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he Boeing Company is one of the largest manufacturers of airplanes in the world; 1following an industry

consolidation in the mid-1990s, it is actually one of two members of an industrywide duopoly (Airbus is the
other).2 The long production and R&D lead times in this sector, combined with very high prices per unit,
have led to a fierce rivalry between Boeing and Airbus.
For many years, Boeing ranked second in terms of market share, leading to some challenging managerial
and strategic concerns during the 2000s. A series of CEOs were dismissed for various reasons, leaving
Boeing's reputation in question. Although strong in the defense sector, Boeing continued to cede market
share to Airbus in the commercial airline segment, largely due to the introduction of the innovative,
exciting Airbus 330. Finally, Boeing was in the midst of divesting a large percentage of its manufacturing
facilities, in an attempt to move to an outsourcing model. 3
The competitive landscape thus forced Boeing to make a strategic move if it hoped to survive. Headed by
Michael Bair and three other top Boeing executives, the firm decided to develop a new line of jet planes,
designated 787 Dreamliners. The 787 could fly internationally but would carry fewer passengers than
traditional international airplanes. With this innovation, Boeing positioned itself to capture a blue ocean
market, in which it could potentially support around 400 new international routes that attracted too little
demand for larger planes but might be profitable for airlines that flew the new 787. Furthermore, because
cost savings represented a key deciding factor for its business customers (i.e., the airlines), Boeing
designed the plane with new composite materials that reduced fuel costs by 20 percent. 4
Page 609

To meet the related design requirements, not only was the cutting-edge plane model made almost entirely
of composite parts, but these parts also allowed each plane to be snapped together in as little as three
days. But the complexity of the design forced Boeing to outsource more than 70 percent of its production,
using an unprecedented global systems integrator strategy in this business-to-business market.
Whereas once Boeing controlled the majority of production, now it was trusting the manufacturing quality
of its expensive, complex products to partners in the supply chain.

Unfortunately, its trust was misplaced. The new manufacturing approach saved time and money, but the
Dreamliner has continued to be awash in production and design issues. In 2013, fires caused by short
circuits in the new lithium ion batteries that Boeing included in its planes caused the entire global fleet of
787s to be grounded for three months. Despite clearance to fly again, the U.S. National Transportation
Safety Board continued to express concern about the safety of the 140 Dreamliners currently in flight
worldwide.5
How does a company that sells jets for prices ranging from $76 million to $360 million respond to a crisis
like this?6 Boeing relied on its world-class salespeople, such as John Wojick. Empowered by Boeing,
Wojick offered greater flexibility in delivery times, as well as heavy discounts, to his business customers.
He also noted the need to engage in tough conversations with his customers, during which he was
required to communicate truthfully about what Boeing knows, and does not know, about the failures. 7
The personal selling approach adopted by Wojick and his colleagues has helped stem the damage for
Boeing. Within four months of taking over as global head of sales, Wojick landed a contract for 150 planes
(at a value of nearly $15 billion). As a result, Boeing was able to overtake Airbus as the top ranking airline
manufacturer, in terms of orders and deliveries.8
Page 610

Just like advertising, which we discussed in Chapter 19, personal selling is so important to integrated
marketing communications that it deserves its own chapter. Almost everyone is engaged in some form of
selling. On a personal level, you sell your ideas or opinions to your friends, family, employers, and
professors. Even if you have no interest in personal selling as a career, a strong grounding in the topic will
help you in numerous career choices. Consider, for instance, Harry Turk, a very successful labor attorney.
He worked his way through college selling sweaters to fraternities across the country. Although he loved
his part-time job, Harry decided to become an attorney. When asked whether he misses selling, he said,
I use my selling skills every day. I have to sell new clients on the idea that I'm the best attorney for the
job. I have to sell my partners on my legal point of view. I even use selling skills when I'm talking to a
judge or jury.
he Boeing Company is one of the largest manufacturers of airplanes in the world; 1following an industry
consolidation in the mid-1990s, it is actually one of two members of an industrywide duopoly (Airbus is the
other).2 The long production and R&D lead times in this sector, combined with very high prices per unit,
have led to a fierce rivalry between Boeing and Airbus.
For many years, Boeing ranked second in terms of market share, leading to some challenging managerial
and strategic concerns during the 2000s. A series of CEOs were dismissed for various reasons, leaving
Boeing's reputation in question. Although strong in the defense sector, Boeing continued to cede market
share to Airbus in the commercial airline segment, largely due to the introduction of the innovative,
exciting Airbus 330. Finally, Boeing was in the midst of divesting a large percentage of its manufacturing
facilities, in an attempt to move to an outsourcing model. 3
The competitive landscape thus forced Boeing to make a strategic move if it hoped to survive. Headed by
Michael Bair and three other top Boeing executives, the firm decided to develop a new line of jet planes,
designated 787 Dreamliners. The 787 could fly internationally but would carry fewer passengers than
traditional international airplanes. With this innovation, Boeing positioned itself to capture a blue ocean
market, in which it could potentially support around 400 new international routes that attracted too little
demand for larger planes but might be profitable for airlines that flew the new 787. Furthermore, because
cost savings represented a key deciding factor for its business customers (i.e., the airlines), Boeing
designed the plane with new composite materials that reduced fuel costs by 20 percent. 4
Page 609

