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Selling is considered an art by some and a science by others and has produced two
contrasting approaches to the theory oI selling. The Iirst approach distilled the
experiences oI successIul salespeople and to a lesser extent, advertising
proIessionals. Many such persons succeeded because oI their grasp oI practical, or
learned through experience psychology and their ability to apply it in sales
situations. These selling theories emphasize the 'what to do¨ and 'how to do¨
rather than the 'why¨. These theories, based on experiential knowledge
accumulated Irom years oI 'living in the market¨ rather than on a systematic,
Iundamental body oI knowledge.
The second approach borrowed Iindings Irom the behavioral sciences. John
A. Howard oI Columbia Graduate School oI Business was in the IoreIront oI those
who adapted the Iindings oI behavioral science to analysis oI buying behavior; his
'behavioral equation¨ attempts to develop a uniIied theory oI buying and selling.
There are Iour theories, the Iirst two, the 'AIDAS¨ theory and the 'right set
oI circumstances¨ theory, are seller oriented. The third, the 'buying Iormula¨
theory oI selling, is buyer oriented. The Iourth, the behavioral equation,
emphasizes the buyer`s decision process but also takes the salesperson`s inIluence
process into account.
(1) AIDAS Theory of Selling
The theory- popularly known as the AIDAS theory, aIter initials oI the Iive words
express it (attention, interest, desire, action and satisIaction) is the basis Ior many
sales training programs are organized. According to the theory, the prospect`s mind
passes through Iive successive mental states: attention, interest, desire, action, and
satisIaction so the sales presentation must lead the prospect through them in the
right sequence iI a sale is to result.
The psychological writings oI William James support this theory. Its construct is
based upon experimental knowledge. It was in existence as early as 1898.
According to this theory during the successful selling interview the prospect's
mind consciously passes through five successive mental states : attention,
interest, desire, action and satisfaction. The sales presentation must lead the
prospect through steps in the right sequence if a sale is to result.
(i) Securing attention:
In order to put the prospect into a receptive state oI mind, the Iirst Iew minutes oI
the interview are crucial. The sales person has to have a reason, or an excuse Ior
conducting the interview.
II he has previously made an appointment, this phase presents no problem, though
experienced sales personnel say that even with an appointment, a sales person must
possess considerable mental alertness; and be a skilled conversationalist, to survive
the start oI the interview. As the prospect realizes the caller is bent on selling
something, the sales person must establish good support at once. He needs an
ample supply oI "Conversation Openness". Among other things, Iavorable Iirst
impressions are assured proper attire, neatness, Iriendliness, amid a genuine smile
just beIore the interview. Skill sales personnel oIten decide up on conversation
openness so that those remarks are about the prospects iI they are Iavorable
comments about the prospect's business. A good conversation opens causes the
prospect to relax and sets the stage Ior total presentation.
(ii) Gaining Interest:
Many techniques are used to intensiIy the prospect's attention so that it evolves
into strong interest. Some sales people develop contagious enthusiasm Ior the
product or a sample. Sales portfolios, flip charts, or other visual aids serve the
same purpose when the product is bulky or technical.
One should search out the selling appeal that is most likely to be eIIective.
Sometimes the prospect drops hints, which the sales person then uses in selecting
the best approach. Some sales person stratagems to elicit revealing questions to
encourage hints by the prospects. Others are the prospect question designed to
clariIy attitudes and Ieelings towards the product. Bug beIore identiIying the
strongest appeal even experienced sale person do considerable probing, usually oI
the question - and - answer variety. The prospect's interests are affected by
basic motivations, closeness of the interview subject to the current problems,
its timeliness, and their receptive, skeptical or hostile mood. In selecting the
appeal to emphasize the sales person must take all these into account.
