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Demystifying Personal Selling: The Process of Buying and Selling

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Financial Advisory article in Advisorkhoj - Demystifying Personal Selling: The Process of Buying and Selling

On your way back to home, you receive a call from your mother to get 'mangoes' from the market. The market has received supplies of absolutely fresh varieties of the ripe, fleshy and juicy fruit and your family is just not willing to give it a miss. They need mangoes at home. You get to the market and start looking for the best of the fruit, which is available in plenty, with the fruit vendors who are offering the fruit at different prices, depending on the supply of the fruit or stock with them, the quality of the fruit, the anticipated demand for any specific variety and the popularity etc. You have an option to evaluate the mangoes depending on the willingness to buy and the ability to pay for it.

The vendor engages in a conversation with you trying to justify the price for a specific variety and if both of you agree to a common price, you end up buying and the vendor ends up selling the mango. But, if there is a disagreement between the two of you with respect to either the price or the quality etc, both of you get into justifying your own point of view, where the vendor offers you options beyond your preferred variety, by eliminating doubts on the quality of the next best alternative and both of you reach a point of agreement to end up on a transaction by deciding on either your preferred variety or the option offered to you by the vendor on the next best alternative at an agreed upon price.

What has been happening in this entire episode of your interaction with the fruit vendor?

Now, an interesting question, what made you to decide on a particular fruit vendor from among dozens of others? It could be the location of his fruit stall, the abundance of variety of the mangoes, the display of mangoes, the unique way of the vendor's approach to draw and attract your attention to him and his fruit stall.

All that the fruit vendor did, before drawing your attention, was to do his homework properly as a part of offering the mangoes on sale. It could be the cleanliness of the stall, making the fruits visible through display, ensuring the freshness of the fruits through merchandising, putting up price tags on each and every variety that was on offer etc. While he was developing the need for the mango, you were 'eliminating doubts' on the basis of the 'proposed solutions' offered by the fruit vendor. Once, both of you arrived at a mutually agreed and accepted upon point of the 'decision making' which could be the price, quantity, quality etc. you decided to buy and he 'closed' the sales.

This transaction between the 'buyer' in you and the 'seller' in the fruit vendor, against a commercial consideration is called 'SALES'. Be it buying 'mangoes' or vegetables, motorcycles or cellular phones, televisions or investors each and every thing that has a need to be either used or consumed by you is governed by this logical sequence of steps followed by us, either as a buyer or a seller to arrive at a transaction, against a monetary consideration to conclude and qualify the transaction, called or known as a 'SALE'.

As a buyer you got engaged with the fruit vendor into a logical and step by step process of deciding on a particular variety of a mango. Firstly, there was this 'need' which was communicated to you by your mother. Once the 'need' was established, you started 'evaluating options' to fulfil the need by getting into a conversation with the fruit vendor who first drew your attention to him and his mangoes from among other vendors in the same market by further 'developing' the need by talking about the freshness, the fruit being juicy, about the fruit's sweetness, quality, price etc.

So, let's look at the logical sequence or the step-by-step process involving the 'buying' and 'selling' as a process.

The Buying process involves the following:

  1. Identification of a 'need' for a product.

  2. Evaluation of options.

  3. Elimination of doubts.

  4. Decision making.

The Selling process involves the following:

  1. Pre-sales preparation.

  2. Opening a sales call.

  3. Developing needs.

  4. Proposing solutions.

  5. Eliminating doubts.

  6. Closing.

  7. After sales, service.

A thorough understanding of the buying and selling process will help us in drawing a methodical approach to 'selling'. As a 'seller' of goods and services, we have to understand that a 'buyer' is led to his/her decision making when we get to draw his/her 'consideration' to make him/her aware of the product and then go on to create an 'aspiration' for the product and lastly, end up with a sense of 'accomplishment' or 'achievement' for the buyer on his/her having decided to buy the product.

To create the consideration, aspiration and the accomplishment for the buyer, we will have to go through the selling process which will appeal to these three different features of 'buying'. And, this involves the 'seller' in us to first identify a potential buyer for the product by meeting his buying criteria and helping him/her move towards the state of aspiration from the state of consideration by revealing and exhibiting the features and benefits of the product to finally lead him/her to a sense of accomplishment or achievement by seeking approval for the product after having addressed doubts, if any, on his/her arriving at the decision making and thereby concluding the transaction.

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Shibaji Bose

Shibaji is a facilitator and consultant in Organisational Learning & Development services and has lent his experience and expertise to numerous organisations in talent engagement and development through Leadership, Communication, Personal Effectiveness, Sales and a varied number of behavioural and soft skill training workshops. Empowered with 17 years of learning experience and demonstrated capability in retail sales & distribution, business development, intermediaries & channel based sales, client relationship, team management and entrepreneurship across FMCG, Bank, General Insurance & Asset Management, he has earned a reputation for being a trusted partner and consultant with his application driven learning transfer in creating business impact for his clients. Professional experience ranges from Colgate Palmolive, HDFC Bank, Tata AIG General Insurance & IDFC AMC.

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