An organizational movement toward consumer satisfaction with a concern for long-term profits.
One of the most important business concepts emerged during the 1950s–the Marketing Concept. The marketing concept is a movement toward consumer satisfaction with a concern of making long-term profits. Businesses became aware that you must find out what the customer wants or needs and then find a product that will satisfy that want or need. Today, many sales professional strive to give a high level of good customer service. Sales professionals go out of their way to help customers. We can thank the sales professionals for this new emphasis. Sales professionals learned that a happy and satisfied customer can mean thousands of dollars in the future through repeat and referred business. The marketing concept is still strong today, and most companies have set up a department that concentrates specifically on working with customer complaints and issues.
Today’s sales professionals
The marketing concept that emerged in the 1950s is still a part of selling today. Today, sales professionals realize that they are not just selling products anymore, they are selling services and benefits to the customer. Besides this concern about the customer, sales professionals are now moving away from being called “salespeople” and toward calling themselves consultants, executives, associates, specialists, and advisors because they not only sell products and services, but also educate customers. Instead of a furniture salesperson, you are a furniture consultant. Instead of an advertising sales person, you are an account executive. Instead of an insurance salesperson, you are a financial advisor. Sales professionals in our day attempt to go the extra mile in maintaining happy customers. Sales professionals want to be good information sources and offer advice to buyers. Because of the abundance of products on the market and the fierce competition that exists, a sales professional must be several additional things today.
As time goes by, people are becoming individualists by developing personal tastes and wants. For example, many years ago only a few magazines were on the market geared towards the sports enthusiast. Today, because of the many target markets in the sporting industry, magazines are found not only for basketball, baseball, and football, but also for people who enjoy golf, skiing, hiking, tennis, racquetball, guns, boats, archery, soccer, horses, wrestling, track and field, swimming, and many other sports. Instead of a few major markets, our world consists of hundreds of smaller markets–a market of segmentation. This individualization makes the selling job more challenging as sales professionals must package and customize their services to satisfy the customer’s individual needs.
A few years ago, you could only find a few different types of jogging shoes. Many different types of shoes can be found for people who are into jogging, running, and walking. Because of the abundance of products and competition, a sales professional must do more today to be successful–thus, the emergence of the Today’s Sales Professional. To be successful in today’s world, a sales professional must be five things in addition to having a good product at a fair price.
Characteristics of today’s sales professionals
An Effective Communicator: The dictionary defines communication as the process of “giving and receiving information, signals, or messages by talk, gestures, or writing.” We can see that communication is a two-way street, involving not only giving information, but also receiving information. Today’s sales professional must be able to explain the product in a way that can be understood by the buyer. They cannot assume that the product or information will be received effectively, so they must be able to know ways of determining if the buyer is understanding and agreeing. They must do this through careful listening and skillful questioning. In addition, they must be able to read the nonverbal communication, or body language, that is given off by the buyer. Today’s sales professional must not do all the talking but should attempt to involve the customer during the presentation.
A Problem-Solver: Today’s sales professional must strive to become an expert concerning their own products and the problems that people encounter in searching for goods and services that satisfy needs and wants. They must realize that the buyer has needs and desires to fulfill. It is the seller’s job to help the buyer solve problems in buying products. In order to do this, the sales professional must learn to see the buyer’s point-of-view and see things through the buyer’s eyes. The sales professional introduces products to the buyer and attempts to provide the best financing available. Sales professionals show products that will make life easier and more enjoyable. The sales professional knows how to work with the buyer and how to identify needs and give alternatives to fill those needs. The problem-solving sales professional is well aware of the prospect’s doubts and fears and feels that it is his/her duty to help assist the buyer in overcoming them. With tactful guidance, logic, and emotional appeals, the sales professional moves the buyer toward making a decision that will bring happiness and satisfaction.
An Educator: Today’s sales professional realizes that it is their duty to sell products and to teach customers how to use and care for these products. If the customer does not understand the warranty or guarantee, the educating sales professionals spends the necessary time and explains these items to the customer. If the sales professional doesn’t have the product the customer needs, the customer is given ideas of where to go and what to look for. Educated sales professionals realize that by educating the customer, they will make a friend and develop customer loyalty. These sales professionals are concerned about the customer down the road, years in the future, and not just in selling a product and receiving the initial commission.
A Persuasive Talker: Today’s sales professional must know the tools of their trade–effective tools of persuasion. They must know how to ask questions, when to close the sale, and when to seek additional information and assistance in selling the customer. Persuasive talkers know what words to use–words that carry persuasive power. They don’t ask a customer, “May I help you?” This gives the customer an easy out by simply saying “no.” Persuasive talkers ask the customer, “What can I help you with?” By doing this, sales professionals can steer the customer toward giving the seller a chance to give additional information. Persuasive talkers know when to put excitement and enthusiasm in their voice and in the words they use. They also learn how to identify those times in which additional information is to be provided to the buyer and when to back off.
A Creative Thinker: Sales professionals have imagination and creativity. They present products in new ways. They learn how to give a presentation so that the buyer’s attention and interest will be maintained. Creative thinkers know how to appeal to buying motives, stress benefits, and use stories and experiences to their fullest. They know how to turn wants into needs and features into benefits. In a world of many products and strong competition, creative thinkers must make a lasting impression in the mind of the customer.