New York, is a manufacturer of plastic components. The company is noted for producing high-quality products. Its sales-force calls on large accounts, such as refrigerator manufacturers who might need large quantities of custom-made products, such as door liners. Recent increases in new-home sales over the past several years have fueled refrigerator sales and, subsequently, sales at Plastics. Moreover, federal regulations requiring that dishwasher liners be made of lactic, rather than porcelain, have enhanced Plastic’s sales.
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Current Situation Sharon Stone had recently been assigned to the Central Michigan territory. Although this was her first sales Job, she felt confident and was eager to begin. She had taken a sales course in college and had just completed the company’s training program. The company stressed the use of an organized sales presentation in which the salesperson organizes the key points Into a planned sequence that allows for adaptive behavior by the salesperson as the presentation progresses. She was milliamp with this approach because she had studied it in her college sales course.
Sharon first call was at a small refrigerator manufacturer In Ann Arbor, She had called the day before to set up an appointment with materials purchasing manager David Kline at 9:00 A. M. On the morning of her meeting, Sharon was running behind schedule because of an alarm clock malfunction. As a result, she ended up In traffic she did not anticipate and did not arrive for her appointment until 9:10 A. M. When she informed the receptionist she had an appointment with David Kline, she was told e was In another meeting.
He did agree, however, to see Sharon when his meeting was finished, which would be about 9:45 A. M. Sharon was upset Kline would not wait 10 minutes for her and let the receptionist know it. At 9:50 A. M. Sharon was Introducing herself to Kline. She noticed his office was filled with university of Michigan memorabilia. She remembered from her training that the first thing to do was build rapport with the prospect. Thus she asked Kline if he went to the university of Michigan. Thisgot the ball rolling quickly.
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Kline had graduated from Michigan and was a big fan of the basketball and football teams. He was more than happy to talk about them. Sharon was excited; she knew this would help her build rapport. After about 25 minutes of football and basketball chitchat,Sharon figured It was time to get down to business. After finally getting Kline off the subject of sports, Sharon began to discuss the benefits of her product. She figured if she did not control the conversation Kline would revert to discussing sports.
She went on and on about the material impounds comprising Plastics plastics, as well as the processes used to develop plastic liners. She explained the customizing process, the product’s durability, Plastic’s ability to provide door liners in any color, and her company’s return and credit policies. After nearly 25 minutes, she finally asked Kline If he had any questions. Kline asked her if she had any product samples with her. Sharon had to apologize- in all the confusion this morning she ran off and left the samples at home.
Knowing quick turnaround was important to Kline, and feeling this prospect may be lapping away, she told him it was about four weeks, although she knew it was really closer to five. However, she thought, if Kline ordered from them and it took a little longer, she could always blame it on production. When the issue of price emerged, Sharon was not able to clearly Justify in Saline’s mind why Plastics was slightly higher than the competition. She thought that she had clearly explained the benefits of the product and that it should be obvious that Plastics is a better choice.
Finally, Kline told Sharon he would have to excuse himself. He had a meeting to attend on the other side of town. He thanked her for coming by and told her he would consider her offer. Sharon thanked Kline for his time and departed. As she reflected on her first call she wondered where she went wrong. She thought she would Jot down some notes about her call to discuss with her sales manager later. Questions 1 . What problems do you see with Sharon first sales call? 2. If you were Sharon sales manager, what would you recommend she do to improve her chances of succeeding?See More on Sales