How to sell when limited by ethics

Whichever tactic the seller deploys it requires that they insert themselves in the buyer’s business. 

Looking at marketing purely as give-aways or advertising is limiting, even idle. Usually, sellers compete on one or a combination of what are called marketing P’s. That is, product quantity or quality, price friendliness, promotion (marketing), processes being user-friendly, people (competent staff) or place (where services can be accessed). Sometimes though, a seller is constrained on freely playing about with these P’s because of ethics or it is not sustainable.

When pricing or ethics limit the negotiation potential, try wooing instead. Take medical representatives (commonly referred to as med reps) who’s job is to ‘sell’ their drugs to doctors; or, bank relationship managers (RMs) whose job is to seek institutions with access to large sums of money and convince them to deposit the funds with them; such institutions could be churches with funds from members’ collections or non-governmental organizations, donor funds.

Bound by ethics, med reps are limited to sharing information as a way of selling; which is why detailing (which is what selling to doctors is called) is commonly referred to as missionary selling. Yes, they can use promotion as a sales gambit and they do. Only problem is many limit themselves to branded give-aways. And the problem with this is that it becomes a competition with some doctors objecting to the sale with, “Is this the pen you brought me? Let me show you what your competitor gave me.”  When the competition is a multinational pharmaceutical powerhouse and your firm is barely a blip on the industry radar, this statement shrinks you further.  

As for the RM, limited by cost of funds (meaning how much it the bank can afford to give as interest) he would be unwise to negotiate via a price war. For these sellers and their kind, wooing works. And, yes, wooing is a form of promotion, only those that do if effectively do not limit themselves to branded give-aways. There’s a bank RM for instance that was known by her clients for her cakes to celebrate every small milestone the client made. Yet another is willingly accessible to donors despite of the sometimes wildly different time zones.  Whichever tactic the seller deploys it requires that they insert themselves in the buyer’s business. 

This is the same with the progressive med rep. In addition to giving birthday cards, there’s one who makes the PowerPoint slides for any presentation the doctor (potential ‘buyer’) is making to fellow doctors;  in other words he ‘promotes’ himself by seeking  opportunities to make the doctors hectic life easier. You see, he knows that the doctor, any any time, has five or more medreps itching to pitch him; he also knows that he can only inform the doctor of his drugs that many times before he becomes an irritant because he is repeating himself.

So he removes himself from this insensible frenzy and wisely inserts himself in the doctor’s life with the intention of lightening his work load. 

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