profession. The aim of good salesmanship is to build long term partnership with prospect. One should remember that he can not be fool all the people all the time.
However, when business is getting more competitive: becomes a war and in war and love, everything is fare. In fact, when this ‘prank’ is taken shelter, should be done is very careful manner. This trick should be mild, matching yet amusing and astounding whose the prospect knows that salesman is using tricks the best demonstration of b skill of commencing and getting the work done. In effect, the prospect excuses the sales person and agrees for the appointment. However, it should not be a regular practice. It should an exception than a rule.
10. Appointment by Influence:
These are the days of paperweights. The file fails to move from one table to another and ultimately may not reach the final table where things are clear. That is, the intermediate people rough whom the sales person is to take these intermediaries into full confidence. This may be done in different ways namely, money and favour or some other kind of influence. This practice also not acceptable. However, where graft and bribe have been the part of system one cannot do away with graft or bribe as the sales person is to the work done at any rate. One has to be principled but more practical.