A really good salesperson can master all five stages of the selling process, with the minimum of sales aids, just by creating verbal images. However, it is not easy; it needs training and that is why DSOs are keen to make available as many sales aids as they can, to help de-skill the selling process. No DSO should ever imply that achieving a sale is the automatic outcome of making a product available to a prospective customer – no matter how attractive and well priced it may be.
In this context, deskilling means providing those tools and well-tested advice that have been proved to simplify greatly the selling process. This is particularly important where a DSO relies on part-time salespeople, where a high turnover of those salespeople is inevitable and where time and cost restraints mean that the opportunities for comprehensive training in personal selling skills are limited.
As we shall in the next chapter, with some products the opportunity to gain conviction by demonstrating the product on offer, or simply giving a personal testimonial, is the key to making a sale. It is rarely done in conventional retail outlets and impossible in direct mail. However, with many low-cost products, demonstration is not necessary, so where is the edge that a DSO has over direct marketing?
The answer, very often, is in the very first in the selling process – gaining attention. The neighbour, with an invitation to read it at their leisure, is more likely to find that it is studied than a mailing piece delivered by post – particularly if the direct seller says that he or she will be calling back to collect the catalogue.
In practice, for this method to be effective it does not even require that the direct seller should speak to the prospective customer at the time they leave a catalogue . Some DSOs find that a more effective technique is to leave the catalogue, possibly opened at a page of likely interest. Attached would be a handwritten note from the direct seller, saying that he or she will be calling back on a specific day – usually in one or two days time.
Reference: Direct Selling: Richard Berry