To meet the related design requirements, not only was the cutting-edge plane model made almost entirely
of composite parts, but these parts also allowed each plane to be snapped together in as little as three
days. But the complexity of the design forced Boeing to outsource more than 70 percent of its production,
using an unprecedented global systems integrator strategy in this business-to-business market.
Whereas once Boeing controlled the majority of production, now it was trusting the manufacturing quality
of its expensive, complex products to partners in the supply chain.
Unfortunately, its trust was misplaced. The new manufacturing approach saved time and money, but the
Dreamliner has continued to be awash in production and design issues. In 2013, fires caused by short
circuits in the new lithium ion batteries that Boeing included in its planes caused the entire global fleet of
787s to be grounded for three months. Despite clearance to fly again, the U.S. National Transportation
Safety Board continued to express concern about the safety of the 140 Dreamliners currently in flight
worldwide.5
How does a company that sells jets for prices ranging from $76 million to $360 million respond to a crisis
like this?6 Boeing relied on its world-class salespeople, such as John Wojick. Empowered by Boeing,
Wojick offered greater flexibility in delivery times, as well as heavy discounts, to his business customers.
He also noted the need to engage in tough conversations with his customers, during which he was
required to communicate truthfully about what Boeing knows, and does not know, about the failures. 7
The personal selling approach adopted by Wojick and his colleagues has helped stem the damage for
Boeing. Within four months of taking over as global head of sales, Wojick landed a contract for 150 planes
(at a value of nearly $15 billion). As a result, Boeing was able to overtake Airbus as the top ranking airline
manufacturer, in terms of orders and deliveries.8
Page 610

Just like advertising, which we discussed in Chapter 19, personal selling is so important to integrated
marketing communications that it deserves its own chapter. Almost everyone is engaged in some form of
selling. On a personal level, you sell your ideas or opinions to your friends, family, employers, and

professors. Even if you have no interest in personal selling as a career, a strong grounding in the topic will
help you in numerous career choices. Consider, for instance, Harry Turk, a very successful labor attorney.
He worked his way through college selling sweaters to fraternities across the country. Although he loved
his part-time job, Harry decided to become an attorney. When asked whether he misses selling, he said,
I use my selling skills every day. I have to sell new clients on the idea that I'm the best attorney for the
job. I have to sell my partners on my legal point of view. I even use selling skills when I'm talking to a
judge or jury.
he Boeing Company is one of the largest manufacturers of airplanes in the world; 1following an industry
consolidation in the mid-1990s, it is actually one of two members of an industrywide duopoly (Airbus is the
other).2 The long production and R&D lead times in this sector, combined with very high prices per unit,
have led to a fierce rivalry between Boeing and Airbus.
For many years, Boeing ranked second in terms of market share, leading to some challenging managerial
and strategic concerns during the 2000s. A series of CEOs were dismissed for various reasons, leaving
Boeing's reputation in question. Although strong in the defense sector, Boeing continued to cede market
share to Airbus in the commercial airline segment, largely due to the introduction of the innovative,
exciting Airbus 330. Finally, Boeing was in the midst of divesting a large percentage of its manufacturing
facilities, in an attempt to move to an outsourcing model. 3
The competitive landscape thus forced Boeing to make a strategic move if it hoped to survive. Headed by
Michael Bair and three other top Boeing executives, the firm decided to develop a new line of jet planes,
designated 787 Dreamliners. The 787 could fly internationally but would carry fewer passengers than
traditional international airplanes. With this innovation, Boeing positioned itself to capture a blue ocean
market, in which it could potentially support around 400 new international routes that attracted too little
demand for larger planes but might be profitable for airlines that flew the new 787. Furthermore, because
cost savings represented a key deciding factor for its business customers (i.e., the airlines), Boeing
designed the plane with new composite materials that reduced fuel costs by 20 percent. 4
Page 609

To meet the related design requirements, not only was the cutting-edge plane model made almost entirely
of composite parts, but these parts also allowed each plane to be snapped together in as little as three
days. But the complexity of the design forced Boeing to outsource more than 70 percent of its production,
using an unprecedented global systems integrator strategy in this business-to-business market.
Whereas once Boeing controlled the majority of production, now it was trusting the manufacturing quality
of its expensive, complex products to partners in the supply chain.
Unfortunately, its trust was misplaced. The new manufacturing approach saved time and money, but the
Dreamliner has continued to be awash in production and design issues. In 2013, fires caused by short
circuits in the new lithium ion batteries that Boeing included in its planes caused the entire global fleet of
787s to be grounded for three months. Despite clearance to fly again, the U.S. National Transportation
Safety Board continued to express concern about the safety of the 140 Dreamliners currently in flight
worldwide.5
How does a company that sells jets for prices ranging from $76 million to $360 million respond to a crisis
like this?6 Boeing relied on its world-class salespeople, such as John Wojick. Empowered by Boeing,
Wojick offered greater flexibility in delivery times, as well as heavy discounts, to his business customers.
He also noted the need to engage in tough conversations with his customers, during which he was
required to communicate truthfully about what Boeing knows, and does not know, about the failures. 7
The personal selling approach adopted by Wojick and his colleagues has helped stem the damage for
Boeing. Within four months of taking over as global head of sales, Wojick landed a contract for 150 planes
(at a value of nearly $15 billion). As a result, Boeing was able to overtake Airbus as the top ranking airline
manufacturer, in terms of orders and deliveries.8
Page 610

Just like advertising, which we discussed in Chapter 19, personal selling is so important to integrated
marketing communications that it deserves its own chapter. Almost everyone is engaged in some form of
selling. On a personal level, you sell your ideas or opinions to your friends, family, employers, and

professors. Even if you have no interest in personal selling as a career, a strong grounding in the topic will
help you in numerous career choices. Consider, for instance, Harry Turk, a very successful labor attorney.
He worked his way through college selling sweaters to fraternities across the country. Although he loved
his part-time job, Harry decided to become an attorney. When asked whether he misses selling, he said,
I use my selling skills every day. I have to sell new clients on the idea that I'm the best attorney for the
job. I have to sell my partners on my legal point of view. I even use selling skills when I'm talking to a
judge or jury.

