Lesson Three – Functions and Characteristics Of A Salesman

Functions Of A Salesperson
The functions of a salesperson are many. He/she performs various functions to succeed on his/her duty. The functions include the following:

a. Carrying out sales exhibition and promotion
b. Generating sales orders and supplying them to customers
c. Carrying out market survey for products demand
d. Making sales and collecting the sales proceeds for companies
e. Acting as company’s representatives
f. Giving manufacturer’s necessary advice on their products.

a. Carrying out sales exhibition and promotion
One of the main functions of a salesperson is to carry out sales exhibition and promotion. Salesmen exhibit the products of their companies for both old and prospective customers to see and buy.

A salesman engages in sales promotion to create awareness about a new product to customers. A salesperson moves about or displays the products. For example, he/she moves with product samples, catalogue, fliers, handbills, etc.

A salesperson moves about with these materials and presents them to customers who look through them and make their choices.

b. Generating sales orders and supplying them to customers
Another vital function of a salesperson is to generate sales orders and supply the orders to his/her customers.

A salesperson makes call on customers to collect their requests (orders). These orders are compiled and taken to office for service. A salesman after sorting the orders, supplies them to customers as requested and at the appropriate time and place.

c. Carrying out market survey for products demand
Salesmen also engage in market survey to know the products demanded and to know the reasons for the rejection of some products. Market survey helps producers to know what to do and where to improve on.

It also helps salesmen to know the products that need more promotion for sales. Salesmen carryout market survey for effective planning.

d. Making sales and collecting the sales proceeds for companies
A salesman is saddled with the function of making sales for his/her company.

He/she is also responsible for collecting the proceeds of the sales for the company and remitting them to the appropriate place. Salesmen make sales and generate cash or cheque which is paid into the company’s account.

e. Acting as company representatives
A salesperson is the representative of his/her company. He/she represents the interest of his/her company in the market or on the field. He/she attends to customers’ needs on behalf of the company.

They however act as middlemen between customers and producers of products.

f. Giving manufacturers necessary advice on their products
Salesmen carry out the function of advising producers and manufacturers. They advise them on the demands in the market and which product to produce more. They also advise their customers about goods and stocks.

Characteristics And Qualities Of A Good Salesman
Salesmen have various characteristics and qualities. Some of them include the following:

a. Go-getting
b. Industrious and hardworking
c. Motivational
d. Resourcefulness
e. Friendly
f. Reliable and honest
g. Persuasive
h. Confidence

a. Go-getting
A good salesman is a go-getter. He or she should be able to set targets and achieve them without complaints and excuses. A salesman who does not set goals will not be able to achieve targets.

Such salesman will not be able to perform, satisfy and meet up with his/her company and employer’s demand. Good salesman should be able to set personal goals and pursue them without hindrance and excuse.

b. Industrious and hardworking
A good salesman must be an industrious and hardworking individual. He/she should be able to meet up with many customer’s calls, and provide customers with their demands as at when due. A good salesman must not see his/her job as a stress but rather see it as fun. Successful salespeople are not lazy. They show responsive attitude to work at any time they are called upon.

c. Motivational
Good salesmen must be motivational in nature. They must be able to motivate their customers at all time, especially when the sale is low. Salesmen motivate their customers to stock goods while informing them of the prospect there-in.

d. Resourcefulness
Being resourceful is one of the characteristics and qualities of a salesman. A good salesman must be able to identify customers’ problems and solve them promptly. Customers love to deal with people who will solve their problems. So, a salesman who cannot solve customers’ problems cannot make many sales.

e. Friendly
Good salesmen must be friendly especially to their customers. They must not see their customers as burden on them rather see them as friends who need their assistance.

Friendly salesmen engrave their interest on the hearts of their customers. They see them as family members and explain their feelings to them. They even go to the length of discussing family matters with them. This makes customers trust the sense of judgement of salesmen.

f. Reliable and honest
Good salesmen must be reliable and honest with customers. They must not deceive customers. Salesmen must be trustworthy and honest. They must be people of integrity who are not dubious or fraudulent.

They are entrusted with their company’s goods and money and so must be people of unquestionable character. They must be people whom customers will be able to take by their words.

g. Persuasive
Being persuasive without coercion is one of the qualities of a good salesman. He/she must be a person who can convince customers to buy products. A good salesman creates a compelling event and a soothing language which will spur customers into buying.

h. Confidence
Good salesmen must have enough confidence to confront customers no matter how highly placed without being rude. Salesmen must be able to create confidence about them in their customers.

A good salesman must not shy away from challenges and confrontations. He/she must be able to contain any argument about his/her products with maturity. He/she should also build confidence in his/her customers.

i. Ability to Listen
A good salesperson needs to satisfy a client’s needs. The only way to find out what those are is by listening to what each prospect is saying. The best salespeople aren’t always talking.

j. Empathy
A good salesperson knows how to feel what their customers feel. By getting inside a prospect’s skin, they know just how to sell a product or service. Empathy is a great way to anticipate what a customer wants.

k. Competitiveness
Salespeople who succeed enjoy measuring their skills against their peers. In a word, they’re competitive. They don’t just want to get better at what they do. They want to be better than everyone else.

l. Networking Ability
Good salespeople love to network. They get involved in their community and have many different business relationships. Networking is not so much a part of the job to them but the way they like to spend their time.

m. Confidence
Believing in the product or service they are selling is essential. That comes across as a confidence that’s infectious and makes customers want to buy more.

n. Enthusiasm
A successful salesperson is always motivated. They are always ready to make a sale at any given moment and continually looking for possibilities.

o. Resiliency
Top earners know how to bounce back from a dry spell. They don’t get discouraged when the sales numbers are down. Rather, they look for innovative ways to turn things around.

