Stimulas response theory of selling


This method or sales under his theory is possible under certain circumstances. They can be i) Superior quality of the products under a well known brand name needed by many house holds. For example ‘Sadhu’ brand Basmati rice ii) Familiarity or confidence in the sales person iii) Incentives offered by the firm selling the products etc. We have given in detail about the theory and its applications in the ensuing paragraphs.

The stimulus response theory states that if the salesperson uses the right stimulus of an appropriate strength, the prospect will respond the way the salesperson wants him to—in this case buy the product. Some of the stimuli that the salesperson has a control over are:

1. Self-Physical appearance, mannerism, tone of the voice or modulating the voice and interpersonal skills exhibited by the salesperson.
2. Price concessions: A salesperson have limited discretions to give price concessions to the most promising and large prospects.
3. Announcement of price changes: Salespeople can choose their timing to announce changes in the price.
4. Preferential treatment to important customers like those who buy in large volumes, make on time payment and are willing to help the salesperson in liquidating his stocks.

This theory presumes a passive role of the prospect in the entire selling process. Like a robot, the prospect will follow the salesperson.

Unfortunately in most cases this doesn’t work. In situations where it does work, it more often leaves the customer in a state of post-purchase dissonance. That’s because the customer is not convinced. May be at a particular moment of weakness, the customer gave in to the salesperson, or the customer who conned in buying from the salesperson.

This theory works in organizations which have a selling orientation and believe in pushing the sale at all costs.

The stimulus response theory saw firms emphasizing the physical appearance of the salesperson and his or her conversational skills. It also saw firms giving leverage to their salespeople to finalize the order at any cost. Hence, there have been examples where the salespeople made the sale for the firm but it was unprofitable. For, they lowered their prices or allowed extended period of credit to the prospect which had a negative effect on the firm’s bottom line.

Further, as markets become competitive, the thrust will be on relationship management. More and more salespeople will need to have both internal and external focus, if he or she has to be a change agent in the territory. Internally, it’s the sales person who provides relevant information to all departments and coordinates with them in order to ensure high customer satisfaction.

In the stimulus response theory, the principal contact of salesperson in buying organization is the purchase department.

Under this theory there is also a possibility of he sales person offering all sorts of concessions to pursue the customer to change the current product the consumer is using and later on gradually reducing the discounts. Here the sales person takes a chance. If the customer likes their product then he or she may continue to buy he product irrespective of withdrawal of discounts or incentives and can be loyal customer. Otherwise the customer may revert back to his old brand.