Personal selling is a face-to-face sales method where a salesman uses their human abilities to convince a consumer to purchase a specific product. The salesperson tries to persuade the consumer that the product will only add value by emphasizing its different qualities. However, the goal of personal selling is not always to convince a client to purchase a product. This strategy is frequently used by businesses to inform clients about new products.
According to the American Marketing Association (AMA). “ It is a personal process of assisting and persuading a prospective customer to buy a commodity or service and to act favorably upon an idea that has a commercial significance.”
The business uses a person-to-person strategy in order to raise awareness of the product. This is due to the fact that selling requires a human touch, and salespeople are better at pitching a product to a potential buyer. There are two primary routes via which personal selling can be done. They are retail channels and direct channels.
In the retail channel, a salesperson deals with prospective consumers who come in by themselves to inquire about a product. The salesperson’s responsibility is to ensure that he fully comprehends the needs of the consumers and displays the numerous products that fall into that category in accordance. Under the direct channel, a salesperson approaches prospective clients in an effort to inform them of a new product that the firm is offering or it may have a new offer that the clients may not receive from the indirect channel.
Nature of Personal Selling
- It is a face-to-face interaction between sellers and prospective buyers.
- It is flexible, customizable and personalized.
- This method has human elements i.e. factors like body language, confidence, tone, tenor, voice etc. impacts the personal selling.
- It is an integral tool for promotion mix.
- Both the sellers and potential buyers get instant response and feedback. Consumers know about the products or services and sellers know if the consumers are willing to buy the products or services.
- Personal selling cultivates mutual and beneficial relationships between buyers and sellers.
Objectives of Personal Selling
The main objective of this selling is to create a personal touch and persuade the customers to buy the products or services through face to face contact. Some of the other objectives of personal selling are given below:
Getting the Potential Clients’ Attention
A salesperson’s primary goal is to grab the interest of customers who might be interested in purchasing the goods he is promoting. Prospecting the potential buyers differs by sales representative and industry, but frequently involve studying past client and market data, networking, getting recommendations, cold calling, and warm calling.
Increasing awareness of a brand or a product
Building awareness of certain products and services based on the sales representative’s understanding of the consumer is another personal selling goal. Prospective customers can receive information from sales representatives in a variety of forms, such as in-person meetings, demonstrations, brochures, sales slicks, and videos.
Fostering interpersonal connections
The long-term goal of personal selling is relationship building in order to reduce client attrition, boost repeat business, and encourage word-of-mouth recommendations. Salespeople must become indispensable to customers in addition to making one-time sales. Personal selling fosters the connection through persuasion and positive reinforcement.
Advantages of Personal Selling
If customers misunderstood the company’s words, it negatively impacts the company’s reputation. The sales team might make the company’s message more clear and provide a better representation of the business through personal selling. The company’s sales and revenue would increase if the sales personnel provided a well-detailed message and helped to improve the image of the company.
Hiring salespeople for individualized selling would pay out in a number of ways, including improved sales, salesmen, and customers. They would assist the business in meeting the sales goals and would enable the business to keep its market share and profitability. In personal selling, client satisfaction is higher.
When sales representatives are able to effectively present and communicate with consumers, they can gain their trust by dispelling any misconceptions, objections, questions, or worries that may arise. Customers’ confidence in the organization would grow as a result of their presentation offers.
If the business gives its salespeople adequate training, they will be able to customize their marketing message for various clients. Their marketing message changes as a result of changes in the problem, objective, and customer type. Therefore, personal selling creates flexibility in the marketing strategies and makes marketing effort effective to the customers.
The immediate feedback that follows the delivery of the company’s promotional message is the primary advantage of personal selling. The salesperson can get immediate feedback from the customers since it is face to face selling and the salesperson can work on the feedback as quickly as possible. However, seasoned sales representatives can tell at the conclusion of every one-on-one face-to-face marketing interaction if the consumer is exhibiting interest or not.
Personal selling is two-way communication, whereas social media and TV advertisements are one-way. When customers ask a salesperson a question, they will provide the necessary information in response. Customers can speak directly with the salesperson and get the salesperson’s opinion if they have any reservations or queries regarding the goods. In any other form of marketing message, it won’t be achievable.
Disadvantages of Personal Selling
However, there are some disadvantages of personal selling which are given below:
Personal selling has a very high turnover rate when it comes to the work of salespeople. When salespeople quit their jobs, they abandon the organization in a remote location. However, the business ends up lacking a representative to respond to client inquiries. When a company hires and trains new employees, it takes a long time and costs high to the company.
The other disadvantages of personal selling is the price of training to the salesperson. Calls and cell phone charges, health insurance, trainee pay, salesman trainer salary, training supplies, meals, hotel stays, and travel costs are just a few of the training expenses that the company has to bear for personal selling. It also includes a large number of fixed and variable charges in addition to these.
Poor perception of salespeople
A poor impression of salespeople is one of the main drawbacks of personal selling. Customers find it annoying when some salespeople use an aggressive tone and others a low one. The negative attitude and behavior of salespeople, however, would cost the business in the shape of reduced sales and a bad reputation.
Cost-per-action is high
Cost-per-action refers to the promotional expenses made by the business to assess the productivity of its staff. The following costs are included in it: telephone, office supplies, travel expenses, entertainment costs, literature for product guides, support materials, bonuses, commissions, salaries, and other payments. Therefore, the cost per action is high under personal selling.