p. Multitasking Skills
An outstanding salesperson knows how to juggle deals they are trying to close with promising leads. They can even respond to queries through emails and on the phone at the same time. Great multi-taskers make excellent additions to any sales team.

q. Honesty
The folks that are best at selling stuff are also honest. They know that shady deals lead to burned bridges that can multiply and cost a lot more than one client.

r. Adaptability
An outstanding sales representative can go with the flow. Adapting to the client’s schedule and preferences can make all the difference.

s. Communications Skills
There’s no way around having excellent verbal skills if you’re trying to sell people goods and services. People who excel here know how to stay away from jargon and hard to understand concepts.

t. Persistence
Without being rude or pushy, good salespeople know how to get the job done. They know many people face the most challenging obstacle just before they reach their goal. They know how to work through slumping sales numbers.

u. Passion
When a sales representative loves their company, it shows in their pitch. That’s why the most successful salespeople are the best cheerleaders for their small businesses at the same time.

v. Tenacity
Sales is hard work. The people who really succeed don’t wait for customers to come to them. Prospecting takes up a lot of their time.

w. Thoroughness
Sales representatives that position themselves at the top stay in touch with their clients. They send birthday, anniversary and thank you cards. It’s all about looking for new ways to stay in a client’s mind.

x. Understanding of Value
The real superstars in this line of work understand that selling isn’t just about price. They know how to use a value proposition to full advantage.

y. Ambition
Setting goals and achieving them is important in every small business. That’s especially true for the quotas that salespeople work towards.

z. Charm
Charming sales representatives create a good first impressions and open the door to sales. Working on your diction and having a groomed appearance makes a big difference.

The Relationship Of A Salesman To His/Her Environment
Man’s environment is made up of various activities carried out by various people. The success of a person is relied on his/her environment. The environment and the person concerned must relate well to attain success.

Therefore, for a salesman to succeed there must be cordial relationship between him/her and his/her environment. The environment must be friendly while all necessities put in place for a salesman to succeed.

Duties Of A Salesman To Customers, Companies, Government and Public
The duties of salesmen are not limited. They have duties to various people and aspects of the society. Salesmen have duties to the following:

a. Customers
b. Companies
c. Government
d. Public or society

a. The Duties Of Salesmen To Their Customers
Salesmen perform various duties to their customers. Some of these duties include the following:
i. Educating and enlightening
ii. Goods supply

b. Educating and enlightening
It is one of the duties of salesmen to educate and enlighten their customers. Salesmen educate their customers on which goods to stock and on purchase, sales and savings. They educate them on how to manage their customers and goods preservation. Salesmen also owe it as a duty to enlighten their customers on products and how to make use of those products.

c. Goods supply
Another vital duty of salesmen to their customers is to supply them with goods. Salesmen make calls on their customers, collect their orders and requests and supply them when needed. They ensure that customers are not short of goods and that there is no scarcity of goods for their customers.

Duties Of Salesmen To Their Companies
Apart from to their customers, salesmen also perform various duties to their companies. Some of these duties are
i. Making sales
ii. Being dedicated and loyal
iii. Giving information

i. Making sales
One of the main duties of salesmen to their companies is to make sales. Salesmen generate orders and make sales on them. They cover their various sales territories to supply their customers with goods and in-turn generate sales for their companies. Salesmen meet the sales target given to them through the sales they make.

ii. Being dedicated and loyal
Salesmen owe it as a duty to be dedicated and loyal to their companies. They must dedicate their time and pledge their loyalty to their companies (employers).

Salesmen must not do things that negate their pledge and loyalty to their company. All their time and energy should be directed towards their job especially during working hours.

iii. Giving information
Salesmen are expected to give their companies information about what is happening in the market. They should give their companies information about their competitors and what customers demand from them. All matters affecting company sales are related to the company through the salesmen.

Duties Of Salesmen To The Government
Salesmen perform various duties to the government. The duties include the following:
i. Creating employment
ii. Improving the economy
iii. Generating income for the government

i. Creating employment
Salesmanship has helped in creating employment. Salesmen are employed to carry out sales activities. They are either employed by the government, private organizations or self employed. The presence of salesmanship has helped in creating jobs for people thereby helping to reduce the level of unemployment in the society.

ii. Improving the economy
Salesmen help the government in building the economy. They do so through their activities. Salesmen engage in buying and selling and so contribute to the economic growth of a nation.

iii. Generating income for the government
Salesmen help in increasing and generating revenue for the government. Many activities of salesmen help in generating revenue for the government. For example, organizing product exhibitions, rally, pasting of banners and erecting bill boards.

All these media of advertising attract charges which are paid into government purse. Salesmen also pay taxes and dues to the government and to government agencies.

Duties of Salesmen to the Public/Society
Salesmen also have various duties and roles they perform to the public and society. These duties include the following:

i. Providing goods and services
ii. Advising and enlightening the public
iii. Solving the problems of the public

i. Providing goods and services
One of the duties of salesmen to the public is the provision of goods and services. Products and services get to the public and the society at large through the salesmen. They distribute goods and services needed by the public. The public get products from the market where salesmen visit and provide with goods.

ii. Advising and enlightening the public
Advising and enlightening the public is one of the duties of salesmen. Salesmen advise the public on how to make purchasing decisions. They also enlighten them on how to make use of products and which products to go for. The awareness about a product and where it can be found is usually provided by the salesmen.

iii. Solving the problems of the public
Salesmen solve the problems of decision making by the public. They give them talks and lectures on products usage and purchase. Salesmen visit customers (public), listen to their complaints on products and solve their problems.

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