Who is a Salesman?
A salesman is the foundation of many commercial activities. He is a business representative whose main function is to communicate knowledge related to the products and services offered by the company, so as to persuade the prospects, to take action in a certain manner, which is beneficial to both the parties buyer and seller.
Salesman plays a strategic role in the organization as he is the competitive strength of the concern. Hence, a salesman must be chosen wisely and trained carefully. Their primary job is to secure an order, but it also includes selling, traveling, information gathering, reporting, handling complaints, advising and counseling, attending sales meetings, etc.
The salesman is generally expected to have complete knowledge about the product or service they are selling. The more knowledge he possesses, the more he is capable of communicating the message clearly, increasing sales volume, and acquiring large orders.
Salesman highlights the product features or specifications to the prospects and also answers all the queries raised by the customers.
Types of Salesman
The salesman plays multiple roles like persuader, information gatherer, coordinator, display arranger, etc. A salesman should have an appealing personality, cheerfulness, cleanliness, courtesy, good posture, intelligence, self-confidence, initiative, enthusiasm, tactfulness, and most importantly patience, cooperativeness, and tolerance.
The different types of salesman are:
These salesmen do not carry a large number of items in their portfolio and have a highly. He possesses specialized knowledge of the items he is carrying with him for sale. He does not deals with customers directly rather he deals with middlemen. Further, they collect bulk orders for supplying from headquarters. The different types of manufacturer’s salesman are:
- Regular Salesman: These salesmen resell their goods to the wholesalers, distributors, and dealers, for which good training is given, so as to generate high volume sales from the targets. The aim of such a salesman is to ensure that the dealers are happy and satisfied with the regular flow of goods supplied by the manufacturers.
- Merchandising Salesman: The function of such a salesman is to assist the dealers by providing the right suggestions regarding display, store layout, service facility, and so forth. Merchandising salesman aim at publicizing and conducting demonstrations, by assisting them at each step.
- Pioneer Salesman: These salesman aim at creating a market for recently launched products or upcoming products, which the customers are not aware of. These salesmen possess good knowledge of merchandise and their persuading ability is also remarkable. They seek to convince the wholesalers and dealers about the utility and features of the newly launched product. For this, he himself needs to be aware of all the positive and negative points of the product. These create a ready market for the newly launched product.
- Technical Salesman: Salesmen who are technically skilled and provide technical assistance to the customers on various matters related to the product such as quality, design, features, installation, etc. They provide knowledge about technology-based products like computers, electronic items (TV, Refrigerator, Washing Machine, Air Conditioner, Microwave Oven, and so on), mobile, laptops, tablets, etc.
- Sales Promotion Salesman: These are specialized in promotional work, often found in the field of medical, health, and pharmaceuticals. They attempt to convince doctors, about the newly launched drug, research work, testing, etc.
- Order Getter Salesman: These are the ones who work for increasing the company’s sales, either by bringing new customers or increasing sales to the existing ones. Such salesman identifies the need of the potential buyers and then work to provide the product or service.
- Order Taker Salesman: The salesman who carries out repeat sales, to build strong relationships with customers. These can be of two types – inside order takers and field order takers. While inside order takers can be found in the sales office who get orders by mail, telephone, etc. field order takers need to visit the target customers and approach them to receive orders.
Wholesalers also appoint their own salesman to sell the goods to retailers. They call the retailers at periodic intervals to book the orders. Further, it is the salesman’s responsibility to check whether all the orders are fulfilled or not. He assists retailers in creating goodwill and developing sales, for clearing the stock with the wholesalers at the earliest.
They must possess a positive and friendly attitude. Their success can be measured on the basis of repeated sales over a long period of time.
The salesman who works for the retailers is called the retailer’s salesman. They either work indoors or outdoors, i.e. on the four walls of the shop, or travel to bring orders. He should possess qualities like good manners, courtesy, awareness, and knowledge about products, attentiveness, guide in product selection, quickness and smartness, etc. They can be:
- Internal Salesman: The work area of these salesmen is limited, i.e. the four walls of the shop. Their work is to sell goods to the ones who visit the shop, over the counter and that is why they are known as a counter salesman. They do not require much training as they meet directly with the customers and not the prospects. He is required to have good knowledge of the stock, prices, products, and selling points. Their work is comparatively easy, as it is the customer who approaches the salesman and so he is an order taker and order executor. They are also known as an indoor salesman.
- External Salesman: Another name for such salesman is outdoor salesman, who perform field job by traveling long distances and approaching a number of customers. They travel frequently and visit clients and bring orders. The salesman needs to be creative enough to convert prospects into buyers. They also carry samples of the products they are offering. Here it is to be noted that only retail houses that operate on a large scale hire an outdoor salesman.
These sell specialty products like furniture, electronic items, expensive durables, automobiles, etc. People buy such items only after their own personal calculated selection, as they are not bought frequently and they also have a high unit cost. And so it requires a specialty salesman who possesses initiative, drive, and obviously good product knowledge. They are manufacturers’ representatives, who produce special products.
Foreign trade is quite difficult due to differences in nationality, trade rules, currency, and above all the market for the product. These salesmen work in the field of export and provide goods to distributors who are located in foreign countries and ensure that the distributors get the goods in a prompt manner.
They take responsibility for the shipment of the goods. Further, they have good knowledge of the import duties, shipping tariffs, consular declaration, freight, and the rules of the foreign countries in which they work.
Creative Salesman work for the creation of demand for the offerings. He is the one who creates a ready market for the product, by developing customers and sales territories. If a company wants to sell its product in a new territory, the creative salesman should perform the necessary groundwork to make the product popular and familiar.
They sell intangibles, i.e. insurance, shares, advertising space, experience, travel arrangements, etc. to the special class people. For this purpose, specialized training is provided to the salesman to convince the customers to try the product.
When the specialty items are used commonly they become staple items. they provide items of necessity like food, textiles, stationery, etc. in bulk quantity. As these items have a ready demand, the salesman does not need to work on creating demand. Moreover, due to the intensive distribution network and a long chain of intermediaries, the work of such a salesman is reduced further. Their area of operation is quite limited, but their job is difficult as they have to sell products in a highly competitive market.
The effectiveness of the salesman is largely dependent on his/her ability to impress customers and hence, the personality of the salesman plays a crucial role.