Selling - Types of Selling

Types of Selling

Selling is the profession-wide term, much like marketing defines a profession. Recently, attempts have been made to clearly understand who is in the sales profession, and who is not. There are many articles looking at marketing, advertising, promotions, and even public relations as ways to create a unique transaction.

Two common terms used to describe a salesperson are "Farmer" and "Hunter". The reality is that most professional sales people have a little of both. A hunter is often associated with aggressive personalities who use aggressive sales technique. In terms of sales methodology a hunter refers to a person whose focus is on bringing in and closing deals. This process is called “sales capturing”. An example is a commodity sale such as a long distance sales person, shoe sales person and to a degree a car sales person. Their job is to find and convert buyers. A sales farmer is someone who creates sales demand by activities that directly influence and alter the buying process.

Many believe that the focus of selling is on the human agents involved in the exchange between buyer and seller. Effective selling also requires a systems approach, at minimum involving roles that sell, enable selling, and develop sales capabilities. Selling also involves salespeople who possess a specific set of sales skills and the knowledge required to facilitate the exchange of value between buyers and sellers that is unique from marketing, advertising, etc.

Within these three tenets, the following definition of professional selling is offered by the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD):

The holistic business system required to effectively develop, manage, enable, and execute a mutually beneficial, interpersonal exchange of goods and/or services for equitable value.

Team selling has grown to become one of the most common ways to influence sales. Team selling is “a group of people representing the sales department and other functional areas in the firm, such as finance, production, and research and development”. (Spiro) Team selling came about in the 1990s through total quality management (TQM). TQM occurs companies work to improve their customer satisfaction by constantly improving all of their operations. If a company decides to use a team-selling approach, there are some factors to consider.

1. The size and diversity of the team

2. Management will decide the reward of the individuals apart of the team and the whole team.

3. Strategic objectives will be the basis for the majority of the decisions in team selling.

Team selling is not always the best choice in all situations. Team Selling can be expensive and should be used when there is a chance for high sales and profit. Companies will need to weigh the pros and cons of the situation and base their decision on whether the approach will match the needs of the buyer. If team selling is executed correctly it can offer advantages such as:

1. By having two salespeople approach an account allows for “continuous learning”. Before, after, and during presentations team members can help identify each other's flaws during their portion of the sales pitch. They also may identify particular problems that may be preventing a sale and also identify additional features to be added to their sales pitch to entice the customer.

2. When a small company uses two salespeople to call on a client together it helps the image of the company appear to be impressive and large. When companies use team selling it helps identify them from their competitors.

3. Customers sometimes like a company which uses team selling because if they have a concern or problem they have two salespeople they can contact to address their concern or problem.

4. Team selling also shows prospective clients that the company does not only have one person who has strong selling capabilities, but several of equal calibre. Allowing clients to get to know more than one member at once will help give them a higher comfort level about the company.

5. With effective team selling, the cost of sales calls will decline, however, the number of people assigned to each sales call will double. This will increase their batting average which will then increase their productivity.

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