Regardless of the sales context, sales work comprises almost identical phases of trading:
preparation: the company prepares presentation material, such as business cards, brochures and samples, plans time management and studies customer information.
contact: the salesperson opens discussions and charts the customer’s needs.
solution: a solution is suggested for the customer's problem or need and any purchasing doubts are addressed.
offer: the salesperson submits an offer, which can be a standard offer, prepared in advance, or tailor-made to suit the customer in question.
encouragement: in order to secure the purchase decision, the customer can be given time for consideration or promised a free gift, for example.
sales work aftercare: it is important to ensure a smooth delivery and customer satisfaction, such as by conducting a customer satisfaction survey, regardless of whether the sale was concluded.
The obstacles of sales
Obstacles to sale may include regulations that restrict sales, the general corporate atmosphere and the attitudes of the customers.
The customer may present arguments during the sales process that the sales personnel must be prepared to answer. Information may also be obtained from customers by asking questions and reviewing sales situations on which factors are obstacles to successful sales. Based on this information, solutions are sought for removing the obstacles or at least for decreasing their impact.
Organisation of sales
In addition to actual sales work, sales includes:
planning of sales to define sales targets (in euros or units, market share or sales margin), key tasks, sales period, costs, number of offers and reporting
organisation of sales, or ensuring the use of resources and specifying tasks and operating instructions in detail
motivating salespersons, which can be done via training, pay or circulation of duties
monitoring of sales, or reviewing the fulfilment of targets, the quality and quantity of sales staff activities, the number of customer visits and orders, as well as the costs of sales.
Tenders serve the purpose of marketing a company, advancing a sales process and, if no actual sales contracts are concluded, it may remain the sole written proof of the sales price and sales terms. The need to prepare a tender may arise from a customer query or an invitation for tenders, but a company may also prepare tenders for potential customers on its own initiative.
A tender is a contract proposal that binds its sender and usually has a validity period. Before drafting a tender, you must look into all the details of the tender and its preconditions, such as legislation and costs. An explicit tender leaves no room for misunderstandings, and no disputes arise on it later.
Public procurement refers to all purchases made by a public sector entity (the state, municipalities and congregations) outside their own organisation. Procurement may include buying, renting and contracting alike. In procurement by the public sector, the Act on Public Contracts is applied to all purchases with the exception of small purchases. The statutory obligation to put contracts out to tender may also apply to other public authorities if it receives more than half of the value of the procurement through public aid.
If you participate in a public sector tender, you should know the rules that apply to procurement. Invitations to tender should be reviewed carefully and the sources of further information determined. You should also prepare the tender carefully, as even a small error in the tender can lead to rejection.