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Personal Selling

Personal selling is where businesses use people (the “sales force”) to sell the product after meeting face-to-face with the customer.

The sellers promote the product through their attitude, appearance and specialist product knowledge. They aim to inform and encourage the customer to buy, or at least trial the product.

A good example of personal selling is found in department stores on the perfume and cosmetic counters. A customer can get advice on how to apply the product and can try different products. Products with relatively high prices, or with complex features, are often sold using personal selling. Great examples include cars, office equipment (e.g. photocopiers) and many products that are sold by businesses to other industrial customers.

Objectives of Personal Selling

Personal selling contributes in achieving the long-term objectives for the organization.

The following are some of the objectives of personal selling:

  • To do the complete selling job when there are no other components in promotional mix
  • To provide service to the existing customers and try to maintain contacts with the present customers
  • Identify and find new prospective customers.
  • Promote the products to increase sales.
  • Provide the information to the customers regarding the change in product line.
  • Provide assistance to the customers to help in decision-making.
  • Provide technical advice to customers for complex products.
  • Gather the data in relation to market and provide it to company’s management.

The reason behind setting personal selling objectives is to make decision on sales policies and personal selling strategies, which helps in promoting the product. The objectives are set for long-term, as it becomes the important element for qualitative personal selling objectives.

The objectives can also be quantitative if they are short-term and it could be adjusted from one promotional period to another. The quantitative personal selling objective is related to sales volume objective. Hence, the sales volume objective should also be explained.

The main advantages and disadvantages of personal selling can be summarized as follows:

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Point-of-sale merchandising can be said to be a specialist form of personal selling. POS merchandising involves face-to-face contact between sales representatives of producers and the retail trade. A merchandiser will visit a range of suitable retail premises in his/her area and encourage the retailer to stock products from a range. The visit also provides the opportunity for the merchandiser to check on stock levels and to check whether the product is being displayed optimally.

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