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Personal selling can be defined as an oral presentation in conversation with one or more prospective customers for the purpose of making sales. It is the most important ingredients in the promotion mix. In personal selling, a salesman can pinpoint the prospect and actual demonstration of the product can be made through two –way communication. Personal selling has a permanent place in promotion and distribution. Personal selling searches for customers offers for sale, create confidences and execute sales through different activities.
According to W.J. Stanton, “Personal selling consists of individual, personal communication, in contrast to the mass impersonal communication of advertising, sales promotion, and other promotional tools.”
According to Philip Kotler, “Personal selling is a broader concept and involves oral presentation in a conversation with one or more prospective purchasers for the purpose of making sales.”
Personal selling is an important element of promotion mix and an effective promotional tool.The importance of personal selling can be shown briefly below:
Personal selling is important as a flexible message. It involves individual and personal communication as compared to the mass and impersonal communication of advertising and sales promotion. Therefore, personal selling is most flexible in operation.He can observe the customer’s reaction to a particular sales approach and thus makes necessary adjustments right on the spot. Face- to –face contacts with customers is the most effective means of communication.
Personal selling helps in minimum wastage of the goods.In personal selling, a salesman can select the target market and concentrate on the customers. He need not communicate with the people. Therefore, personal selling involves minimum wastage of effort.
Personal selling helps in the effective sales of products. Personal selling in most cases leads to an actual sale. A salesman can find potential buyers, demonstrate the product, explain its operation, and convince customers to buy it or install it at the customer’s place and provide after sale service.Therefore, personal selling does the entire job of selling. It is a complete promotional technique of keeping customers satisfied.
Personal selling helps in the immediate feedback of the products in the market.It involves a two-way flow of communication between the buyer and the seller. It is a useful method of understanding the needs and behavior of customers. It provides knowledge about the tastes, habits, and attitudes of the customers.
Personal selling also acts as a complement to advertising.In most situations, there is a need for explaining the quality uses and price of the product. Advertising attracts customers but their doubts and questions about the product are answered by salesmen. In this way, personal selling supports advertising. Salesmen educate the consumers about new products and about new uses of existing products.
Personal selling helps to educate the consumers about the products.Salesmanship is not simply a tool of convincing people to buy certain products. It assists customers in satisfying their wants. A salesman provides information, education, and guidance to customers. He handles their complaints and assists them in getting value for their money. It is important to educate the consumers about the product.
Personal selling also creates employment opportunity to the people.It helps to increase aggregate sales and production in the country thereby increasing employment opportunities. They help to maintain equilibrium between demand and supply.
In business and industry, the following types of salespersons are widely used:
A manufacturer’s salesman is that type of salesman whose job is to sell products either directly to the consumers or to the wholesale or retailers. He may be a “pioneer salesman”, merchandising salesman or a ‘dealer servicing salesman’. A manufacturers salesman is engaged in creating and cultivating outlets for a new product.
Pioneer salesman are also known as a creative salesman. They are employed by manufacturers and do the work of missionary nature. They create demand for the products. They usually develop goodwill. They call on distributors – wholesalers, retailers, professional customers, in order to promote the products.
Merchandising salesman is the salesman who gives suggestions on display, store- layout, service layout, service facility, etc. They arrange wide publicity and conduct demonstration for dealer salesmen by working along with them. They are largely involved in drugs, medicines, grocery, etc.
Dealer salesman is that salesman who calls on retailers in their territory and visits them often. They bring samples of new products, take orders and organize window display.
The wholesaler’s salesman are the salesman who calls on retail dealers at regular intervals to book their orders. He informs the retailers about the various products offered by the wholesaler, helps them in the selection of articles and advises the retailers in involving effective selling techniques. The wholesaler’s salesman may be the outdoor or indoor salesman.
Sales engineer are that salesman who deals in high-value goods like computers, automobiles, refrigerators, washing machines, and television set. They are known as specialty salesman. They help in the installation of the products like computer or plant and machinery at the customer's place.
Service salesmen are appointed by the institutions providing intangible/ individual services like banking and insurance companies. These salesmen can meet the public to convince them about the need of saving for better future. Their job requires greater persuasion as compared to the job of salesmen dealing in tangible products.
A salesman should have a good personality. The personality includes a way of speaking, voice, posture, habits, etc. A pleasing and charming personality always creates a good impression on the prospects. A salesman should possess good health because it is the key to his efficiency. His tone of speaking should be natural so as to create receptivity among the listeners.
An effective salesman must possess certain mental qualities like imagination, foresightedness, presence of mind, strong memory power, and initiative. A good salesman must have the power of imagination so that he can enter into the shoes of the potential customer to know what he wants and how he wants to be treated. These mental qualities will help a salesman in winning permanent and regular customers.
A salesman should be social and have the ability to mix with people. He should be able to interact with all types of people. He should be honest, sincere, dependable and cooperative. He should have the patience to listen to the customers and remove their objections. He should be polite and humble in talking to the customer. He should have the quality of adjusting the customers of different nature. He should not be shy among the people.
A salesman should have the good vocational skill to deal with the customers. Salesmanship is a highly skilled vocation. It requires certain training and a specific bent of mind. He should have ambitions and enthusiasm to become a good salesman. A good salesman should know the features, benefits and other particulars of the product which is to be sold.
A salesman should have a good communication ability. He should communicate with the people in a good manner. Communication skill is an asset for the salesman. He should be able to speak freely, clearly and in a well-pitched voice.
A salesman should have the ability of patience. He should not get provoked even under worst circumstances. He should have sufficient patience to listen to customers and clear their doubts.
The salesperson must have a sense of determination to secure the customer. He should not lose confidence and give up the customer so easily. It is important for him to determine and convince the customers about the products.
Dependability is the must needed for a salesman.The salesman can win permanent customers if he is honest, sincere and dependable. He should be able to win the confidence of the customers if he is to succeed in his vocation. So, dependability is must needed for a salesman to develop his sales career.
Koirala, Dr. Kundan Dutta. Elementary Marketing. Kathmandu: Buddha Academic Publishers and Distributors Pvt. Ltd, 2014.
Thapa, Gopal, Dipendra K. Neupane and Dilli Raj Mishra. Introduction to Marketing. Kathmandu: Asmita Books Publishers and Distributors (P) Ltd., 2014.