THE PERSONAL SELLING PROCESS


LO2

Define the steps in the personal selling process.


Although selling may appear a rather straightforward process, successful salespeople must follow several
steps. Depending on the sales situation and the buyer's readiness to purchase, the salesperson may not
use every step, and the time required for each step varies with the situation. For example, if a customer
goes into The Gap already prepared to purchase some chinos, the selling process will be fairly quick. But
if Lenovo is attempting to sell personal computers for the first time to your university, the process may take
several months. With this in mind, let's examine each step of the selling process (Exhibit 20.1).

E X H I B I T 2 0 . 1 The Personal Selling Process


Page 614

Step 1: Generate and Qualify Leads


The first step in the selling process is to generate a list of potential customers (leads) and assess their
potential (qualify). Salespeople who already have an established relationship with a customer will skip
this step, and it is not used extensively in retail settings. In B2B situations, however, it is important to work
continually to find new and potentially profitable customers.
Salespeople can generate and qualify leads in a variety of ways. 15 They might discover potential leads by
talking to current customers, doing research on the Internet, or networking at events such as trade shows,
industry conferences, or chamber of commerce meetings. Salespeople can also generate leads through
cold calls and social media.
The Internet, and sites like LinkedIn and Twitter in particular, have been a boon for generating and
qualifying leads. Prior to its explosion, it was cumbersome to perform research on products, customers, or
competitors. Salespeople would rely on a research staff for this information, and it could take weeks for
the research to be completed and sent through the mail. Today, salespeople connect with potential
customers through Twitter and LinkedIn. Salespeople curate blogs to draw in customers and generate
leads, a process known as inbound marketing. While these are all important tools, they are unlikely to
replace cold calling anytime soon as many customers still cannot be reached via social media. 16
Trade shows also offer an excellent forum for finding leads. These major events are attended by buyers
who choose to be exposed to products and services offered by potential suppliers in an industry.
Consumer electronics buyers always make sure that they attend the annual International Consumer
Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the world's largest trade show for consumer technology
(http://www.cesweb.org). The most recent show was attended by 155,000 people (including more than
34,000 international attendees), such as vendors, developers, and suppliers of consumer-technology
hardware, content, technology delivery systems, and related products and services. 17 Nearly 3,100 vendor
exhibits took up 1.861 million net square feet of exhibit space, showcasing the very latest products and
services. Vendors often use CES to introduce new products, including the first camcorder (1981), highdefinition television (HDTV, 1998), and Internet protocol television (IP TV, 2005). At the 2014 CES
conference more than 3,000 exhibitors showed off tens of thousands of new products. 18 In addition to
providing an opportunity for retail buyers to see the latest products, the CES conference program features
prominent speakers from the technology sector.19

Trade shows, like the International Consumer Eletronics Show in Las Vegas, are an excellent way to
generate and qualify leads.
Cold calls are a method of prospecting in which salespeople telephone or go to see potential customers
without appointments.20 Telemarketing is similar to a cold call, but it always occurs over the telephone.
Sometimes professional telemarketing firms, rather than the firm's salespeople, make such calls. Adding
Value 20.1 examines how colleges use it to boost attendance at sports events.
However, cold calls and telemarketing have become less popular over time, primarily because their
success rate is fairly low. During cold calls, the salesperson is not able to establish the potential
customer's specific needs because the receiver of the call is not expecting it, and therefore may not be
willing to participate in it. Accordingly, these methods can be very expensive. Second, both federal and
state governments are regulating the activities of telemarketers. Federal rules prohibit telemarketing to
consumers whose names appear on the national Do-Not-Call list, which is maintained by the Federal
Trade Commission. Even for those consumers whose names are not on the list, the rules prohibit calling
before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. (in the consumer's time zone) or after the consumer has told the
telemarketer not to call. Federal rules also prohibit unsolicited fax messages, calls, or messages to cell
phones.

Telemarketing is a type of cold call in which salespeople generate or qualify leads on the telephone.
Page 616

After salespeople generate leads, they must qualify those leads by determining whether it is worthwhile to
pursue them and attempt to turn them into customers. In B2B settings, the costs of preparing and making
a presentation are so substantial that the seller must assess a lead's potential. Salespeople consider, for
example, whether the potential customer's needs pertain to a product or a service. They should assess
whether the lead has the financial resources to pay for the product or service. 21 Clients looking to sell
multimillion-dollar properties want real estate agents to qualify potential buyers first. Therefore, the sales
agents might create a password-protected website that features floor plans and inside views for the
shopping convenience of interested buyers. But to obtain the password, the customer must be
prequalified as someone who could actually afford to buy the property. Such qualifications save both the
agent and the seller the trouble of showing properties to curious people who could never actually afford to
buy.
In a retail setting, though, qualifying potential customers is both dangerous and potentially illegal. Retail
salespeople should never judge a book by its cover and assume that a person in the store doesn't fit the
store's image or cannot afford to purchase there. Such actions can quickly rise to the level of unethical
and illegal discrimination, as recently alleged by several African American shoppers against such wellknown retail names as Macy's and Barneys.22 Although not illegal, imagine the frustration you might feel if
you visit an upscale jewelry store to purchase an engagement ring, only to be snubbed because you are
dressed in your everyday, casual school clothes.

Step 2: Preapproach and the Use of CRM Systems


The preapproach occurs prior to meeting the customer for the first time and extends the qualification of
leads procedure described in Step 1. Although the salesperson has learned about the customer during
the qualification stage, in this step, he or she must conduct additional research and develop plans for
meeting with the customer. Suppose, for example, a management consulting firm wants to sell a bank a
new system for finding checking account errors. The consulting firm's salesperson should first find out
everything possible about the bank: How many checks does it process? What system is the bank using

now? What are the benefits of the consultant's proposed system compared with the competition? The
answers to these questions provide the basis for establishing value for the customer.

