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Sales Strategies | Selling Strategies
Anneke Zwart, Student (University), Netherlands, Moderator
Moghareh and Haghighi (2009) discuss the various selling strategies and how each strategy affects sales performance. The authors mention 3 selling strategies that would have a positive effect on sales performance:
  1. Adaptive: The adaptive selling strategy is referred to as the process of obtaining information about the selling situation and then adapting the sales behavior to the information perceived, so as to create a sales presentation that matches with the desires of the customer.
  2. Customer-oriented: The customer-oriented selling strategy comes from the customer-oriented management philosophy. According to this philosophy companies must seek ways that satisfy their customers’ needs by coordinating a range of activities that permits the company to also achieve its goals. Therefore, the required knowledge and skills that salespersons following such a strategy need are:
    2.1. Effective listening skills to obtain the necessary information about the consumer and his/her needs.
    2.2. Analyzing skills so as to clearly understand customer issues.
    2.3. The skill to effectively adjust their sales to consumers’ needs.
  3. Relational: The relational selling strategy builds on customer-supplier interdependence, exchange of important knowledge, trust between partners, and solid relationships. Salespersons who apply such strategy aim to establish and maintain interactions and interdependency with their customers. This results in a relatively high level of customer information that can be used in their sales process. Besides that, this information can also be shared with managers.
⇒ Do you know of any other Sales Strategies?

Source: Moghareh, G. A. and M. Haghighi (2009) “The Effect of Selling Strategies on Sales Performance” Business Strategy Series Vol. 10 Iss. 5 pp. 266-285

Selling Mantra
Amir Murtaza, Pakistan, Member
A well-known old statement is: “THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT". This statement will push you to go automatically for the above strategies you mention.
Today everyone expects respect and wants to be treated fairly.

One More Selling Strategy: Insight Selling
Micha Hamer, Director, Netherlands, Member
These days I think there always needs to be some kind of customer orientation. Elements of the above strategies can be used complimentary, there is not just 1 truth. You always need to be creative and unique in your approach to create a competitive edge. @Amir Murtaza, I think the customer is not always right. Sometimes they do not know there are options they haven't thought about. Especially when their own markets are changing, customers are open to new ideas from their (potential) suppliers. This is where
4. Insight Selling comes in (for instance as a potential replacement or complementary to 'solution selling)'. You can find a nice article about this on the HBR website. I believe it's called 'The End of Solution Selling'.

Selling Strategies Not Only Based on what the Customer Wants
Arce, Manager, Costa Rica, Member
In my view the best sales strategies are not only based on the customer needs.
It's important to adapt depending on the product or portfolio. And customers are not necessarily always right. They may not know what they need, until the correct product or service is offered or pitched correctly.

Truly Understanding the Customer Requirements
Abdulmotaleb Amara, Libya, Member
I think understanding the customer requirements and the ability to fulfill these requirements are the principles to succeed in sales and in every business.

Selling Strategies Crucial for Negotiation
Velaphi Fisher, Manager, South Africa, Member
We can build several strategies emanating from our interactions with customers and learn new things from them. Any strategy built must be customer-centric and result-driven.
GETTING AS MUCH INFORMATION ABOUT OR FROM THE CUSTOMER is also critical in the process of closing a sale. When you are in the negotiation process you must be able to negotiate to close a sale. The knowledge you gathered earlier on is very important in the arts of selling and negotiating.

Generic / Global Selling Strategies? Impossible..
Ibrahim Rasheed, Director, Maldives, Member
No matter how much we discuss and try to list generic or global selling strategies, it's almost impossible. Because selling ends in buying and buying always happens differently in various communities / regions / countries…
I agree that most important in selling is to understand the buyer. His/her social background, wealth and so on...

Sales Strategies in B2C / B2B
SH Jo, Manager, Korea (South), Member
In case of Business to Customer (B2C), the customer needs are definitely known and satisfied in most markets.
However in Business to Business (B2B) sales environments, a relational selling strategy is very useful for sales representatives. In case the products have similar value (which is often the case), then the relationship is affecting the choice of product/supplier heavily.

The Appropriate Sales Strategy Depends on the Audience
Vince Martin, Manager, United Kingdom, Member
You have to adapt the strategy to the person you are having a conversation with (audience):
- Buyers will not want to be in an interdependent relationship, they will want to meet their goal of driving x% from the purchase ledger.
- R&D may wish to be interdependent as they can garner ideas that way if they respect you.
- Production want something that makes their life easier.
- Marketing want new ideas or trends to hitch a ride upon.
To sell you must first understand the needs of all groups involved.

Customers are more Informed; Customization Strategy
pankaj, student, India, Member
@Amir Murtaza: We can not say that customers are always right but we can truly agree that they have become much better informed and smarter due to large information available to them.
The need of today (for sales reps) is to understand their wants and customize our products accordingly to target segments.

Little Sales Needed in Case of Good Customization Strategy
Rema Viswanathan, Professor, India, Member
Examples of customization can be found in Indian rural markets like the Chotukool fridge, the Kisan Credit Card and the smokeless portable cooking stove. The rural markets of India have become an incubator for many innovative products catering to the unique needs and wants of rural customers that can suitably be adapted to other similar markets.
Selling such customized products happens effortlessly as they are custom-designed for these markets.

