Who else wants to learn the successful methods of Prospecting for increasing his sales ?

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Prospecting sources and methods vary for different type of selling. Thus, a sales representative selling say corrugates containers may use a different method than banking or office products sales persons would use. There can be at least many sources and methods. Here we do not make difference between a source and method of prospecting because hunting the eiders is the prelude to further the selling process. Prospecting or collecting basic demographic information of potential customers is possible in a number of ways. These are focused as under:

Methods of Prospecting

1. Satisfied Customer Method:

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Satisfied customers are the effective sources for leads. Customers, particularly those who are truly partners with the seller, often refer the seller to the prospects. Referrals of leads in he same industry are particularly useful because the sales persons already has a better understanding of the unique needs of this type of the organisation. Naturally, a sales-person who has sold his products to hospital has better understanding of bank needs. To get best out of this source or method, sales people should follow several logical steps.

First, they should make a list of potential references to the persons or customers who can provide leads – form among their most satisfied customers. This needs a well-developed database.

Secondly, they should decide as to what they would like each customer to do. For instance, the customers are to write a personal letter of introduction or try for telephonic contact or that customers had customers contact the prospects for them.

Thirdly, sales people should ask the customer for the names of leads and for the specific type of help, he or she can provide. It is very essential that the customers are given inefficient time for suggesting the names of leads. It is equally important to note that this method calls for continuous contact with the satisfied customers even when a new customer signs a contract; he is also requested to give leads of his choice. Satisfied customers not only provide the leads but also provide additional sales. This is called as “selling deeper” to a current customer. It is a good opportunity because a 5 percent increase in his existing sale to a current customer brings the business house 10 percent increase in income.

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2. Endless Chain Method:

“Endless chain” or “Family tree” method works on the principle of relations. In this endless chain method, sales representatives try to get at least one additional lead from each person they interview. This method works best when the source is a satisfied customer and partner.

However, it also may be used even when a prospect does not buy. The salesman collects the names and addresses of friends and relatives and interviews the persons who are likely to be prospects. A person who is convinced or satisfied, readily recommends the name of his friends and relatives who, according to law, should also be benefited by the proposition. This method in most effective is development of prospects for intangibles like investments and insurance covers. Again, the salesman has an easy access to these recommended persons which is a special merit.

3. Centre of Influence Method:

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Strictly speaking, every individual is the centre of attraction or influence is one way or he other. Being the centre of his or her world, he or she has some influence on those who are i his or her orbit. This cash is encashed under this method. Under this method, the sales-person cultivates a relationship with known rather will known influential people in the territory who are riling to supply lead information. These selected Fig. 8.3. Centre of Influence method, arsons are either the customers or the influential friends and relatives of customers; may be ministers, MPs, MLAs, doctors, lawyers, club officials, business leaders, social workers and the immunity leaders. This concept is made more clear from the following figure.

Thus, is the centre of influence method the sales person cultivates a relationship with sell known, influential people in territory who are willing to supply lead information. These centers of attraction are called as ‘eagles’ some others call as “bell-cows” because rest of the herd” follow their lead. Like the endless chain method, this method works best if the centre of influence is a satisfied customer of the sales person.

4. Personal Observation Method:

For a prospect-minded salesman, prospects are everywhere. The sales man plays the role of a keen observer as of what is going on the ground. A salesman who is agile and alert to identify the prospectus does it so easily and quickly. That is why, this method is popularly known as ‘eyes and ears” or “intuitive” method. He observes keenly, meaningfully, and meticulously. It may be a conversation a street comment. Cinema hours chit-chat- office grape-wine-comments at public meetings – remarks at recreation – a close talk in a hotel – a dialogue in a journey. As a creative professional, he makes all out effort to understand him or her body language to explore such possibilities and exploit the opportunities that are open. A screws salesman reserves some time daily for meaningful and purposive observation to gain prospects in normal course.

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5. Spotters Method:

Spotters also called as “bird dogs” are used by the organizations. One possibility is that junior salesman locate the prospects in a particular territory of a specific social status. These junior salesmen are to spot or locate the prospects. These spotters move from house to house spotting out prospects. The work of spotters is purely to locate the prospects and report them to senior salesman who would take over the responsibility of selling as the sales professionals. That is, detailed survey is conducted by the juniors and the following work is taken up by the seniors. Some organizations him the services of spotters.