Salespeople input customer information into their tablets to develop a customer database for CRM
systems.
In the past, this customer information, if it was available at all, was typically included in a manual system
that each individual salesperson kept, using a notebook or a series of cards. Today, salespeople often can
access all this information immediately and conveniently from their firm's customer relationship
management (CRM) system.
In most cases, these CRM systems have several components. There is a customer database or data
warehouse. Whether the salesperson is working for a retail store or manages a selling team for an
aerospace contractor, he or she can record transaction information, customer contact information,
customer preferences, and market segment information about the customer. Once the data have been
analyzed and CRM programs developed, salespeople can help implement the programs. Superior
Service 20.1 describes the success of the most popular CRM system today, Salesforce.com.
Having done the additional research, the salesperson establishes goals for meeting with the customer. It
is important that he or she knows ahead of time exactly what should be accomplished. For instance, the
consulting firm's salesperson cannot expect to get a purchase commitment from the bank after just the
first visit. But a demonstration of the system and a short presentation about how the system would benefit
the customer would be appropriate. It is often a good idea to practice the presentation prior to the
meeting, using a technique known as role playing, in which the salesperson acts out a simulated buying
situation while a colleague or manager acts as the buyer. Afterward, the practice sales presentation can
be critiqued and adjustments can be made.
Cold calls are a method of prospecting in which salespeople telephone or go to see potential customers
without appointments.20 Telemarketing is similar to a cold call, but it always occurs over the telephone.
Sometimes professional telemarketing firms, rather than the firm's salespeople, make such calls. Adding
Value 20.1 examines how colleges use it to boost attendance at sports events.

However, cold calls and telemarketing have become less popular over time, primarily because their
success rate is fairly low. During cold calls, the salesperson is not able to establish the potential
customer's specific needs because the receiver of the call is not expecting it, and therefore may not be
willing to participate in it. Accordingly, these methods can be very expensive. Second, both federal and
state governments are regulating the activities of telemarketers. Federal rules prohibit telemarketing to
consumers whose names appear on the national Do-Not-Call list, which is maintained by the Federal
Trade Commission. Even for those consumers whose names are not on the list, the rules prohibit calling
before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. (in the consumer's time zone) or after the consumer has told the
telemarketer not to call. Federal rules also prohibit unsolicited fax messages, calls, or messages to cell
phones.

Telemarketing is a type of cold call in which salespeople generate or qualify leads on the telephone.
Page 616

After salespeople generate leads, they must qualify those leads by determining whether it is worthwhile to
pursue them and attempt to turn them into customers. In B2B settings, the costs of preparing and making
a presentation are so substantial that the seller must assess a lead's potential. Salespeople consider, for
example, whether the potential customer's needs pertain to a product or a service. They should assess
whether the lead has the financial resources to pay for the product or service. 21 Clients looking to sell
multimillion-dollar properties want real estate agents to qualify potential buyers first. Therefore, the sales
agents might create a password-protected website that features floor plans and inside views for the
shopping convenience of interested buyers. But to obtain the password, the customer must be
prequalified as someone who could actually afford to buy the property. Such qualifications save both the
agent and the seller the trouble of showing properties to curious people who could never actually afford to
buy.
In a retail setting, though, qualifying potential customers is both dangerous and potentially illegal. Retail
salespeople should never judge a book by its cover and assume that a person in the store doesn't fit the
store's image or cannot afford to purchase there. Such actions can quickly rise to the level of unethical
and illegal discrimination, as recently alleged by several African American shoppers against such wellknown retail names as Macy's and Barneys.22 Although not illegal, imagine the frustration you might feel if

you visit an upscale jewelry store to purchase an engagement ring, only to be snubbed because you are
dressed in your everyday, casual school clothes.

Step 2: Preapproach and the Use of CRM Systems


The preapproach occurs prior to meeting the customer for the first time and extends the qualification of
leads procedure described in Step 1. Although the salesperson has learned about the customer during
the qualification stage, in this step, he or she must conduct additional research and develop plans for
meeting with the customer. Suppose, for example, a management consulting firm wants to sell a bank a
new system for finding checking account errors. The consulting firm's salesperson should first find out
everything possible about the bank: How many checks does it process? What system is the bank using
now? What are the benefits of the consultant's proposed system compared with the competition? The
answers to these questions provide the basis for establishing value for the customer.

Salespeople input customer information into their tablets to develop a customer database for CRM
systems.
In the past, this customer information, if it was available at all, was typically included in a manual system
that each individual salesperson kept, using a notebook or a series of cards. Today, salespeople often can
access all this information immediately and conveniently from their firm's customer relationship
management (CRM) system.
In most cases, these CRM systems have several components. There is a customer database or data
warehouse. Whether the salesperson is working for a retail store or manages a selling team for an
aerospace contractor, he or she can record transaction information, customer contact information,
customer preferences, and market segment information about the customer. Once the data have been
analyzed and CRM programs developed, salespeople can help implement the programs. Superior
Service 20.1 describes the success of the most popular CRM system today, Salesforce.com.
Having done the additional research, the salesperson establishes goals for meeting with the customer. It
is important that he or she knows ahead of time exactly what should be accomplished. For instance, the
consulting firm's salesperson cannot expect to get a purchase commitment from the bank after just the

first visit. But a demonstration of the system and a short presentation about how the system would benefit
the customer would be appropriate. It is often a good idea to practice the presentation prior to the
meeting, using a technique known as role playing, in which the salesperson acts out a simulated buying
situation while a colleague or manager acts as the buyer. Afterward, the practice sales presentation can
be critiqued and adjustments can be made.

