Business to business refers to the process of selling goods from one business to another. The product is sold is for consumption or resale by another business (Hague & Harrison, 2013). For instance, a truck manufacturing company, such as Isuzu, produces a lorry and then sells it to Coca-Cola bottlers for ferrying their products. Business to business involves seven steps and sales agents have to have complete understanding of them. The agents are appointed by the companies to identify and sell their products to other businesses. Business to business transactions resembles selling in other forms, such as selling goods to end consumers.
However, in the business to business selling process, salespersons ought to be more aggressive and thorough in their research and trade in general. This process does not only involve the salesperson and the person from the buying company, but also a transaction between two companies. In that case, the salesperson must be able to identify the right person in the potential buying company to start negotiations as well as understand that company’s policies. The personal selling process dwells on the ability of the sales agent to communicate and convince customers to buy, competently handling proper interaction (Hague & Harrison, 2013). In addition, the salesperson must be skillful in personal relations with the prospect buyer so as to persuade him/her to sign an agreement. This essay focuses on a successful personal selling process in a business to business transaction that incorporates seven steps.
Prospecting and Qualifying
The first step in the personal selling process is Prospecting and qualifying. A knowledgeable salesperson conducts searches for identifying the companies or organizations that are probably interested in their products (European University Business School 2013). Considering a seller of trucks from Isuzu, he/she has to make a research on the Coca-Cola company to acquire significant information about the organization. This step is referred to as prospecting. For example, types and number of trucks that can be acquired by the company. The other vital information to look for is the time it takes for Isuzu to dispose the used trucks. This understanding is critical as it enables the seller to find the right time when the Coca-Cola Company would be ready to buy new trucks and. as a result, strike a deal with them. This is the first step and it is the foundation for the entire selling process. A potential buyer is called a lead. A lead that is willing, able, and ready to purchase is called a prospect. The prospecting and qualifying step is related to the awareness step in the customer buying process. This stage concerns the identification of customers who have a need or are in that process.
The step number two is the pre-approach. After thorough research on the company in the step one, a seller now familiarizes himself/herself with the prospect’s needs. Here, there is all relevant information on the background relating to the business (European University Business School 2013). In the example of the Isuzu truck salesperson, he/she now has specific data about the company's trucks. The salesperson can confidently approach the procurement manager in order to propose the solution to transport issues in his/her company. The agent knows where to begin and the prospect may be even shocked by how well the sales agent is informed of the trucks the company uses.
The third step is an approach. The sales agent now visits or calls the procurement office or the manager and initiates a talk in which the first few minutes are extremely vital. Prior to meeting the customer, the sales agent has to make a pre-approach planning. It means he/she has to know what to accomplish, what to do regarding the prospect, what to say (European University Business School, 2013). The buyer's respect must be gained via appropriate clothes. The outcome of the sale depends on the introduction words the sales agent uses. Firmness and confidence are crucial factors since buyers tend to associate such qualities with goods. There is perception that sellers who have quality products never doubt what they say as opposed to those that offer poor and cheap goods. The agent's objective at this point is to establish a rapport with the buyer so that it becomes easy to state and strike the deal (European University Business School 2013). The step incorporates introductions, some little talks, and then some few open ended questions that break the tension existing between the two strangers. The chat also involves a general explanation about the salesperson and who they represent, completing the approach stage.
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The step four of the selling process is called presentation. The objectives here are to create awareness in order to gain customer's attention and to demonstrate how the product serves his/her need. This step requires prior preparedness and great command of the knowledge of the product on sale. The presentation should inculcate the information acquired in the prospecting stage. The aim is to make a presentation that offers solutions to the prospect. For instance, the Isuzu truck sales agent would include in their presentation items like low cost and high quality trucks. It would also be worth mentioning the comparability of non-Isuzu trucks and their products, showing the significance of buying Isuzu and not other vehicles. The presentation has to be tailored to that particular customer, outlining how it offers the best solutions that have been a thorn in the business. For instance, if the company has lost a lot of money because of drivers who work while drank, the Isuzu trucks should be able to detect a drunk driver and never start the engine. If drivers siphon the fuel, then the trucks should offer solutions like sending an automatic message when the fuel tanks are opened. The presentation has to incorporate power point slides that show pictures of modern Isuzu trucks that come in diverse models.
The images have an enticing effect that makes the prospect want to buy the trucks. Furthermore, the salesperson has to explain the selling deals; whether the company offers cash, hire purchase, credit, or any other methods (European University Business School, 2013). This provision offers the prospect the opportunity to select the most appropriate payment method. The presentation should be made in such a way that the client would be satisfied and feel the necessity to get the products. Nevertheless, the sales agent has to ascertain that the presentation is not too long to become boring. Lengthy or prolonged talks make the audience bored, inattentive, and consequently unable to hear vital parts. The unheard parts might comprise what would have made the prospect accept to strike a deal. Thus, irrelevant information should be avoided and private stories should be kept off business. At this stage, the salesperson should be able to prove that his/her proposition offers a feasible solution.
