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Proper selling needs salespeople, not just flyers and brochures

A salesman pitching an investment plan to clients. FILE PHOTO | NMG
A salesman pitching an investment plan to clients. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Dear salesperson, about the loan repayment schedule you have pasted on the notice boards of most government offices? That carefully printed table showing select amounts of loan with commensurate duration and repayment; complete with your name and cell phone number scribbled in biro? How many calls have you received saying, “I got your number from the poster at the ministry and I want a loan for Sh100,000. How do I get it?”

Hold that response. You see, brochures, flyers, loan repayment schedules, even a website, don’t sell; salespeople do!

At the heart of every successful sale was a one-to-one interaction between buyer and seller. This is more profound when selling services than it is, products.

With capping of interest rates, there was a general tendency to assume that voila!-all loan sales problems solved.

We just need to show them how cheap it is and they’ll buy. And so, where better to place the information, than on a notice board?

In any case, as the ministry official advised, “You don’t need to keep coming here to sell your loans; just place your repayment schedule on the notice board; it will act as your business card.” And so you did-as did the three other sellers from competing banks. (Incidentally, you may have noticed, as I did, that despite all of them claiming to be at 14 per cent, none of them compare in figures; each of them is a contrast of the other)

Anyway, so you realise that there’s four of you eyeing the same market. But you convince yourself that because your price is the lowest, surely they’ll prefer you over the other three. And so you move on to go paste your “business card” on notice boards in other markets.

You then sit back and wait; surely one of the ten will yield something. You are so convinced of this, that you pitifully wonder why the other sellers are busy bees continually buzzing within the same market where your conspicuously placed “business card” hangs.

And with increasing anxiety, you wait, and wait, and wait, just as with increasing excitement the busy bees seal, seal and seal more deals.

You see, in the same manner you most likely don’t read (let alone act on) the brochure you’re given at a supermarket or leaflet in traffic, your potential buyers don’t either.

And when they are thinking of taking a loan, do you suppose they will go to the notice board to get your contacts or they would rather engage with the busy bee that has been buzzing around there department for close to three months now?

Interestingly, the ‘business cards’ serve a purpose- the buyer makes a mental note that this bank has the cheapest repayment amount.

But does he call that bank when you are selling to him? No. He uses the information against you: “But your competitor is cheaper….” So I ask again, “How many calls have you received from your “business cards”?

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