Sales Management Essay
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In order to find a solution to his situation, Evans and those suffering from similar problems have to explore the factors that depress their sales. Diagnosing weaknesses in sales performance is the first stage in improving the level of sales. Sales management is about achieving specified goals. The main aim is to raise sales volume through with the use of certain techniques and methods. Evans, on the contrary, seems preoccupied with achieving goals on his own personal agenda, with little interest in the company’s prospects or his own sales record.
Therefore, in order to increase his aptitude as a salesperson, Evans needs to make it a priority. Individuals all come to the workplace for the purpose of achieving their personal goals, something a good boss will always recognize. However, when these goals are incompatible with the goals of the company, the organization should either part with the employee or force him or her to reconsider those goals and their relative importance as compared to the working experience.
Evans seems preoccupied with asserting his superiority over people he is selling to. He may be so much impressed with his past record as a technician if there was any that he is willing to compromise the opportunity to sell an item for the pleasure of confirming his superior knowledge. Alternatively, he may be longing for a career of a farmer deep inside and thus wants to see many times more that he is no less knowledgeable than his clients that actually use the machines.
While the above is a matter for detailed psychoanalysis, Evans must in the first place find a solution to his problem. To make it happen, he must first of all recognize that there is a problem and establish a list of priorities. The first thing is to question oneself what is more important: being a good salesman or finding additional proof of one’s technical expertise? If good sales skills are a priority, then Evans has to question himself: what are the qualities he is missing in order to improve his sales skills? It is the ability to build rapport with the customer? Or aptitude to convert this good relationship into sales numbers? If he answers “yes” to the first question, he may then probe further into understanding what exactly alienates his clients about his behavior.
As a way to overcome the harmful trend, Evans can be put in a situation where he relives the whole incident, viewing it from the opposite side – that of the client. Thus, the company may pay a salesman to approach Evans with a proposition of purchasing some technological gadget. As the conversation develops, the fake salesman demonstrates that his understanding of the offered technology is way above that of Evans. Evans will have a chance to try out his reaction to this kind of behavior in salespeople – see whether he will be willing to purchase the item or not. Most likely, being a competitively minded individual, Evans will be hurt to find out that someone with comparable background is more knowledgeable in the field than he is. As a result, he will have a chance to reassess his own line of behavior towards his customers.
As another way to combat the harmful tendency, Evans can get a chance to assert his superiority in a way that will corroborate his expertise once and forever and release him of the need to compete with each prospective client he needs. To do this, he may need more interaction with qualified technicians so that he could impress them with his knowledge. The company in which Evans works can organize a competition on technical expertise among salespeople in which Evans would undoubtedly be the winner. He can then carry this title to publicize it to the farmers: the qualification would impress the farmers and make them think that they are indeed talking to an expert, while Evans will not be forced to assert his knowledge every time.
In fact, he may simply need to find more qualified people than farmers to discuss technological side of his profession with. For this purpose he can visit various exhibitions and technological fairs and talk to professionals there. Evans can come up with new suggestions to make modifications of the current models, suggestions that can be useful since they are advanced by someone close to the actual users of agricultural machinery. If Evans shifts his focus from self-assertion to finding out about the needs of the farmers, he can score points with them and improve his relationships with prospective buyers of his product.
However, getting rid of personal problems that inspire Evans to turn his sales process into a contest is only the first step. The second step is to learn the intricacies of results-oriented sales management. Evans has to realize that in his work his main ambition should be to provide an efficient interface between the company and its customers and to reveal to them the opportunities opened up by new agricultural machinery. If he chooses to make his approach to sales more customer-oriented, Evans can boost both his personal and corporate results.
To produce better results, Evans should try to downplay his weaknesses as a salesman and build on his potential strengths. Building on one’s unique strengths will give Evans the desired competitive advantage. Expertise and thorough understanding of the equipment he is selling may be one such strength. Evans has to learn to exploit this strength by turning it into an asset. For instance, he may stress that with his vast knowledge, he may be more helpful than other salespeople in preparing the farmer for the efficient use of the machinery, pointing out its minute details and revealing ways to extend the working life of the equipment. Besides, with his vast knowledge, Evans is the one to select the most suitable piece of machinery to perform the necessary task.
He should also pay attention to his weakness that seems to lie in the inability to build a long-lasting relationship with consumers. The value of mutually beneficial relationships cannot be overrated in today’s business environment. This is especially true for markets like that for agricultural machinery, where a restricted number of customers make repeated purchases, with the cost of each being rather sizeable.
Salespeople are at the forefront of the company and are directly responsible for generating long-standing seller-buyer relationships that will provide benefits to both sides. In their role as boundary spanners, salespeople are “the business-to-business marketer’s primary source of communication with customers” (Shwepker 2003). Aiming to build long-lasting relationships with customers, Evans will improve his sales orientation that will over the long term reflect in increases in his sales volume.
To improve his sales orientation, Evans should be more interested in the potential customer. He needs to demonstrate his interest in the customer needs and success through asking questions related to the farmer’s business. So far Evans’s primary focus has been himself and his knowledge. Shifting the balance towards the customer, his or her business and personality can improve the relationship dramatically. Only then will Evans be able to convince the customer that he is genuinely looking for a good match between the customer and the product.
Sales orientation is not only about building wonderful relationships; it should include the ability to convert these relationships into sales numbers. Thus, Evans should understand that he is in this business for selling, and the consumer is of primary interest to him as a potential buyer of his agricultural machinery. Everything that can discourage the decision to buy is taboo.
On the contrary, every ethical way to induce such a decision is welcome. This rule obviously excludes contests aimed at humiliating the consumer through pointing out deficiency in his or her knowledge. Although raising some ethical issues, Evans can try to capitalize on his past mistakes by offering to repeat the contest to knowledgeable farmers who previously lost to him. If he succeeds in making them believe they won this time, this exhilaration can spur them on to buy his machinery this time.
Overall, Evans needs to discard or solve his personal problems that motivate him to see a customer as a potential competitor on knowledge rather than a potential buyer. Making boost in sales numbers a priority, he will be able to improve his performance. To do this, he needs to turn his superior knowledge from a liability into an asset.
Schwepker, Charles H., Jr. “Customer-oriented selling: a review, extension, and directions for future research.” Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management (March 22, 2003).