Step five marks the next stage of the personal selling process, the handling of objections. Usually, buying that incorporates large amounts of cash makes customers seek more information in order to become convinced. The customer has to raise objections. A clever and intelligent salesperson takes objections as opportunities to acquire further understanding and respond to customer needs. The sales agent also carries out additional research to better comprehend the buyer. At this point, he/she may identify warning signals to ensure that the sale is still possible (European University Business School, 2013). For instance, should the prospect, this bottling company, start contemplating of buying trucks from Mercedes Benz supplier, then the agent has to respond intelligently. He/she can use technical understanding to eliminate alternatives via focusing on quantifiable aspects of the product. Failing to have an appropriate response would make him/her lose.
The prospect may regard this as a technique of testing the agent. Thus, fast thinking is needed to solve the puzzle. The sales agent should never go prospecting without understanding of the competitors. Mentioning of any rival should induce the salesperson to explain the advantages that accompany the buying and usage of Isuzu trucks in comparison with Mercedes. Also, the salesperson should point out additional advantages related to Isuzu trucks, apart from the problems that facing Coca-Cola. For example, the salesperson can emphasize that Isuzu offers free-tracking of their vehicles for three years after the purchase. Such advantages aim at luring the prospect to overlook his/her objections and agree to the sale (European University Business School 2013). At the end of this stage, the salesperson should manage to win over the confidence of the buyer by all means.
Closing the Sale
The sixth step is closing the sale. A complete persuasion of the buyer leads to closing of the sale. The challenging aspect of this stage is that the salesperson has to enquire whether the buyer is interested in making the purchase. The salespersons have to combine the skills learnt in class with personal traits to win the potential customer. This closing means that the prospect is now a customer with ready cash and willingness to proceed with transactions. This point marks the time for setting up the agreement. The Isuzu sales agent, in this case, would sign up the selling contract. The Coca-Cola procurement manager would work on the processes accompanying acquisition of the trucks, concluding the agreement on terms. The sales agent also has to use his/her skills to handle any dissatisfaction so that the customer does not disqualify the company in the future (European University Business School, 2013).
The step number seven, the follow-up, is the final round of the personal selling process. The company has acquired the product. This stage might appear like the goal is accomplished. However, this period indicates the commencement of the relationship between the selling and the buying businesses. The follow-up is a vital aspect that keeps the customer satisfied, retains and prospects for more new clients. The sales agent may send emails, write thank you notes, call to ascertain a safe and satisfactory condition (European University Business School 2013). The follow-up also makes the customer feel well served by the product his/her management has acquired. The buying business gets to trust the selling company to the extent of offering future opportunities to the sales agent, should it need another supply. Follow-ups also incorporate logistics such as details of contract signing, delivery setting, or any form of installations (European University Business School 2013). Proper follow-ups ascertain additional sales, referrals, and allow learning the needs of the new customer. The sales agent may keep getting more contracts. However, if he/she had made mistakes or overstated the advantages, there is low probability of ever acquiring another chance to make sales. It means that honesty is crucial in selling since every business requires assets that are durable and economical.
The personal selling process is imperative in business to business transactions just like in any other form of transaction. The salesperson must be keen and maintain good customer relations throughout the process and even after to ensure success and, if possible, acquire return and referral customers. To understand the personal selling process, one must be aware that prerequisites are mandatory for a successful sale. The salesperson must follow the seven steps of to be successful in that transaction and future ones. The seven steps refer to a sequence of actions that salespeople ought to do in order to make a deal. A salesperson must prospect and qualify a potential customer before discussing the possible sale of a product. Prospecting involves the knowledge that a customer has a need that can be met with the help of the products that a salesperson sells. People understand things differently and there are many ways to win potential clients; thus, a salesperson must know their potential customers' expectations before approaching. Then, with the appropriate understanding, the salesperson must approach in a manner that will not put off a customer who is willing and able to buy.
Establishing good customer relations is vital for having the best approach in every customer scenario. The presentation step takes place when the salesman brings images and other forms of demonstration to show how the product works and how it will solve the problem of the customer. Research helps the salesperson demonstrate or present the product appropriately. Customers do not always agree with demonstrations and may not consent to purchase on the spot. Consequently, the salesperson must handle the customer’s objections by presenting the convenience of the product . The salesperson must close the transaction once the objections are met. This involves agreeing on the final transactions and terms of service. Most imperatively, the salesperson must do the follow-up after the transaction to satisfy the customer. Follow-up is important for current and future sales.