These individuals are sales person or the organisations. The sales person, sometimes, pays the fee simply for the name of the lead, get move often, and pays if the lead ends up in buying the product or service. Spotters are usual] in a position to find out when someone is ready to make a purchase decision. A more recent trend is to use outside bird dogs as paid consultants locate and qualify leads. This method is lucratively used in case of products which are attractive, useful and durables such as automobile both two and four wheelers, audio visuals, air coolers, air-conditioners, vacuum-cleaners, sewing machines, washing machines, cooking ranges and so on.

6. Canvassing Method:

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Canvassing or cold canvassing under which sales people spend most of their time is making cold calls. Cold calls or canvasses are the personal visit and try to generate leads for new business by calling on totally unfamiliar individuals or organizations. This method is also called as cold turkey ‘survey’ or ‘new account’ method. Historically, this method was used extensively.

However, cold canvassing can waste salesman’s valuable time, since many firms have neither a need for the product nor the ability to pay for it. This fact stresses the importance o qualifying the lead quickly in a cold considered as rude by many purchasing agents and other professionals.

Thus, it is least important method. That is, most of the firms now encourage their sales people to qualify leads instead of relying on the cold- call. Some companies use a selective type of cold canvass they refer to as a ‘blitze’. In a ‘blitze’ a large group of sales people attempt to make calls on all the prospective business in a given geographical territory on a specified day.

Thus, an office machine firm may target a specific four-block area in the city of Delhi bring in all of the sales people from surrounding area and then have them go out and, in ; period of one day, call every business locates in that area in the four block area. The purpose is to generate leads for local sales representative as well as build camaraderie and a sense of unity among sales people.

7. Net-working Method:

Networking is the utilization of personal relationships by connected and cooperating individuals for the purpose of achieving certain goals. In selling, net-working simply means establishing connections – that is, networks to other people and then using those net works to generate leads, gather information, generate sales and so on. It is worthwhile to note here that networking cannot do away with centres of influence and satisfied customers. Networking is very crucial in good many selling situations.

Thus, selling in a country like China would b« disastrous because, it is the main stay of selling activities. In fact, almost everyone stands benefited by active networking. Successful net works offer certain practical suggestions.

i. One must make a special effect to move outside one’s own “comfort zone” when in a social setting. Our has to mingle with people whom you do not know. This like behaving like a host instead of a guest.

ii. It is worthwhile to spend sales persons initial conversation with a new contact talking about him or her business and not sales persons; he has to learn about contact’s non business interests.

iii. Sales person should follow-up the new contact on regular basis with cards, notes of Congrats about awards or promotions gifts, and articles and the information that might help him or her whenever a sales person receives a lead from the contact, send a hand-written personal note thanking the contact for the information, regardless of whether the lead buys or not. Even one should lose sight of contact lead.

8. Promotional Activities Method:

Of late, most of the companies elicit a steady supply of sales leads from advertising, catalogues, publicity, direct mail trade shows, and seminars. In fact, successful sales people develop an effective system of utilising and managing such leads.

A. Advertising and Ad Agencies:

Today, spending on advertisements is increasing as it yields good results. It is an investment rather than expenditure. A well designed and placed advertisement brings good many prospects, What salesman does by personal efforts is done by each advertisement as it has need recognizing and need converting capacity at the quickest span. This has become much easier because of audio-visuals. In addition to these ads proper, the agency or the advertising department of a business house do provide the list of leads to the sales people that enriches their reservoir or prospects.

B. Direct Mail and Telephones:

Sales people contact the former and present users of products by mail. The contact message covers the arrival of new products. Circular and sales letters along with advertising folders are sent to both old and present and likely customers depicting the latest features of the new line, advantages of and the benefits of the new line. This direct mail approach needs an elector mailing list, which is up-dated. This is better than personal call because, it selects best, best, uncovers the unknown prospects and makes prospect need conscious. In addition, telephonic contacts can be established particularly, in city areas. It is a great time saver and has the same erect as that of a personal call. Constant contact is possible with the past, present and potential customers.

