Saturday, December 14, 2019

MBA in a Nutshell #17 - Marketing : Sales

I like this segment of the marketing chapter the most because it is highly relevant to my job as a trainer.

There are basically two general approaches to sales :

a) Consultative Approach

The Consultative Approach is slower and focuses on allowing the customer to take the lead and explain their problem. This approach is better if you are selling large computer units to company and it can be very time consuming. I like this approach a lot but sadly, do not have the luxury to practice it.

b) The AIDA Approach

The AIDA approach is the standard Attention, Interest, Desire and Action approach used by most salesmen. This allows the salesperson to be more directive and guide the customer to make the sale. Naturally, AIDA attracts a lot more criticism as it can be abused via psychological parlour tricks.

To succeed, some kind of hybridisation has to take place between the two approaches.

While my dominant approach is AIDA, I have to realise that to make a sale, I must be able to articulate the problems faced by potential customers through my preview and then resolve that problem by offering my Masterclass as a workable solution.

To complicate matters, I have to consider the dominant cultural factor in this industry.

The dominant cultural factor in sales is the realisation that Millenials do not like to be sold to, so I have spent the greater part of 2019 toning down my pitch and focusing on what the product can do to solve your biggest problems. The MBA textbook even highlights the cultural factor in Singapore as dominated by a Mr Kiasu, a person characterised by "shallow hyper-ambition". I would caution sales teams not to exploit this too much because trainers in the 1990s and 2000s earned a bad name trying to exploit the greed of their customers and many folks still have a bad taste in their mouths because of that.

Other interesting aspects of sales include :

Cross-selling is where you get them to buy accessories to accompany your product. I have no such product for now but the book cautions that value of a cross-sell should never exceed 25% of the value of the main product, and should only be attempted only after the customer is fully satisfied with the first product. I am open minded to do this at a later time.

Up-selling is where you offer a better product to the potential customer for a higher fee. I try to avoid doing that at all costs because there is a thin line between doing this and "bait and switch".

And finally, Relationship Based Selling is where we see the big picture and look at the customer over the long term. I believe strong in this form of relationship, where if the customer profits from an investment course, they will introduce their friends to sign up with a the program. This is paying dividends as some students from earlier batches are showing some genuine progress with dividend payments and they are kind enough to allow me to share that in my current preview.

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