Sales Approach means meeting the prospect face to face. It is the first appearance of the salesman with the prospect. Merely pre-approach is not enough to convert a prospect into a buyer, he must see him face to face. The sales strategy is complete only when a part and to know him fully an approach is necessary. Approach is the most critical part of the selling process. At this time the salesman should create a favorable sales impression the salesman must look as active ales professional.
Methods of making Approach
Nowadays- different salesmen for making approach with the prospect use different methods. The important methods are as follows :
1. The personal Call without Introduction
In this method, a request is made by the salesmen to the prospect to give him an interview at once or at a future time as may be suitable to him. He may also attempt to utilize a little psychology with some powerful motive to overcome the prospect’s instinctive antagonism to stranger. Therefore, the appeal to profit or self-interest or appeal to curiosity is commonly employed to gain the interview with the prospect.
2. Sending the Business Card
In this method, the salesman to obtain an interview with the prospect uses the business card. Business cards, which have now become more or less a necessity, should have a distinctive appearance. The business card bears the name of the salesman along with name and address of his company. In this connection one must remember that business card is not a passport to admission as it may be sent out as easily as it is sent in. it all depends on the desire of the prospect to allow admission or refuse admission.
3. Using the Telephone
Telephone is an effective method for securing an interview with the prospect. This method is most suitable when there are a large number o prospects. The telephone approach must be aggressive and the conversation should be speeded up after the prospect has announced his name. Opening should be made with short sentences and the sales talk on the telephone should consist of only leading question inviting the reply ‘yes’. Arguments should be totally avoided.
4. Writing for an Appointment
In this method, the salesman prefers to write letters to the prospects requesting appointment when he can approach then and put forward their proposition. A simple request for an appointment is likely to produce the desired result. However, the proposition must be presented in an attractive manner so that it may arouse the curiosity of the prospect.
5. Premiums or Door-Openers
In this method, the salesman uses premiums or door opener to obtain the interview with the prospect. Small gifts are sent to the prospect to arouse his curiosity, and make him feel under an obligation to open the door for the salesman. Such gifts usually consist of paperweights, automatic pencils, ashtrays, toothbrush, diary, calendar and similar novelties.
Suitable introduction is one of the most effective methods of securing an interview with the prospect. In this method, the salesman approaches the prospect as an acquaintance or friend and not as a stranger. Instead of introducing himself, the salesman is required to deliver the letter or note of introduction to the prospect. Such an introduction may be obtained from a common friend, relative or acquaintance.
7. Sending Advance Sales Letters
In this method, sales letters are mailed in advance by the salesman’s company to the prospects intimating the date and the time of arrival of their salesman to the prospect’s residence or office. These letters are carefully drafted, typed and signed by the important officials of the company. It is also an important method of approaching the prospect.
8. The use of ‘Trickery’ for securing Appointments
This method of approach, to the prospect is generally used only when the salesman, after encountering several refusals for an interview, feels certain in the mind about his ability to convert the prospect into a buyer. He may use recourse to trickery as a means of gaining the interview. The use of trickery is condemned and hence it should be used as a last resort only.
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