SELLING METHODS AND THE SELLING EQUIPMENT 1. Constant necessity for new inethods.—Just as the new men should continue to study after they have graduated from the training class, so the sales man ager himself should continue to work- up new selling talks and new selling methods after the first field ex periments have produced methods that sell the goods. Constant study is necessary, not only because im proved methods will result in increased sales but be cause methods used over and over again become stale to the average salesman and he loses his effectiveness in using them. New methods, even tho they are no better than those discarded, will usually result in in creased business for the salesman. Later he inay go back to the discarded methods and because they again seem fresh to him, use them with the old-time effective ness.
2. Source of new selling suggestions.—There is only one source from which new selling talks can be secured—the men in the field. That does not mean that the sales manager or his assistants niay not go into the field, test certain theories and, finding them satisfactory, pass them on to the organization as the result of experience. If the ideas of the house are not tested in this manner, they should be explained to a few of the best salesmen with the request that they be tried out in field work. For example, the salesmen in a certain organization which had just inaugurated its first advertising campaign complained that the prospects who made inquiry of the firm in response to the advertising learned in that way all about the prop osition, and that the salesmen consequently had little to talk about. The sales manager's answer to that argument was that this knowledge on the part of the prospect was an advantage and, by relieving the sales man of the necessity of going into details, gave him an opportunity to talk in terms of advantages and results. What was needed in such a case, the manager de cided, was a method Of presentation entirely different from that which was necessary when a prospect had no previous knowledge of the product. He communi cated with several of the best men in the field and sent them a tentative presentation, with the request that they try it. When this procedure was found to work
well, the new method was given to all the men as the result of the experience of the best salesmen.
In every organization, there are some salesmen who are appreciably stronger with some one class of pros pects than they are with any other. The sales man ager should ascertain why this is the case, discover the methods that those salesmen use, and pass them on for the benefit of the other men in the organization. One salesman presenting mechanical devices may have par ticularly natural and effective methods of introducing certain points and impressing the prospect with their importance. Another may have devised subtle meth ods for securing the prospect's participation in the sale. A salesman for an advertised commodity may have worked out methods of showing what advertising is being done or what is to be done, or otherwise dem onstrating the value of advertising campaigns to se cure an order. The salesman selling to dealers may be particularly strong in showing the dealer that the goods will move, or he may have definite plans to sug gest for moving them, such, for example, as the dem onstration plan for moving knife sharpeners, which has been described in a preceding chapter. One member of the organization may have a new way of handling equipment, and another, new selling points or new methods of presenting old ones. Another may work up strong reserve talks to be used where the sale is not closed by the main presentation. Still another may have effective ways of anticipating and remov ing the usual objections that a prospect presents. Again, a salesman may have an entirely new presen tation to be used where it is necessary to call a second time on a prospect.
The nature of the information that the sales man airer will wish to secure from the members of his or b ganization will be dictated by the particular line of business. It is one of his most important duties to see that the selling talks and methods that have proved successful are put into use for the benefit of the sales man and of the business.