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Many international salespeople are selling to government agencies, even though private companies may be the biggest buyers of these products and services in the United States. For example, Nokia, a Finnish company that manufactures telephone equipment, sells not only to private companies such as Verizon and AT&T in the United States but also to the post, telephone, and telegraph (PTT) government agencies in many countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Selling to foreign governments is challenging. The percentage of domestic product (countries may require that a certain percentage of the product be manufactured or assembled locally) and exchange rates (the values of local currencies in U.S. dollars) are as important as the characteristics of the product. Different economic and political systems, cultures, and languages also can make international selling difficult. INSTITUTIONS Another important customer group consists of public and private institutions such as churches, hospitals, and colleges. Often these institutions have purchasing rules and procedures that are as complex and rigid as those used by govern- ment agencies. Packaged goods manufacturers, such as Smithfield and Hormel, sell to both resellers (supermarkets) and institutional customers (restaurants and hospitals), often through distributors such as Sysco and Frosty Acres Brands. These cus- tomers have different needs and buying processes. In some instances, institutions purchase more like resellers, worrying about the same needs, such as how fast the product will sell or be consumed. In other ways, institutions can be like producers, concerned with how their clients will view their services. CONSUMERS Consumers purchase products and services for use by themselves or by their families. A lot of salespeople sell insur- ance, automobiles, clothing, and real estate to consumers. However, college graduates often take sales jobs that involve selling to business enterprises, government agencies, or institutions. Thus, the examples in this text focus on these sell- ing situations, and this chapter discusses organizational rather than consumer buying behavior. In the next section we contrast the buying processes of consumers and organizations. Then we describe the buying process that organizations use in more detail, including the steps in the process, who influences the decisions, and how salespeople can influence the decisions. ORGANIZATIONAL BUYING AND SELLING Salespeople who sell to consumers and salespeople who call on organizations have very different jobs. Because the organizational buying process typically is more complex than the consumer buying process, selling to organizations often requires more skills and is more challenging than selling to consumers. Relationships, too, can differ because of the size of the organizations involved. • The Small Business Administration offers a website (www.sba.gov) that educates small businesses on how to sell to governments and also lists sales opportunities specifically available only to small businesses. • beta.SAM.gov is a website that lists all business opportunities greater than $25,000. At any given time, there are over 40,000 open sales opportunities described on this site. 62 CHAPTER 3: Buying Behavior and the Buying Process

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