Step 3: Sales Presentation and Overcoming Reservations


The PresentationOnce all the background information has been obtained and the objectives for the
meeting are set, the salesperson is ready for a person-to-person meeting. Let's continue with our bank
example. During the first part of the meeting, the salesperson needs to get to know the customer, get his
or her attention, and create interest in the presentation to follow. The beginning of the presentation may
be the most important part of the entire selling process, because it is when the salesperson establishes
exactly where the customer is in his or her buying process (Exhibit 20.2). (For a refresher on the B2B
buying process, see Chapter 7.)

E X H I B I T 2 0 . 2 Aligning the Personal Selling Process with the B2B Buying Process

Suppose, for instance, that the bank is in the first stage of the buying process: need recognition. It would
not be prudent for the salesperson to discuss the pros and cons of different potential suppliers, because
doing so would assume that the customer already had reached Step 4 (of the B2B buying process),
proposal analysis and customer selection. By asking a series of questions though, the salesperson can
assess the bank's need for the product or service and adapt or customize the presentation to match the
customer's need and stage in the decision process.23
Asking questions is only half the battle; carefully listening to the answers is equally important. Some
salespeople, particularly inexperienced ones, believe that to be in control, they must do all the talking. Yet
it is impossible to really understand where the customer stands without listening carefully. What if the chief
operating officer (COO) says, It seems kind of expensive? If the salesperson isn't listening carefully, he

or she won't pick up on the subtle nuances of what the customer is really thinking. In this case, it probably
means the COO doesn't see the value in the offering.
When the salesperson has gotten a good feel for where the customer stands, he or she can apply that
knowledge to help the customer solve its problem or satisfy its need. The salesperson might begin by
explaining the features or characteristics of the system that will reduce checking account errors. It may not
be obvious, solely on the basis of these features, that the system adds value beyond the bank's current
practices. Using the answers to some of the questions the salesperson posed earlier in the meeting, he or
she can clarify the product's advantages over current or past practices, as well as the overall benefits of
adopting the new system. The salesperson might explain, for instance, that the bank can expect a 20
percent improvement in checking account errors and that, because of the size of the bank and number of
checks it processes per year, this improvement would represent $2 million in annual savings. Because the
system costs $150,000 per year and will take only three weeks to integrate into the current system, it will
add significant and almost immediate value.

It is important to ask questions at the beginning of a sales presentation to establish where the customer is
in his or her buying process.
Page 619

As this hypothetical example hints, personal selling often relies on an old-fashioned skill: storytelling. Even
if they use advanced technologies and Internet-based communication media, salespeople must
communicate their messages and sales pitches in ways that resonate with their audience of potential
customers. As research in neuroscience continues to affirm, virtually everyone uses at least some level of
emotional reaction in determining their choices. To appeal to customers, salespeople thus need to tell a
story that engages people's imaginations.24
Handling ReservationsAn integral part of the sales presentation is handling reservations or objections
that the buyer might have about the product or service. Although reservations can arise during each stage
of the selling process, they are very likely to occur during the sales presentation. Customers may raise
reservations pertaining to a variety of issues, but they usually relate in some way to value, such as that
the price is too high for the level of quality or service.

Good salespeople know the types of reservations buyers are likely to raise. They may know, for instance,
that their service is slower than competitors or that their selection is limited. Although not all reservations
can be forestalled, effective salespeople can anticipate and handle some. For example, when the bank
COO said the check service seemed expensive, the salesperson was ready with information about how
quickly the investment would be recouped.

Step 3: Sales Presentation and Overcoming Reservations


The PresentationOnce all the background information has been obtained and the objectives for the
meeting are set, the salesperson is ready for a person-to-person meeting. Let's continue with our bank
example. During the first part of the meeting, the salesperson needs to get to know the customer, get his
or her attention, and create interest in the presentation to follow. The beginning of the presentation may
be the most important part of the entire selling process, because it is when the salesperson establishes
exactly where the customer is in his or her buying process (Exhibit 20.2). (For a refresher on the B2B
buying process, see Chapter 7.)

E X H I B I T 2 0 . 2 Aligning the Personal Selling Process with the B2B Buying Process

Suppose, for instance, that the bank is in the first stage of the buying process: need recognition. It would
not be prudent for the salesperson to discuss the pros and cons of different potential suppliers, because
doing so would assume that the customer already had reached Step 4 (of the B2B buying process),
proposal analysis and customer selection. By asking a series of questions though, the salesperson can
assess the bank's need for the product or service and adapt or customize the presentation to match the
customer's need and stage in the decision process.23
Asking questions is only half the battle; carefully listening to the answers is equally important. Some
salespeople, particularly inexperienced ones, believe that to be in control, they must do all the talking. Yet
it is impossible to really understand where the customer stands without listening carefully. What if the chief
operating officer (COO) says, It seems kind of expensive? If the salesperson isn't listening carefully, he

or she won't pick up on the subtle nuances of what the customer is really thinking. In this case, it probably
means the COO doesn't see the value in the offering.
When the salesperson has gotten a good feel for where the customer stands, he or she can apply that
knowledge to help the customer solve its problem or satisfy its need. The salesperson might begin by
explaining the features or characteristics of the system that will reduce checking account errors. It may not
be obvious, solely on the basis of these features, that the system adds value beyond the bank's current
practices. Using the answers to some of the questions the salesperson posed earlier in the meeting, he or
she can clarify the product's advantages over current or past practices, as well as the overall benefits of
adopting the new system. The salesperson might explain, for instance, that the bank can expect a 20
percent improvement in checking account errors and that, because of the size of the bank and number of
checks it processes per year, this improvement would represent $2 million in annual savings. Because the
system costs $150,000 per year and will take only three weeks to integrate into the current system, it will
add significant and almost immediate value.