(iii) Kindling Desire:
The sales person must keep the conversation running along the main line toward
the sale to kindle the prospect's desire to ready - to - buy point. The development oI
sales obstacles the prospects objections, external interruptions, and digressive
remarks may sidetrack the presentation during this phase. Obstacles must be Iaced
and ways Iound to get around them. Objections need answering to the prospects
satisIaction. Time is saved, and the chance oI making a sale improved iI objections
are anticipated and answered beIore the prospects raises them. Good sales people
summarize what has been said earlier beIore continuing. Digressive should be
disposed oI Iact Iully, with Iinesse, but sometimes distracting depression is best
handled bluntly Ior example " well: that's all very interesting but to get back to the
(iv) Inducting Action:
II the presentation has been perIect, the prospect is ready to buy. However, buying
must be induced. Experienced sales personnel do not close until the prospect is
Iully convinced oI the merits oI the proposition. The trial close, the close on a
minor point, and the trick close are used to test the prospect's Iree action. For Iear
oI getting "No" Irom which they think there is no retreat some sales personnel
never ask Ior deIinite "yes" or "No¨. But it is better to ask Ior the order straight
(v) Building Satisfaction:
The sales person should reassure the customer that his buying decision is correct
and that sales person merely helped in deciding. The order is the climax oI the
selling situation. Building satisIaction means thanking the customer Ior the order,
and attending to such matter as making certain that the order is Iilled as written,
and Iollowing upon promises made.
Securing attention Telling about RO water puriIier and its quality to puriIy
Gaining Interest by showing Ilipcharts, presentations and brochures and also
Iocusing on purity and health oI the Iamily members.
Kindling Desire to make them use the RO water puriIier Ior their use
Induction consumer purchase the product due to its eIIectiveness in providing
pure and germ Iree water
Building Satisfaction appreciate the customer by saying that he has made the
good purchase by relating its health Iactor .
RIGHT SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES THEORY :
This theory sometimes is also called 'Situation Response theory¨, had its
psychological origin in experiments with animals and holds that the particular
circumstances prevailing in a given selling situation cause the prospect to respond
in a predictable way. II the sales person succeeds in securing the attention and
gaining the interest oI the prospect, and iI the salesperson presents the proper
stimuli or appeals, the desired response will result.
Furthermore the more skilled the salesperson is in handling the set oI
circumstances, the more predictable is the response. The set oI circumstances
includes Iactors external and internal to the prospect. To use a simpliIied example,
Suppose a salesperson sales to the prospect, 'Let`s go out Ior lunch¨. The
salesperson and the remarks are the external Iactors. But at least 4 Iactors internal
to the prospect aIIect the response. These are the presence or the absence oI desires
(1) First to go out Ior lunch
(2) To have it now
(3) To go out
(4) To go out with salesperson
Proponents oI this theory tend to stress external Iactors and at the expense oI
internal Iactors. They seek selling appeals that evoke desired responses. Sales
personnel who try to apply the theory experience diIIiculty traceable to internal
Iactors in many selling situations, but the internal Iactors are not readily
manipulated. This is a seller oriented theory: it stresses the importance oI the
salesperson controlling the situation, does not handle the problem oI inIluencing
the Iactors internal to the prospect, and Iails to assign appropriate weight to the
response side oI the situation response interaction.
Suppose you provide a Paying guest accommodation as well as provide TiIIin
services to those living in PG as well as to others and charge Ior it.
(3) ~Buying Formula¨ theory of selling :
This theory emphasizes the buyer`s side oI the buyer`s seller dyad. The buyers
need or problem receives major attention and the sales person role is to help buyer
Iind solutions. This theory purports: what thinking process goes on mind that
causes the decision to buy or not to buy?
The buying Iormula is a schematic representation oI a group oI responses arranged
in a psychological sequence .The Iormula theory emphasizes the prospects
responses and deemphasizes the external Iactors ,on the assumption that the
salesperson, being naturally conscious oI the external Iactors will not overlook
The mental involved in the purchase are
Need solution purchase
Because the outcome oI the purchase aIIects the chance that a continuing relation
will develop between the buyer and the seller and because nearly all sales
organizations are interested in continuing relationship. It is necessary to add a
Iourth element the Iourth elements then are
Need solution purchase satisIaction
Whenever a need is Ielt or problem recognized, the individual is conscious oI a
deIiciency oI satisIaction. When deIinite buying habit has been established the
buying Iormula is
Need product service and or trade name purchase satisIaction/
To ensure purchase the product or service and the trade name must be considered
adequate, and the buyer must experience a Ieeling oI anticipated satisIaction when
thinking oI the product and service and the trade name. In many cases, an item
viewed as adequate is also liked, and vice versa, but this is not always so. Some
products and services that are quite adequate are not liked and bought that are
admittedly not as good as competing items. Similar reasoning applies to trade
names. Some sources oI supply are both adequate and liked, others are adequate
but not liked, and still others are liked but patronized even though they are
inadequate to competing sources.
