Personal Selling: Its Types, Importance and Objectives

Personal Selling

Personal selling is very important part of promotion mix. It is the eldest media of sales promotion. Although being old, this is the most popular media for sales promotion. So, all the organizations mostly use this media for sales promotion. Personal selling is, however, costlier than other factors of promotion mix. The task of convincing and
persuading customers to buy products through personal contacting or face to face talks is called personal selling. In other words, the task of having direct contact and talks with the customers and encouraging them, assuring, giving confidence, etc. to buy product is personal selling.

The customers themselves may also come to the sales centers. Just the opposite, the seller may go to the customers' houses or offices. Demand should be created at the meeting/talks with the customers. The seller should also be able to convince the customers. As there takes place a dialogue between seller and customers, wrong concept of them towards the company/firm, if any, should be cleared off their mind. Besides, face to face talks between possible buyers, telephone talks, fax, e-mail, Internet etc. also become effective media in personal selling.

To be much clearer about personal selling, definitions of different writers and experts have been given as follows:
Prof. William J. Stanton has defined personal selling as, "Personal selling is the personal communication of information to persuade a prospective customers to buy a service or idea."
American Marketing Association has defined it as, "Personal selling is an oral presentation in a conservative with one or more prospective customers for the purpose of making sales."
Prof. Philip Kotler has defined personal selling as, "Personal selling is face to face interaction with one or more prospective purchasers for the purpose of making presentation, answering questions, and procuring orders."
The above mentioned definitions also make it clear that personal selling is the process of face to face talks and of persuading the customers to buy products, and as a result, receiving/procuring purchase order from prospective buyers. Personal selling is compulsory for the heavy machines and technical equipment including special products. In personal selling, the seller makes customers know about quality, utility, price, features etc. of the product. Similarly, the personal seller quenches the curiosity of the customers by giving logical and convincing answers to their questions. So, the need of personal selling is felt every time. In short, personal selling should be understood as the subject endowed with the following qualities and features.

1. Persuasion

In personal selling the prospective customers are reassured. Personal seller stimulates the prospective customers to buy products.

2. Personal communication

Personal interactions may take place between customers and seller. Talks may also be held through telephone, fax, e-mail, Internet etc. Such exchange of information is called personal selling.

3. Selling process

Effective and goal seller should adopt certain process of selling goods. Indoor seller should complete the process such as drawing attention of the customers, politely welcoming, inquiring, presenting goods, solving customers' doubts, help them in selecting goods, giving chances for selection, selling additional goods and seeing off with respect. Outdoor sellers should complete the process such as prospecting, making pre-approach, and approach, display of product meeting objectives, close the sale and follow up about the goods or services.

Objectives of Personal Selling

Personal selling provides information to prospective customers about goods or services. In order to attract them towards ones' own goods or services, personal seller presents confidential as well as strong logics. Besides this, the personal seller gives convincing answers to the questions put forth by the customers and explains the quality, features, price, utility and importance of the goods to the prospective customers. Any curiosity, if expressed by the customers, is satisfactorily answered. The significance and objectives of personal selling are as follows:

1. Awareness of need

Personal sellers reach target markets for selling goods. They give detail information and explain clearly the feature, quality, price, utility, importance of the goods to the prospective customers and conduct different activities for persuading them to buy. Such activities, information and programs make customers feel need of the goods or services. As a result, they may take decision to buy the products/goods.

2. Solution of the problem

Seller reaches targeted markets, gives information to the prospective customers about the goods or services intended to sell. If necessary, product is also presented among them. After the presentation, the customers may raise problems about the goods. At that time the seller clearly, sincerely and convincingly gives answers with evidence about the way of solving the possible problems. For such activities, the sellers should present true and dependable records of the company. So, one of the main objectives of personal selling is to solve any problems if arise while using the products.

3. Persuading the customers

The targeted customers should be fully assured by the personal sale. The personal sellers should provide clear information about quality, features, price, utility, using methods etc. of the product to the customers. The possible customers should be converted to real customers from such information. So, personal selling aims to reassure all the customers about the product.

4. Two-way communication

The seller keeps direct contact with the customers of target market. In this way, the sellers and buyers may meet and have talks. In this way, while providing information, the sellers can also get some information about goods or services as a feedback. Two-way communication becomes possible between sellers and buyers through meeting, sales talks, sales display, public contact etc. This helps the company to form new market strategy. So, personal selling makes the two-way communication objective, which becomes beneficial to both sides.

Types of personal selling

Personal selling is very effective sale function. Such sale can also be done with different methods. It does not only make two-way communication about goods or services but also educates the customers. There are different types of sale function as mentioned below:

1. Indoor personal selling

The seller who sells goods or services living at certain place is called indoor seller. Such seller tries to sell his goods or services to different customers by establishing living contact with them. Different types of customers enter the shop to buy various goods or different qualities. So, they should be impressed by attractive activities and they should make them buy the goods or services immediately. So, this function is very difficult and challenging. Special attention should be paid towards selling goods to the customers by identifying their needs and interest.

2. Outdoor personal selling

Identifying customers and by walking in different geographical regions and selling goods to them is called outdoor personal selling. Customers should be sought reaching several market segments. Such sellers should be clever, smiling, and smart and be able to establish relation with people. Besides, the seller should be able to make feel necessity of the goods, propagate new products and create demand of the goods. The customers should be able to get information about the quality, features, price, utility benefits etc. and procure purchase order and make arrangement for sale of goods. As such seller can have direct communication and contact with customers, any problem arisen should be promptly solved.

3. Sales representative

Big business forms or companies appoint their sales representatives to sell their products. Big firms/companies select clever sellers, who are experienced, educated, and able to establish public relation efficient in business dealings, as their representatives. Such capable sales representatives can sell goods or services to different markets giving full satisfaction to the customers. Mostly manufacturers' sales representatives, wholesalers' sales representatives, retailers' sales representatives can be involve in selling. Such representatives are appointed to sell new goods, industrial goods and consumers' goods.

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