It is important to ask questions at the beginning of a sales presentation to establish where the customer is
in his or her buying process.
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As this hypothetical example hints, personal selling often relies on an old-fashioned skill: storytelling. Even
if they use advanced technologies and Internet-based communication media, salespeople must
communicate their messages and sales pitches in ways that resonate with their audience of potential
customers. As research in neuroscience continues to affirm, virtually everyone uses at least some level of
emotional reaction in determining their choices. To appeal to customers, salespeople thus need to tell a
story that engages people's imaginations.24
Handling ReservationsAn integral part of the sales presentation is handling reservations or objections
that the buyer might have about the product or service. Although reservations can arise during each stage
of the selling process, they are very likely to occur during the sales presentation. Customers may raise
reservations pertaining to a variety of issues, but they usually relate in some way to value, such as that
the price is too high for the level of quality or service.

Good salespeople know the types of reservations buyers are likely to raise. They may know, for instance,
that their service is slower than competitors or that their selection is limited. Although not all reservations
can be forestalled, effective salespeople can anticipate and handle some. For example, when the bank
COO said the check service seemed expensive, the salesperson was ready with information about how
quickly the investment would be recouped.

MANAGING THE SALES FORCE


LO3

Describe the key functions involved in managing a sales force.


Like any business activity involving people, the sales force requires management. Sales
managementinvolves the planning, direction, and control of personal selling activities, including
recruiting, selecting, training, motivating, compensating, and evaluating, as they apply to the sales force.
Managing a sales force is a rewarding yet complicated undertaking. In this section, we examine how sales
forces can be structured, some of the most important issues in recruiting and selecting salespeople, sales
training issues, ways to compensate salespeople, and finally how to supervise and evaluate salespeople.

Sales Force Structure


Imagine the daunting task of putting together a sales force from scratch. Will you hire your own
salespeople, or should they be manufacturer's representatives? What will each salesperson's primary
duties be: order takers, order getters, sales support? Finally, will they work together in teams? In this
section, we examine each of these issues.
Company Sales Force or Manufacturer's RepresentativeA company sales force comprises people
who are employees of the selling company. Independent agents, also known as manufacturer's
representatives, or reps, are salespeople who sell a manufacturer's products on an extended contract
basis but are not employees of the manufacturer. They are compensated by commissions and do not take
ownership or physical possession of the merchandise.
Manufacturer's representatives are useful for smaller firms or firms expanding into new markets, because
such companies can achieve instant and extensive sales coverage without having to pay full-time
personnel. Good sales representatives have many established contacts and can sell multiple products
from noncompeting manufacturers during the same sales call. Also, the use of manufacturer's reps
facilitates flexibility; it is much easier to replace a rep than an employee and much easier to expand or
contract coverage in a market with a sales rep than with a company sales force.
Company sales forces are more typically used for established product lines. Because the salespeople are
company employees, the manufacturer has more control over what they do. If, for example, the
manufacturer's strategy is to provide extensive customer service, the sales manager can specify exactly
what actions a company sales force must take. In contrast, because manufacturer's reps are paid on a
commission basis, it is difficult to persuade them to take any action that doesn't directly lead to sales.
Salesperson DutiesAlthough the life of a professional salesperson is highly varied, salespeople generally
play three important roles: order getting, order taking, and sales support.
Order GettingAn order getter is a salesperson whose primary responsibilities are identifying potential
customers and engaging those customers in discussions to attempt to make a sale. An order getter is
also responsible for following up to ensure that the customer is satisfied and to build the relationship. In
B2B settings, order getters are primarily involved in new buy and modified new buy situations
(see Chapter 7). As a result, they require extensive sales and product knowledge training. The Coca-Cola

salesperson who goes to Safeway's headquarters to sell a special promotion of Vanilla Coke is an order
getter.
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Order TakingAn order taker is a salesperson whose primary responsibility is to process routine orders,
reorders, or rebuys for products. Colgate employs order takers around the globe who go into stores and
distribution centers that already carry Colgate products to check inventory, set up displays, write new
orders, and make sure everything is going smoothly.

Order takers process routine orders, reorders, or rebuys for products.


Sales SupportSales support personnel enhance and help with the overall selling effort. For example, if
a Best Buy customer begins to experience computer problems, the company has a Geek Squad door-todoor service as well as support in the store. Those employees who respond to the customer's technical
questions and repair the computer serve to support the overall sales process.
Combination DutiesAlthough some salespeople's primary function may be order getting, order taking, or
sales support, others fill a combination of roles. For instance, a computer salesperson at Staples may
spend an hour with a customer educating him or her about the pros and cons of various systems and then
make the sale. The next customer might simply need a specific printer cartridge. A third customer might
bring in a computer and seek advice about an operating system problem. The salesperson was first an
order getter, next an order taker, and finally a sales support person.
Some firms use selling teams that combine sales specialists whose primary duties are order getting,
order taking, or sales support but who work together to service important accounts. As companies
become larger and products more complicated, it is nearly impossible for one person to perform all the
necessary sales functions.

