Position, problems, needs and requirements of salesmanship


Herewith is briefly outlined position, problems, needs and requirements of salesmanship


Essentials of sales

Herewith is briefly outlined position, problems, needs and requirements of salesmanship

Guide to positioning, problems and needs of salesmanship

Position, problems and needs

Questions should be put in such a manner that it should transpire that the representative wishes to help the prospect to obtain a clear picture of his own position, problems and needs. The representative should put across the message that the information is being used to his benefit during the interview. The questions are not put to try and break his resistance by getting him to talk. This is merely a result, but the purpose should be to obtain a true and objective picture of the prospect’s specific requirements and circumstances.


Surveys have revealed the important fact that listening comprises about 40% of a person’s communication activity. It stands to reason therefore that a representative who cannot listen reduces by almost half his effectiveness in communication. Small wonder that someone who made millions out of assurance attributed his success to “My ability to listen – I learn nothing by talking.”

To listen does not only mean to keep quiet while the prospect is speaking but to pay close attention to what is being said, what a person hears, may be determined in part by the listener’s own feelings. Therefore nobody can listen with complete objectivity. One is prejudiced while listening – what is heard is not necessarily what is being said. Therefore it is essential that the representative should forget about himself, his outlook on life and his commission and should fully adjust himself or adapt himself to the position of the prospect. He should forget himself and pay full attention to the prospect and to his circumstances.

The listening problem arises from the fact that the brain can think and absorb much faster than one can speak. We can therefore listen much faster than we speak. When one is listening on expects the brain to receive words at a rate which is extremely slow in comparison with the capacity of one’s brain. It seems logical to, as it were, slow down one’s thoughts when listening, to let the mind correspond with the rate at which people speak, but in actual fact this is very difficult. When one listens, one continues to think at high speed while words are coming to one slowly. In other words, one can listen and still have time to think. In the use or abuse of this extra time lies the answer to the question to what extent one is able to listen or concentrate on what is being said. What often happens is that one’s thoughts begin to wander and in the process important facts may be passed over.

There are four steps that may be taken in order to counteract this wandering of the thoughts. Ask yourself, “What is the prospect aiming at? Secondly, consider what the prospect is saying – does it make sense? Does it imply any possibly prejudice on the part of the prospect? Thirdly, in your own mind summarise what the prospect has said until this point and in the fourth place look for the message between the lines. There is ample time for these four steps, but only diligent practice will make it one’s own and improve one’s listening ability.

When one is listening to someone and trying to concentrate on remembering all his facts, one could easily miss the message he is trying to convey. It is very difficult to remember all facts and in the process of concentrating on the facts on often loses the whole message. The point is that facts are used to convey a message, but when a person is speaking he wants you to understand his line of thought, without necessarily recalling the facts.

The representative should therefore read between the lines – he should join the bits and pieces in order to fully understand the speaker’s thoughts and feelings – he could grasp the meaning of what the prospect is saying and not merely the words – he should analyze the intention of the prospect and not merely his words.

If he is able to do this he will be much better equipped to present his product effectively, to discern the true meaning of remarks that apparently have no connection, to provide good answers to questions, to handle complaints in the right manner.

The prospect senses it very quickly if a representative is really listening to him. It stands to reason that the prospect will not only open up more, but will have great confidence in what this representative will propose to him at a later stage of the interview.

A very successful representative had the following to say on the subject of listening, “The representative should be able to listen and not do all the talking. If these chaps only knew how much easier their job becomes when they listen intently! In this way he makes his prospect feel that he himself has solved his problem.”

Communication does not take place by means of words only.

From the foregoing you will be able to infer that communication does not take place by means of the spoken word only. Researchers in this field are of the opinion that, when two people come face to face, no more than 35% of what passes from one to the other is conveyed by means of the spoken word. This finding is one of great significance to you. Success in persuading someone is determined to a large extent than what you would convey to him in other ways than by the spoken word. By their presence and behaviour some people evoke and atmosphere of calm reflection and confidence while the behavior and presence of another provokes uneasiness, suspicion and tension.

Other means of communication are the senses: of sight, smell and touch.

A prospect therefore estimates you and what you have to offer him, also according to what he sees. For this reason your dress, your car, your case, the condition of your rate book and your selling material – all form part of the impression you leave with him. You also communicate through your attitude, your expression and your movements. You will therefore understand why it is said that effective communication comprises the conveying of a feeling and of emotions. Your enthusiasm, knowledge, confidence, interest and concern for your prospect are conveyed by means of your conduct and your tone of voice/

What other important messages are conveyed in other ways?

People can hide their true feelings by means of words and often do so. These other means of communication are uncontrollable and betray you without you even being aware of it

Your negative attitude

By means of the so-called non-verbal communication you can convey attitudes that are so deep-seated that you are not even aware of their existence. For example, if you do not expect to clinch a matter, the prospect will sense it and quite probably you will fail to obtain the application. Apparently all goes well, but your attitude deep within becomes visible to the prospect when you come face to face with him. Take time to reflect on how many past efforts ended in failure, because, unconsciously, you adopted a negative attitude towards the prospect, maybe without even being aware of their negative attitude during the interview.

By now it should be clear to you that your attitude towards your product is of the utmost importance for successful canvassing. Nobody can recommend his product with conviction as a solution to another’s problems unless he himself believes the product. This lack of confidence in the product you will probably sense without even being aware of it. No matter how excellent a salesman a representative is, he will have success in selling only those products in which he truly believes.

Your tension

This non-verbal communication which serves to betray you has another important result: if you are feeling tense, you also submit this feeling to the prospect. Nobody is able to conceal his fear or tension for it is clearly discernible in the voice, conduct, attitude and the hesitant nature of one’s speech. Maybe your client has a tight schedule, but so have you and you are there to help him, not ask him for favors.

Your positive attitude

In this regard you should ensure that you differentiate between self-assurance and overconfidence. If the success attained creates within you a feeling of importance and overconfidence you are heading for failure. The reason for this is that someone with a high opinion of themself will during the interview adopt and indifferent attitude towards the prospect’s problems, circumstances and needs.

Information regarding the prospect

On his part, of course, the prospect also communicates with the representative in a number of ways. Everything, the manner of his behavior, his speech, his remarks, his status symbols, his office furniture and the awards decorating his office walls, serve to convey information about him.

During canvassing, therefore, the prospect also communicates with the representative in a number of ways, although he himself may not eve n be aware of this communication and to the alert representative it may be most revealing. Mannerism such as finger-tapping and constantly puffing at a cigarette could indicate tension. The movement of the body tends to be away from the unpleasant and closer to the pleasant. Therefore if he leans forward while you explain your situation it may indicate interest on his part.

However should he push aside your quotation form during your representation it generally indicated disinterest on his part. An emotional change is often betrayed by muscle movement. A frown may imply that the prospect does not understand or agree with you. A nod, a smile, etc. – any movement or expression – may be a means of communicating without words to the prospects. Such movements are often barely discernible, i.e. a slight movement of the hand or blinking, However the observant man will readily notice this and will learn much from it.



.0001pb�n- �} � normal;background:white’>7.1              Aim of the individual



7.2              Basic background & activities:


8.         Impact project is expected to have                   

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