There are several misconceptions when we talk about business concepts. For instance, a lot of people think that revenue and profit are the same things. In reality, they are totally different; when you deduct expenses from revenue, you get your profit. Similarly, selling and marketing are also two very different terms.
Here is another very interesting fact, there is also a massive misconception about selling as well. Most of us think that Its just means handing over any commodity to a buyer and receiving a monetary reward or a liquid asset against it. However, this is not the complete definition of selling.
So, what is selling? Let’s find out!
What Is Selling?
Selling is defined as exchanging any sellable commodity/product/service against any monetary reward, transferring the ownership rights to the buyer, and:
- Identification of prospective customers/clients
- Creating or triggering a demand
- Provision of service or information to the buyer
This is the definition of selling by Cundiff, Still, and Govoni. According to this definition, a seller needs to identify those people or potential customers who can be persuaded to buy a certain product. The “persuasion” factor is vital because every sale is not the same.
For instance, purchasing and refueling a vehicle are two different types of transactions. Refueling is a necessity, and you don’t need any persuasion for this. However, buying a vehicle is a much bigger investment, and bigger investments need persuasion.
How Selling Works?
As mentioned above, necessities don’t need much persuasion, but the term “necessity” has also changed with time. Anything can turn out to be a necessity if you can make it look like one. One of the most important things about selling is that you have to offer a solution to a specific problem.
For instance, a hula hoop didn’t seem like a necessity, and you would think, why do you need a hula hoop? But, the hula hoop has been in the market for the following reasons:
- It is a new and challenging form of entertainment.
- It is a very effective way of physical workout.
Now, people want an “escape” from their hectic routines, so they want some innovation in recreational activities. Secondly, due to exhausting professional routines, people also need enjoyable physical workouts, and hula hoop provides both. Selling becomes easier when you focus on benefits rather than features. The hula hoop is beneficial in terms of a source of entertainment and physical exercise.
Objectives Of Selling
Selling, just like other business activities, has several objectives, and they are:
- Selling goods to the buyers or consumers.
- Maintaining/fulfilling a contract with a current customer.
- Getting customers’ assistance for the promotion of a product line.
- Looking out for new customers.
- Providing any possible technical assistance to a customer to use a technical product smoothly.
Difference Between Selling And Marketing
Although many of us think that selling and marketing are the same, they are very different. Here is how:
|The product is the main point of emphasis.||Satisfying customers’ needs is the main point of emphasis.|
|Selling mainly focuses on creating a product and sell it for profits.||Marketing focuses on identifying the need of a specific group of potential customers and then creating a profitable product that can satisfy those needs.|
|It is basically a “seller-oriented” approach with satisfying customer needs as a core objective.||Marketing is a “buyer-oriented” technique, and the core objective is to please, or at least, satisfy the buyer.|
|It is a piecemeal approach to achieving short-term business goals.||It is a part of an integrated approach for achieving long-term business goals.|
|The seller tries to earn maximum profit through sales volume.||Seller focuses on earning profit through customer satisfaction/pleasure.|
|Selling places the customer as the last part of the business.||Marketing considers the customer as the first and most important part of the business.|
|It is a business practice that focuses on existing technology as well as cost reduction methods.||It focuses on the latest technologies and approaches to satisfy or please the customers.|
|In selling, the cost determines the price of the product.||In marketing, the customer determines the price, which then determines the cost.|
|Selling doesn’t necessarily require strong coordination between different departments of an organization.||Marketing requires all the departments to be on the same page.|
|The typical or traditional selling concept mainly aims to distribute as many products as possible, and maintaining a long-term customer relationship is usually a secondary objective.||Marketing focuses on pre-selling and post-selling activities such as customer care and after-sales service.|
Basic Requirements For Effective Selling
One may think that selling is a product or service is easy. Well, it may have been easier decades ago, but things have changed with time. It is simply not possible to create a product and offer it in the market, just like that. Here are some basic requirements for effective selling:
1- A Business Must Focus On Building Long Term Customer Relationship
The concept of selling has evolved, and to maintain your position as a competitive business, you need to build and maintain a long-term relationship with your customers. It is easier to leverage one sale to a customer to get more from him/her rather than persuading a new one.
2- Listen To What A Customer Or A Lead Has To Say
Gone those days when you would create a product and sell it already. Many businesses still think that it is wise to persuade a potential customer to buy a product without listening to what he/she actually needs.
People nowadays buy solutions to their problems. That is why you can only sell a product when you know what exactly your customer wants. A potential customer will have no interest in your sleeping mattress if you tell him/her about the high-quality material you used. However, if you tell him/her that it can reduce his/her back pain or help in better sleep, your potential customer will be more interested.
3- Motivation Is Vital For Effective Selling
Selling is not easier by any means, especially now. Businesses often have to face setbacks, but those setbacks must not demotivate you or sidetrack you. Successful companies or salespersons always favor initiatives. They consider their setbacks as learning experiences and constantly look for new opportunities. Last but not least, they continuously evaluate their performance and make necessary amendments.
4- If You Want To Sell, You Need To Be Consistent
It is possible that a potential customer is not convinced to buy even after several attempts. But, if there is a potential for a future sale, you need to be in touch with him/her, and that is why follow-ups are mandatory. It is necessary to stay in your potential customer’s mind, and you can do that by sending them gentle reminders such as an email or a phone call.
5- Never Stop Promoting Your Products Or Services
If you are running a business or working as a salesperson, the promotion of your business is essential. You can do that with different types of promotional material, social media posting, website, etc.
6- Closing The Deal/Sale Is A Mandatory Skill To Learn
Even after demonstrating and convincing the potential buyers about your product’s usefulness, you still have to close the deal. That said, you must know when to ask your potential client to make the order, and once you realize that you have convinced your lead, ask for the order and close the deal.
7- After-Sales Relationship Management
Closing the sale deal is not the last part of the selling. Businesses nowadays can only thrive if they can build and maintain a long-term relationship with their customers. In fact, maintaining good relationships with the customer can help you get new customers because word-of-mouth is still one of the most potent forms of influence.
8- Be More Empathetic To The Community
Businesses grow because of the communities. That is why it is important to “invest” in the community you work in. You can invest in charities, volunteer in social causes, sponsor community groups, and promote healthy social activities, etc. If you take care of your community, they will take care of your business.
Types Of Selling
Selling can take place in different forms, but here are the five most common types of selling:
Transactional selling mainly focuses on offering a product quickly and caring less about developing long-term relationships. It may sound awkward, but this approach is mostly followed in selling necessities. For instance, sometimes, a customer is just looking for a simple transaction such as buying gasoline.
Collaborative selling is a result of the highest form of trust between the seller and the buyer. As a matter of fact, it is more of a partnership between the buyer and seller. For instance, a brand authorizes its partners/franchises to sell the brand’s products and share the profits according to the agreement.
Consultative selling is the highest form of customer-oriented selling. It focuses on developing an ongoing relationship with the customers by identifying their needs and develop a solution for them.
Provocative selling focuses on identifying the problems or new opportunities that are not known to the customers. Sometimes, the potential customers are unaware or cannot explain their problems or needs, and salespersons/businesses help them identify what they want.
Similar to provocative selling, it is a technique in which a salesperson considers a potential customer’s needs holistically to suggest particular products or services that can better address their specific issues and concerns. If you want to be more empathetic towards your customer, then solution selling is one of the best ways to do it.