What is Personal Selling?
Personal selling is a process where a seller makes face-to-face interaction with the buyer, tries to persuade the buyer to accept his idea, products, or services, or any offer, or just to inform the buyer.
In other words, personal selling is the direct communication between buyer and seller about the goods or services’ uses and benefits.
Personal selling is the most effective promotional tool today even it is as old as human civilization. As human is civilization goes on the importance of personal selling is also growing.
Personal selling is one of the most effective components of the promotion mix and marketing communication which is known for the most appropriate means to promote and sell high-priced products. Here the seller can be able to give a detailed explanation of his offers and the customer also gets answered to his questions and doubts at the same time.
It is really an outstanding marketing tool to persuade consumers, build everlasting relationships, understand the desire of customers, earn the trust of customers, and ultimately reach the firm’s objectives by uplifting sales and profit. However, it is expensive and has a limited coverage area as compared to other promotion mix tools.
Process of Personal Selling
Usually, the process of personal selling involves the seven essential steps. A question may arise, how to make personal selling effective and successful?
The answer to this question is the appropriate implementation of the steps of the personal selling process that we are going to discuss below.
The steps involved in process of personal selling can be pointed as,
- Sales Presentation
- Handling Objectives
- Closing the Sale
- Follow Up
The first step to making the personal selling process effective is prospecting. Prospecting means the seller’s attempt to identify, know, and locate potential customers.
In prospecting, generally, the salesperson tries to find the future customers to whom he is going to meet, share information about his offerings, and make them real customers.
For this, the seller can use many means to find the likelihood of customers such as by the objective of selling, the quality of product, people need, people income level, etc. If the seller wants to sell expensive products he may prospect for rich, high-income level, high spending habit customers, and so on.
However, to effectively prospect potential customers the seller may go for cold calling, newspapers, webinars, quality leads, tradeshows, referrals from traders, suppliers, etc.
In the pre-approach step, the seller analyzes the likelihood situations when he is going to meet or make calls to the prospective customers the first time. It is the before visiting the customer activity the salesperson does.
In this step, the seller prepares himself as best he can. For this, he may go take consultant service on how to make the first impression best with potential customers, how to handle & respond to customers requests, etc.
The seller has to decide the best approach to visit his potential customers. In addition, the sellers imagine the likelihood of events and questions that will be asked by customers and do a rehearsal in the room.
After the preparation in the pre-approach stage, the seller physically visits the potential customer in the approach stage. Here, the seller gives and starts first hand to build a relationship with the customer.
The seller and buyer make face to face interaction. The seller makes small talk with the customers and seeks to know about them. The seller tries to understand the need, want, desire, pain, or problems of the customer.
The main objective of the seller in this step is to understand the need and desires of the customers, make customers feel free to share their needs, and finally, the seller goes for to make his sales pitch most attractive.
In the sales presentation step of the personal selling process, the seller gives a presentation on his products and services. It is the step where buyers get to know about the seller’s offers for them.
While presenting and demonstrating his offers the seller tells about the products’ features, benefits, uses, quality, and how that product meets their needs and wants, how such products differ from those of competitors, etc. For a good demonstration, the seller may also use attractive slides, videos, also some samples of that product.
The main objective of the seller in a sales presentation is to make customers know why they should use that product, what potential benefits they will get, what offers the seller has for them ultimately creating a desire for the product.
It is believed that, if all the above steps of the personal selling process go well, the customers will really have the curiosity to know more about the seller’s offer.
As such, in this step, the customers come up with lots of curiosity, questions, and doubts. They have a great desire to seek information about products they will buy.
In simple words, in personal selling, handling objectives means handling the questions of customers. Here, the seller’s objective is to win the trust of customers by answering their queries in the right way so that customers are free from tensions on the selection of products.
Closing The Sale
In closing the sale step, the customers come up to buy a product. It is the step where the seller makes a real sale (s) and the buyer makes a real purchase (s).
Here, the seller finalizes the sales deals with the customers and the potential customers here become the real ones. While finalizing the sales deals, there may be product’s price and payment process will be negotiated.
The last step of the personal selling process is follow-up. Personal selling is not a one-time process rather it is a long-term, everlasting relationship-building process.
In follow-up, when a sale is made, the seller tries to make a contact again with the buyer to know the sold product really meets the buyer’s expectations or not, to ensure the long-term bond and make re-purchases.
To make the follow-up step more effective, the seller may also try to give after-sales services to the customers and effective follow-up also is an important step and has a bright potentiality to know and increase performance and business of the salesperson.
Personal selling hence is a very effective way of promoting all types of products individually to the customers. It tries to convert the potential customers into real customers. And, the steps personal selling consists of are a very effective way to know potential customers, make their real ones, make sales, and increase the profit of the firm.