With adequacy and pleasant Ieelings included, the buying Iormula becomes
Need product and/ or trade name purchase satisIaction
Pleasant Ieelings Pleasant Ieelings
When a buying habit is being established, the buyer should know why product or
service is an adequate solution to the need or problem, and why trade name is the
best name to buy. The buyers must also have a pleasant Ieeling toward the product
or service and the trade name.
Then, whenever the buyer`s habit is challenged by a Iriend`s mark, a competing
salesperson`s presentation, or a competitor`s advertisement, the buyer needs
reasons to deIend the purchase, and, in addition, he or she needs a pleasant Ieeling
toward both the product or service and the trade name.
The primary elements in a well established buying habit are those connected by
solid lines, on the central line oI the Iormula. Most purchases are made with
scarcely a thought as to why, and with a minimum oI Ieeling. And it should be the
constant aim oI the sales person and advertiser to Iorm such direct associations.
Reasons (adequacy oI solution) and pleasant Ieelings constitute the elements oI
deIense in the buying habit. As long as they are present, repeat buying occurs.
The answer to each selling problem is implied in the buying Iormula, and
diIIerences among answers are diIIerences in emphasis upon the elements in the
Iormula. It may be said that
(1)II the prospect does not Ieel a need or recognize a problem that can be satisIied
by the product or service, the need or problem should be emphasized.
(2)II the prospect does not think oI the product or service when he or she Ieels the
need or recognizes the problem, the association between need or problem and
product or service should be emphasized.
(3)II the prospect does not think oI the trade name when he or she thinks oI the
product or service, the association between the product or service or trade name
should be emphasized.
(4)II need or problem, product or service and trade name are well associative,
emphasis should be put upon Iacilitating purchase and use.
(5)II competition is Ielt, emphasis should be put upon establishing in the prospects`
minds the adequacy oI the trade name product or service, and pleasant Ieelings
Suppose a salesperson goes to a lady and wants to sell a water puriIier. He will tell
about the eIIectiveness oI the puriIier in cleaning water and making it purer and
saIer. He will place the water puriIier as the solution Ior pure and germ Iree water.
When the lady purchases the water puriIier it depends on her whether she gets
satisIied or not. It is not possible that the water puriIier provides the same
adequacy and pleasant Ieeling to all. The water puriIier may give adequate and
pleasant Ieeling and the lady may purchase it and it will provide her satisIaction.
There may be other products in the market that can provide more adequacy and
(4) Behavioral Equation Theory:
Using stimuli response model, this theory has developed. Four essential elements
required in learning process to explain buying behavior and purchasing decision
Drive a strong internal stimulus that impel the buyer`s response
(i) Innate drive (psychological)
Learned drive (status/social)
For example: innate drive you are hungry
Learned drive you want to have burger
Cues Weak stimuli when the buyer`s respond
(i)Triggering cue activates decision process Ior a given product and evokes you
to buy a product. For example : you are hungry and want to have burger
(ii) Non triggering cue inIluences the decision process but not activate. It can
be oI two types Ior the product which helps to make opinion Ior decision process
and the inIormation which you get Irom advertisements, sales promotion etc.
For example :You believe Mcdonalds provides the cheap and the best burger with
quickest service time.
(iii) SpeciIic product / inIormation also Iunctions as triggering cue. For example
special oIIers/discounts on cold drink and French Iries with the burger.
Response: What buyer does?
Example buyer can purchase or not
ReinIorcement event that strengthens buyer`s tendency oI response.
Example: convenience, time saving and money Iactor also.
P÷ Predisposition/ inward response tendency habit
D÷ Present drive level
K÷ incentive potential i.e. value, product/potential satisIaction oI the buyer
Example iI predisposition is positive then automatically K is active
V÷ intensity oI all customer
Example here P and K is positive the customer are more loyal towards the products
and sales increases.
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