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Personal selling refers to a set of activities directed at the attainment of marketing goals by establishing and maintaining direct buyer-seller relationships through personal communication. Personal selling has a unique place in the marketing communication mix. While other promotional tools (advertising, public relations, and sales promotion) are non-personal communication tools, which have one-way communication with the target audience, personal selling enables the company to communicate directly with its target customers. The key objective of personal selling is to retain existing customers and convert prospects into clients.
business-to-business selling, the salesperson sells products to industrial buyers. In trade selling, the salesperson sells products to marketing intermediaries such as retailers and wholesalers.
Later in the chapter, we discussed the personal selling process that a salesperson follows and the communication aspects involved in the steps. Personal selling involves seven key steps – identifying prospects, qualifying prospects, pre-call planning, approaching the prospect, making sales presentation, handling objections, closing the sale and follow-up.
Later, we examined the responsibilities of a salesperson. There are three key responsibilities that a salesperson undertakes – order taking, order getting and order supporting. In order taking, the salesperson processes and routes orders from regular customers. In order getting, the salesperson engages in creative selling so as to increase sales and build relationships with customers. Order supporting personnel are not directly involved in selling the products but act as support staff for the front-line sales personnel.
Then we looked at the various advantages and disadvantages associated with personal selling in comparison with other promotional elements. We examined how an organization can integrate personal selling with other marketing communication elements to achieve the best communication effect. Finally, we looked into the aspect of performance evaluation of personal selling. The two aspects on which the performance of a salesperson is evaluated are: the quantitative and qualitative aspects. Qualitative evaluation is based on elements like knowledge, ability, personality, motivation, and compliance. On the other hand quantitative evaluation involves defining the nature of the performance evaluation and the expected levels of performance.