Procreator: creates a unique offering to match the buyer's needs as mutually specified, involving any or all aspects of the seller's total marketing mix.

Mutually defined; matched with tailored offering


Focused; growing in breadth of market and service offerings

Materials handling equipment salespeople who design and sell a system to fit a buyer's manufacturing facility

4. Problem-solver stage. Selling involves obtaining the participation of buyers to identify their problems, which can be translated into needs, and then presenting a selection from the supplier's offerings that corresponds with those needs and can solve those problems.

5. Procreator stage. Selling defines the buyer's problems or needs and their solutions through active buyer-seller collaboration and then creates a market offering uniquely tailored to the customer.

According to Wotruba, firms evolving through these five stages have to assume different market orientations, as well as different organizational designs, staffing, and compensation programs. The different stages require different promotional strategies, each integrated with personal selling to achieve the maximum communications effect.

The New Role of Personal Selling As previously noted, the business world is going through a very rapid transition as (1) individuals and corporations gain more knowledge and economic power, (2) value is replacing efficiency, and (3) industry boundaries are changing—for example, competitors are joining forces to achieve more buying power.6 As a result, the role of the sales force will also significantly change, according to Kevin Hoffberg and Kevin Corcoran. Along with retaining their traditional roles, described by Wotruba, salespeople will have to acquire new roles to remain effective. That is, in addition to being information providers, influencers through proximity (i.e., through personal contact), and demonstrators, salespeople will engage in:

• Surveying—educating themselves more about their customers' businesses and regularly assessing these businesses and their customers to achieve a position of knowledgeable authority.

• Mapmaking—outlining both an account strategy and a solutions strategy (for the customer). This means laying out a plan, discussing it with the customer, and revising it as changes require.

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