Recruiting and Selecting Salespeople


When the firm has determined how the sales force will be structured, it must find and hire salespeople.
Although superficially this task may sound as easy as posting the job opening on the Internet or running
an ad in a newspaper, it must be performed carefully, because firms don't want to hire the wrong person.
Salespeople are very expensive to train. Among other creative hiring tactics, Zappo's famously considers
finding the right people so important that it will pay them to leave after a few weeks if they are not a good
fit.28

In their critical efforts to find the right person for the job though, companies must take care to avoid biased
practices, such that they would hire on the basis of stereotypes instead of qualifications. For most people,
the picture of someone selling Avon products likely involves a middle-aged woman, namely, the Avon
Lady. But sales revenues for these products continue to provide salespeople a successful living,
prompting plenty of women and men to try their hand at selling Avon. 29 Hiring based on misplaced
assumptions about gender or other categories can be damaging to the company, as well as
discriminatory.
The most important activity in the recruiting process is to determine exactly what the salesperson will be
doing and what personal traits and abilities a person should have to do the job well. For instance, the
Coca-Cola order getter who goes to Safeway to pitch a new product will typically need significant sales
experience, coupled with great communication and analytical skills. Coke's order takers need to be
reliable and able to get along with lots of different types of people in the stores, from managers to
customers.
Many firms give candidates personality tests, but they stress different personality attributes, depending on
the requisite traits for the position and the personality characteristics of their most successful
salespeople.30 For instance, impatience is often a positive characteristic for sales because it creates a
sense of urgency to close the sale. But for very large, complicated sales targeting large institutions, like
the bank in our previous example, an impatient salesperson may irritate the decision makers and kill the
deal.

Is P90X creator Tony Horton a born salesperson or was he made into one?
Page 624

When recruiting salespeople, it helps to possess certain personal traits. What are those personal traits?
Managers and sales experts generally agree on the following: 31

Personality. Good salespeople are friendly, sociable, and, in general, like being around people.
Customers won't buy from someone they don't like.
Optimism. Good salespeople tend to look at the bright side of things. Optimism also may help
them be resilientthe third trait.
Resilience. Good salespeople don't easily take no for an answer. They keep coming back until
they get a yes.
Self-motivation. As we have already mentioned, salespeople have lots of freedom to spend their
days the way they believe will be most productive. But if the salespeople are not self-motivated to get
the job done, it probably won't get done.
Empathy. Empathy is one of the five dimensions of service quality discussed previously in this
chapter and in Chapter 13. Good salespeople must care about their customers, their issues, and
their problems.

Sales Training
Even people who possess all these personal traits need training. All salespeople benefit from training
about selling and negotiation techniques, product and service knowledge, technologies used in the selling
process, time and territory management, and company policies and procedures.
Firms use varied delivery methods to train their salespeople, depending on the topic of the training, what
type of salesperson is being trained, and the cost versus the value of the training. For instance, an on-thejob training program is excellent for communicating selling and negotiation skills, because managers can
observe the sales trainees in real selling situations and provide instant feedback. They can also engage in
role-playing exercises in which the salesperson acts out a simulated buying situation and the manager
critiques the salesperson's performance.
A much less expensive, but for some purposes equally valuable, training method is the Internet. Online
training programs have revolutionized the way training happens in many firms. Firms can provide new
product and service knowledge, spread the word about changes in company policies and procedures, and
share selling tips in a user-friendly environment that salespeople can access anytime and anywhere.
Distance learning sales training programs through teleconferencing enable a group of salespeople to
participate with their instructor or manager in a virtual classroom. And testing can occur online as well.
Online sales training may never replace the one-on-one interaction of on-the-job training for advanced
selling skills, but it is quite effective and efficient for many other aspects of the sales training task. 32

Technology has changed the lives of salespeople and sales training. Companies can conduct distance
learning and training through videoconferencing.
Page 625

Motivating and Compensating Salespeople


An important goal for any effective sales manager is to get to know his or her salespeople and determine
what motivates them to be effective. Some salespeople prize their freedom and like to be left alone;
others want attention and are more productive when they receive accolades for a job well done. Still
others are motivated primarily by monetary compensation. Great sales managers determine how best to
motivate each of their salespeople according to what is most important to each individual. Although sales
managers can emphasize different motivating factors, except in the smallest companies, the methods
used to compensate salespeople must be fairly standardized and can be divided into two categories:
financial and nonfinancial.
Financial RewardsSalespeople's compensation usually has several components. Most salespeople
receive at least part of their compensation as a salary, a fixed sum of money paid at regular intervals.
Another common financial incentive is a commission, which is money paid as a percentage of the sales
volume or profitability. A bonus is a payment made at management's discretion when the salesperson
attains certain goals. Bonuses usually are given only periodically, such as at the end of the year. A sales
contest is a short-term incentive designed to elicit a specific response from the sales force. Prizes might
be cash or other types of financial incentives. For instance, Volkswagen may give a free trip to Germany
for the salesperson who sells the most Touaregs.
The bulk of any compensation package is made up of salary, commission, or a combination of the two.
The advantage of a salary plan is that salespeople know exactly what they will be paid, and sales
managers have more control. Salaried salespeople can be directed to spend a certain percentage of their
time handling customer service issues. Under a commission system, however, salespeople have only one
objectivemake the sale! Thus, a commission system provides the most incentive for the sales force to
sell.

Volkswagen may give a free trip to Germany for the salesperson who sells the most Touaregs.
Page 626

Nonfinancial RewardsAs we have noted, good salespeople are self-motivated. They want to do a good
job and make the sale because it makes them feel good. But this good feeling also can be accentuated by
recognition from peers and management. For instance, the internal monthly magazine at the cosmetics
firm Mary Kay provides an outlet for not only selling advice but also companywide recognition of individual
salespeople's accomplishments.33
Nonfinancial rewards should have high symbolic value, as plaques, pens, or rings do. Free trips or days
off are also effective rewards. More important than what the reward is, however, is the way it is
operationalized. For instance, an award should be given at a sales meeting and publicized in the company
newsletter. It should also be done in good taste, because if the award is perceived as tacky, no one will
take it seriously.34 Mary Kay recognizes salespeople's success with unusually large rewards that have
both high symbolic and high material value. More than 100,000 independent beauty consultants and sales
directors have earned the use of one of the famous pink Cadillacs, but it is also possible to gain rewards
and recognition such as a set of faux pearl earrings within the first week of becoming a consultant.