C. Shows and Demonstrations:

Good many firms display or demonstrate their products at trade shows, exhibition, conventions and fairs. The sales representatives are there to represent and demonstrate their products to inquiring visitors, many of whom sales people have not called before. The primary function of sales people at shows is to qualify leads for future follow up. They spend five to ten minutes with each prospect to qualify the visitor quickly as possible buyer. In case of trade, shows the sales people spend more time with the prospects as they are engaged in actual filing also. Successful sales people practice adaptive selling when interacting with prospects that stop at their boots or pavilions. It is not mechanical but natural to find out the leads or the prospects.

D. Seminars:

Seminars are get together to learn. Presently, many firms use seminars to generate leads and provide information to prospective customers. Take for example a local pharmaceutical representative for Pfizer India sets up a seminar for 10 to 20 oncologists, and invite an internally resources research oncologist to give a presentation to this group. This research specialist is wire to discuss some new technique or treatment being developed. Both during and after presentation, the pharmaceutical representative of Pfizer India will describe how the medicine will help in not only treating the cancer but also good effects on heart functions.

9. Lists and Directories Method:

Sales representatives can develop prospect list from sources such as public records, telephone directories, changes of common directories, newspapers, club membership lists and professions and trade membership lists. Secondary sources of information are public libraries, subscribers lists and so on. These lists can be members belonging to a cribbing for particular purpose, these can be Lions clubs, Rotary clubs, Jaycee clubs, Yatch owners club, Antideals Association, Suppliers to hotels and motels, Laughers’ club and so on. There directories and lists have now come on computer disks and CD-ROMs that provide easy access. What is important to note is that these lists are to be updated so that the sales persons get good number of leads.

10. Tele-marketing Method:

Tele marketing is a systematic and continuous program of communicating with customers and prospects through telephone and other person-to-person electronic media. Tele marketing is not confined to consumer sales but business-to-business sales. Practically everything is sold through tele marketing. It is quite natural that more and more firms are depending on tele marketing to perform many functions that sales representatives used to perform. In case of OUTBOUND TELEMARKETING, telephones are used to generate and then qualify leads. In case of INBOUND TELEMARKETING, the leads or customers can call for hormonal information.

The major limitations of telemarketing for prospecting are: 1. customers may find telephone calls an annoying in convenience. 2. Telephones limit communication to verbal messages. 3. It is harder to attract and maintain the customers’ attention and interest on the phone 4. They result is embarrassing mistakes when outbound telemarketers call firm« about which they may not be knowing anything. 5. Saying ‘no’ is much easier on phone than in person.

11. Prospecting through Sales Letters:

Sales letters are a services of letters written to the prospects to convert them into buyer The best example is that of Readers Digest policy. These sales letters are following AIDI formula. For better results, prospecting through sales letters should be integrated into overall prospecting plan. Let us take an example of a sales person who handles a three in one copier that is it does Scanning, Xeroxing and Printing on small scale, writes sales letters say continually for four to five days.

After that a prospects is contacted on a telephone for appointment or a personal visit. Mere sending sales letter may bring in an appoint for a sales talk. That is why; the sales person should consider the objective of the letter and the audience. It is also important that sales person should decide what is expected action from the prospect with a that whether a prospect is to take an action or not? These are the points on which he should ponder over.

To get best results the sales letter written should be quite attentive in terms of quality stationery and the language used. These letters should create curiosity and bring home to benefits in a natural manners. Once a letter creates curiosity and brings to surface the benefit a sales person can seek action in his favour.

12. Other Sources of Leads:

Sales persons can also get or trace the leads in other ways. These are:

a. Journals and Magazines:

Journals and magazines are normally read by general public which may be general professional. Sales people by going through these standard journals and magazines they can go some clue to trace leads.

b. Other Employees of the Organization:

Colleagues are a source the employees in the same organization other than sales can a give leads. This is a rich and easy source provided sales people have good inter-department relations.

c. Government Agencies:

Government agencies can also provide prospect. Thus, department of commerce industry will be able to provide very sound prospects in a SAFTA area or ASEAN as to sell aircraft, its parts, computers, household electronic goods and so on.

d. Non-competing Firms:

Leads can be also provided by sales people for non-competing but related products. These can be members of trade associations and their friends and relatives.

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