Selling is the process of communication directed at individual prospective customers for the purpose of eliciting information on goods and services they need to or are likely to buy, and to convince them to actually buy specific products and services offered by the selling process. As you will notice, the scope of selling as defined above is quite limited as that implied in the answer above. The answer above equates selling with the total marketing function, while selling as defined above is one of the many functions within the field of marketing.
The selling process consists of eight more or sequential steps, which are (1) pre-sales preparation, (2) prospecting, (3) pre-approach, (4) approaching the customer, (5) Presentation, (6) dealing with objections, (7) closing and (8) follow-up. There are many alternative techniques available for each of these eight sales steps, and depending on the situation different techniques may be appropriate. In this way, there are hundreds of different combinations of effective sales techniques. However there is one very popular and highly effective sales techniques which are useful in almost all the core steps of sales process - that is starting from approaching the customer to closing. This technique is called selling formula or AIDA technique. This technique is applicable to all types of selling as well as for design of advertisements.
The AIDA approach is to lead the customer progressively to four stages of buying, and the word AIDA is an acronym for four steps involved in the process. These steps are:
- Attract Attention
- Create Interest
- Kindle Desire
- Take Action
As per this sales technique the first task of a salesman in a sales interview is to ensure at the outset of the presentation that the attention of the prospect is directed towards the presentation. Without this the prospect is not likely to absorb or understand what is being said in the presentation. The next step is to generate interest of the prospect in what is being said so that he or she is mentally involved in the presentation. This kind of interest is necessary to take the prospect consider buying the product. When the initial part of the presentation has managed to create this kind of interest then the sales person can move the next stage of presentation which is directed toward the customer beginning to have a desire for the product on offer. However, we do not always end up buying or owning every thing we desire to have. Therefor the next step is to close the sale when the customer actually decides to buy the product and places order.
These strategies aim to increase the number of customers by gaining new market segments. Each of them helps to determine the company's growth and is an obstacle, hard to pass, for competition.
1. Cross promotions.
Identify the characteristics and interests of the most important potential clients who the company has. Search other companies that will not be competing and having already won customers. Once you have found these companies make a plan for a cross promotion. This strategy involves minimal costs and has guaranteed results.
For example, a cross promotion that has worked great was between a health center and a restaurant with international cuisine. Both companies were as target educated people with above average income, from the same city area.
Restaurant menu included several special dishes recommended by nutritionists from Health Center. Also, the restaurant's loyal customers were receiving coupons under which they could obtain a discount on registration as members of the center.
Even the ads of the two companies mentioned cooperation between them to attract consumers concerned about their health, which usually were avoiding food prepared at the restaurant.
Health Center monthly newsletter was including the "healthy" menu of the restaurant, recommended by the nutritionist. Also, members of the Center had, at their turn, restaurant discount coupons
2. Open new niches in the market.
Always looking for new niche markets. Once found a niche, concieve promotional programs specifically designed to conquer these consumers.Provide solutions tailored to their specific needs and this way you can transform a niche into a group of people eager to buy from you, and not from elsewhere.
For example, many companies buy computers from a particular company, usually not too large, because that company is offering exactly what they need, no more, no less.
A tested method to identify a niche is to evaluate currently active clients. Search groups who share similar characteristics with them, but do not receive yours promotional messages. Then try to send messages to these groups and with a clear promise to satisfy their specific needs.
3. Exploit the latest trends.
Any change that occurs or is about to appear in the area in which activity is, must be of utmost interest to you. Try to identify those trends that you can turn into business opportunities before the competition to transform them into their own advantages. Usually, the company that manages to find first a certain trend and act accordingly, reaches industry leader or even on a market segment.
For example, many small and medium-sized Western companies took advantage of the benefits of the Internet since its appearance. They used to attract new clients who could not be "attacked" by traditional means and to steal customers of competitors which have not noticed the potential of their own page on Internet.
But there is one limit. Do not make sudden and major changes to your company, only to exploit a trend. It is best to add something to what you do now to enhance your offer according to the latest trends. The idea is that, in the rush for new customers, not to dispose those that you already have and some who are not yet ready to adapt to new trends.