1. Personal call without introduction 2. Sending the business card 3. Writing for an appointment and interview 4. Personal call with introduction 5. Appointment over telephone 6. Use of ‘premiums’ or ‘door-openers’ 7. Use of sale proposal letters.
1. Personal Call without Introduction: Under this method, the salesman tries to approach the prospect straightway without any introduction. It is a simple and direct method of gaining an interview. Usually, the salesman introduces himself by stating his name, the company he represents the purpose of his visit, the nature of his proposition and tries to make an appeal to the prospect, etc. If this does not win the interest of the prospect, the salesman can also state immediate and reciprocative benefits of the product or service he is offering for sale. This may prove fruitful in arousing curiosity in the mind of the prospect.
As a result, he may grant an interview with the salesman. Sometimes, a salesman approaches the prospect for seeking advice in respect of the product to be sold. Thus, the prospect is given an honour and in return the salesman can easily obtain an interview. Another type of personal call without introduction method is to send the business card with a note on it. Sentences like, ‘I want to show the latest model,’ ‘I want to tell you about a rare chance to possess a marvellous car’, It won’t take more than a few minutes of your precious time’, usually creates curiosity in the mind of the prospect and salesman may be given an opportunity for an interview. 2.
Sending in the Business Card: Visiting cards or business cards are quite common these days with almost all the business organisations and selling personnel. Now a days, it is a very common method of” getting an interview with the prospects. Almost all the firms print their names and addresses on cards in a decent and distinctive way.
Big firms print their names and photos of their salesmen on visiting cards and even leave some space for messages. These cards are quite attractive and distinctive in appearance. Appearance of the card, firm’s name and reputation, pleasing personality of the salesman as shown in the photograph, curiosity of the prospect or sometimes the message may help the salesman get an appointment or interview with the prospect. In most of the cases, business card is given at the beginning. However, in order to have concentrated and lasting impression, sometimes the business card is handed over to the prospect at the end of the sales talk. A specimen business card Kay Pee & Company Limited 21, Jawaharlal Nehru Road New Delhi – 110 00. S.
P. Singh Salesman Front Side 3. Writing for an Appointment or Interview: Under this method, the travelling salesman writes in advance to the prospects seeking his appointment or interview. Sometimes, the purpose of the visit and the sales propositions are also mentioned in the letter. In such cases, the prospect is given the liberty to fix the interview at a date and time convenient to him.
Such letters must be written carefully in an attractive manner so as to arouse the interest of the prospect. Sometimes, the prospect may reply in negation. Then, the chance for the interview is completely lost. Whenever the salesman is granted an interview, he should be very punctual about the appointment time. Otherwise, the prospect that happens to be busy may feel irritated and may even cancel the interview. To avoid such an embarrassment, the salesman usually fixes an elastic appointment time so as to make up for delays and excuses. Sometimes, due to some reason or other, the salesman may have to wait for some time. In such cases, he should never lose patience or feel irritated.
4. Personal Call with introduction: Now a day, this is considered as one of the important methods of obtaining an interview with the busy executives and officers. Under this method, the salesman meets the prospect as an acquaintance rather than a stranger. Therefore, the possibility of winning a sale is bright under this method. A mutual friend of the salesman and the prospect, or a satisfied customer or a colleague or executive of the salesman may give introductory letters to the salesman or pass on a message through telephone or letter to the prospect. Sometimes, sales officers and fellow salesmen who are known to the prospect may write introduction letters.
In certain cases, the prospect can be requested over telephone beforehand to grant an interview. Either the salesman can seek permission for the said interview or appointment or he may start the sales talk over telephone itself. It should be noted here that the introduction either through letter or phone call or some other means is only a small beginning. On that basis, the salesman can set up building relationship with the prospect with intelligence and determination. 5. Appointment over Telephone: In case the salesman is personally confident of creating a favourable impression on the prospect and draw his interest through telephone, he can depend upon this method for gaining an appointment or interview. Under this method, the salesman invites the prospect to discuss the matter, and allows the latter to speak out more and more over telephone.
As there is always a greater possibility of getting a ‘No’ reply, most of the companies do not approve this method of approach by their salesman. But in case such method is adopted, the salesman should abide by certain fundamental rules while making the approach over telephone. While adopting this method, the salesman should use short, solid, lucid and appealing statements so as to make a favourable impression in the minds of the prospects.
He must be to the point and communicate the matter quickly to the prospect without wasting his time. Arguments, as far as practicable, should be avoided under this method. 6. Use of Premiums or Door Openers: Sometimes business firms send their salesman with small and attractive gifts or premiums. These are otherwise known as ‘Door Openers’. These premiums are usually gifts of small value like pens, calendars, diaries, toys, pen stands, paper weights, ashtrays, models of the product, etc. These small gifts usually prove to be important and useful for breaking the initial barriers for the sales talk as the prospect readily grants an interview or appointment.
Individual prospects may be presented with personal gifts while company and organisation prospects are presented with gifts through the secretaries and receptionists. Generally, these gifts are presented to the prospects before the appointment. As a result, the prospects remain obliged and keep their doors open for the salesman. Sometimes, the salesman leaves the gifts with the prospect and visits later with the real sales proposition. Sometimes, the salesman sends the card in advance intimating that the prospect is entitled for the gift. After a specific period, the salesman presents the gift during his visit and places the sales proposition before the prospects. 7. Use of Sale Letters: This is also an important method of gaining an interview.
Under this method, the firm sends sale proposal letters to different prospects in advance. As a result, the firm becomes familiar with the prospects beforehand, and keeps their door open for the salesman. During his visit, the salesman finds little or no resistance from such prospects. Such sale proposals are usually drafted by experts and signed by important officials of the company. Sometimes, carefully drafted letters carry much weight and are able to arouse much curiosity in the minds of prospects. The main distinction between a sale letter and an introduction letter is that the sale letters describe the product and its utility in detail. Very little description about the salesman is made in such sale letters.
On the other hand, the introduction letters deseribe more of the salesman and a little about the product or the sales proposition.