Mary Kay gives high-performing salespeople an award that has both high symbolic value and material
valuea pink Cadillac.
Evaluating Salespeople by Using Marketing MetricsSalespeople's evaluation process must be tied to
their reward structure. If salespeople do well, they should receive their rewards in the same way that if you
do well on your exams and assignments in a class, you should earn a good grade. However, salespeople
should be evaluated and rewarded for only those activities and outcomes that fall under their control. If
Macy's makes a unilateral decision to put Diesel jeans in all its stores, after a negotiation with Diesel's
corporate headquarters in Italy, the Diesel sales representatives responsible for individual Macy's stores
should not receive credit for making the sale, nor should they get all the windfall commission that would
ensue from the added sales.
Considering this guiding principleevaluate and reward salespeople for what they do and not for what
they don't dohow should sales managers evaluate salespeople? The answer is never easy because
measures must be tied to performance, and there are many ways to measure performance in a complex
job such as selling. For example, evaluating performance on the basis of monthly sales alone fails to
consider how profitable the sales were, whether any progress was made to build new business that will be
realized sometime in the future, or the level of customer service the salesperson provided. Because the
sales job is multifaceted with many contributing success factors, sales managers should use multiple
measures.35
In business practice, salesperson evaluation measures can be objective or subjective. Sales, profits, and
the number of orders represent examples of objective measures. Although each is somewhat useful to
managers, such measures do not provide an adequate perspective for a thorough evaluation because
there is no means of comparison with other salespeople. For instance, suppose salesperson A generated
$1 million last year, but salesperson B generated $1.5 million. Should salesperson B automatically receive
a significantly higher evaluation? Now consider that salesperson B's territory has twice as much potential
as salesperson A's. Knowing this, we might suppose that salesperson A has actually done a better job.
For this reason, firms use ratios such as profit per customer, orders per call, sales per hour, or expenses
compared to sales as their objective measures.
Page 627

Whereas objective measures are quantitative, subjective measures seek to assess salespeople's
behavior: what they do and how well they do it. By their very nature, subjective measures reflect one
person's opinion about another's performance. Thus, subjective evaluations can be biased and should be
used cautiously and only in conjunction with multiple objective measures.

ETHICAL AND LEGAL ISSUES IN PERSONAL SELLING


LO4

Describe the ethical and legal issues in personal selling.


Although ethical and legal issues permeate all aspects of marketing, they are particularly important for
personal selling. Unlike advertising and other communications with customers, which are planned and
executed on a corporate level, personal selling involves a one-to-one, and often face-to-face, encounter
with the customer. Therefore, sellers actions are not only highly visible to customers but also to other
stakeholders, such as the communities in which they work.
Ethical and legal issues arise in three main areas. First, there is the relationship between the sales
manager and the sales force. Second, in some situations, an inconsistency might exist between corporate
policy and the salesperson's ethical comfort zone. Third, both ethical and legal issues can arise when the
salesperson interacts with the customer, especially if that salesperson or the selling firm collects
significant information about the customer. To maintain trustworthy customer relationships, companies
must take care that they respect customer privacy and respect the information comfort zonethat is, the
amount of information a customer feels comfortable providing. 36

The Sales Manager and the Sales Force


Like any manager, a sales manager must treat people fairly and equally in everything he or she does.
With regard to the sales force, this fairness must include hiring, promotion, supervision, training, assigning
duties and quotas, compensation and incentives, and firing. 37 Federal laws cover many of these issues.
For instance, equal employment opportunity laws make it unlawful to discriminate against a person in
hiring, promotion, or firing because of race, religion, nationality, sex, or age.

Salespeople must live within their own ethical comfort zone. Should insurance salespeople disclose
inadequate hurricane coverage and risk not making the sale?

The Sales Force and Corporate Policy


Sometimes salespeople face a conflict between what they believe represents ethical selling and what their
company asks them to do to make a sale. Suppose an insurance agent, whose compensation is based on
commission, sells a homeowner's policy to a family that has just moved to New Orleans, an area prone to
flooding as a result of hurricanes. Even though the policy covers hurricane damage, it does not cover
water damage from hurricanes. If the salesperson discloses the inadequate coverage, the sale might be
lost because additional flood insurance is very expensive. What should the salesperson do? Salespeople
must live within their own ethical comfort zone. If this, or any other situation, is morally repugnant to the
salesperson, he or she must question the choice to be associated with such a company. 38
Salespeople also can be held accountable for illegal actions sanctioned by the employer. If the
homeowner asks if the home is above the floodplain or whether water damage from flooding is covered by
the policy, and it is company policy to intentionally mislead potential customers, both the salesperson and
the insurance dealership could be susceptible to legal action.

The Salesperson and the Customer


As the frontline emissaries for a firm, salespeople have a duty to be ethically and legally correct in all their
dealings with their customers. Not only is it the right thing to do, it simply means good business. Longterm relationships can deteriorate quickly if customers believe that they have not been treated in an
ethically proper manner. Unfortunately, salespeople sometimes get mixed signals from their managers or
simply do not know when their behaviors might be considered unethical or illegal. Formal guidelines can
help, but it is also important to integrate these guidelines into training programs in which salespeople can
discuss various issues that arise in the field with their peers and managers. 39 Most important, however, is
for sales managers to lead by example. If managers are known to cut ethical corners in their dealings with
customers, it shouldn't surprise them when their salespeople do the same. Ethical and Societal Dilemma
20.1 considers the ethical issues that realtors face.