Sales Strategies also Depend on the Business Model of the Firm
Laszlo Gal, Analyst, Hungary, Member
Sales strategies in the airline industry depend on the business model of a particular airline.
LCCs (Editor: Low-Cost Carriers) are still using only online tools however new elements (codeshare cooperation) in their strategy are coming up nowadays (like Ryanair).
At the end of the day - whatever tools you use, whatever business model is operated - your unit revenue must be higher than your unit cost. If this is not the case then the whole business process must be checked carefully and steps to execute changes/interaction must be advised.

Customer is KING, not GOD
MUNI DAVE, Business Consultant, India, Member
I have my reservations about CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT (Aamir Murtaza). I would like to adjust with my customer to the extent possible but not with his/her every expectations. For me, Customer is KING, not GOD. You can revolt against King but not against God. 'Customer is always right' philosophy makes customer God. That is not acceptable to me. I have my norms and value system to satisfy my customers, and that give me boundary, extent to which I can satisfy customer. That way I would like to work with selected customers only. That may restricts my growth, but makes my life happier.

One to One Selling Strategy
KOEHL Maryse, Professor, France, Member
Each customer (person) is different (profile, personality, style of life…) and has personal needs. In selling, it is important to take these particularities into account.
Customers do not only search a product when they realize a purchase. In face to face selling for example, customers also look for a personalized 'relation' with the seller. In this case, the seller satisfies this expectation by practicing the one to one selling with professionalism.

Combine Selling Strategy with Marketing Strategy
Regina Maru, Student (University), Kenya, Member
I do not think there is a 'one size fits all' selling strategy.
I believe that selling strategies need to be combined with marketing strategies where a business understands its products and services, its target market which encompasses current and potential customers, its pricing and promotions which may need to be employed, in some cases, concurrently, to meet customers expectations.
For example, in case a business changes its business model to incorporate sustainability in its operations, this may attract or deter customers due to somewhat higher costs. In such case, this business may need to employ some promotion and advertising strategies in order to educate customers on the benefits of sustainability.
Overall, any business needs to communicate to its customers the features of their products/services and how these features would be beneficial to them.

Pareto 80/20 Principle as a Segmentation and Sales Strategy
Victor Chewe, Business Consultant, South Africa, Member
I'd like to suggest the application of Pareto analysis as a Sales Strategy while analyzing the market/customers.
The Pareto principle states that 80% of the problems come from 20% of causes. It is the famous 80/20 rule.
Likewise, after detailed customer analysis one will find that 80% of sales come from 20% of the company's customers. Dissecting customers further using the 80-20 rule will also reveal that the top few are in fact orders of magnitude more effective, impactful and profitable than the bottom dwellers: in some cases as much as 100 times more profitable. This is a another crucial insight which a properly executed Pareto analysis can reveal.
In case of customer segmentation, which is probably the one area where every business, small or large, can see immediate value, the application of the Pareto principle does not stop after you are done segmenting. The real power of the 80/20 rule will become apparent after taking strategic actions based on the insights derived from the 80/20 segmentation.

The Adaptive Selling Approach is Now Best
Marco Moro, Business School Marketer, Bolivia, Member
With the internet the customer-oriented orientation approach is dead, because now if you want truly carry out such approach you need to interrelate with every single prospect/customer and that is costly.
The best approach is the adaptive one where you create the image according to the person's needs and expectations.

Role of Internet in Selling Strategies
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
@Marco Moro: In my view, the internet is being used to support all 3 selling strategies mentioned above. I do not think the customer-oriented approach is dead due to the arrival of the internet and the high costs.
Quite the contrary, in my opinion customer-oriented selling is more alive then ever, because of the ultra-low costs of following such strategy over the internet. Just consider how Facebook and Google are enabling companies to sell to consumers based on the profiles they have aggregated of them over time.

Adaptive Selling Strategy
ARAM NGOMBE, Zambia, Member
It’s important to realize that businesses are there to solve customer problems. This being the case, we in marketing must adapt our products and services to solve those problems.

Role of Internet in Selling Strategies
Marco Moro, Business School Marketer, Bolivia, Member
The problem is that, in my opinion, customer oriented approach is going to become too generic and with the arrival of the new one-to-one media the borders between company and customer have been disappearing.
At the moment, products and/or services tailored to the customer don't exist yet, but the customer expects to find it. I believe that in the long term the consumer will decide the product/service characteristics and the marketing activity of the companies will be substituted with the learning one.

Are there Really Three Sales Strategies?
Maurice Hogarth, Consultant, United Kingdom, Premium Member
The answer is no. I disagree that the brief actually identifies three selling strategies.
Is it possible to ADAPT if you are not CUSTOMER ORIENTATED? If you are not CUSTOMER ORIENTATED can you develop a RELATIONSHIP?
In my opinion, these “three strategies”, in actuality, describe the three stages of the selling strategy.
Assuming there is a requirement for repeat business, the selling organisation must:
3. Establish and maintain, a RELATIONSHIP of interdependence. This will provide for a win-win pay-off.
1. The foundation for this must be that the selling organisation identifies the customers needs [clarifying want from need] and how the selling organisation can best satisfy them, a (genuine) CUSTOMER ORIENTATION.
2. The selling organisation must then ADAPT their sales presentation and working relationship to demonstrate how they will meet and satisfy the customers needs. Thereby establishing a long-term interdependent relationship.
Within this process a variety of tactics etc., will be used to respond to customer ‘personalities’ etc.

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