Personal Selling: Purpose, Types, Limitations
Personal selling happens when companies and business firms send out their salesmen to use the sale force and sell the products and services by meeting the consumer face – to – face. Here, the producers promote their products, the attitude of the product, appearance and specialist product knowledge with the help of their agents. They aim to inform and encourage the customer to buy, or at least trial the product.
For example, salesmen go to different societies to sell the products. Another example 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.
Types of Personal Selling
Retail Selling: Retail selling the product the consumers through retail store or door to door visit .in door sales persons work at the store and they deal with the customers visiting the sorters and outdoor sales personal visit the potential costomers in their homes or offices and persuade them to buy the product.
Trade Selling: It involves selling the product to the retailers and wholesellers trade saales personal made regular contact to the wholeseller and retailers and receved bulk order from them, trade sales personal work either for wholeseller or manufactures.
Missionary Selling: In missionary selling missionary sales personal create demand for the product they do not directly sales the product .they visit retial staores and incourage them to place orders from the deailers and wholesellers they work for manufactures.
Industrial Selling: It involves selling the capital item like equipment ,machineres to the industrial users ,industrial sales personal are useually very well educated experience and train people they provides technical information and assitances.
Advantages of Personal Selling
- It is a two-way communication. So the selling agent can get instant feedback from the prospective buyer. If it is not according to plan he can even adjust his approach accordingly.
- Since it is an interactive form of selling, it helps build trust with the customer. When you are selling high-value products like cars, it is important that the customer trusts not only the product but the seller also. This is possible in personal selling.
- It also is a more persuasive form of marketing. Since the customer is face to face with the salesperson it is not easy to dismiss them. The customer at least makes an effort to listen.
- Finally, direct selling helps reach the audience that we cannot reach in any other form. There are sometimes customers that cannot be reached by any other method.
Disadvantages of Personal Selling
- It is a relatively expensive method of selling. High capital costs are required.
- Also, it is an extremely labour intensive method. A large sales force is required to carry out personal selling successfully.
- The training of the salesperson is also a very time consuming and costly.
- And the method can only reach a limited number of people. Unlike TV or Radio ads it does not cover s huge demographic.
The strength of personal selling is measured in terms of the merits to its credit as a distinct form of promotion. These are:
1. Flexibility and adaptability:
Personal selling by its very nature is capable of providing more flexibility, being adaptable. A salesman can adjust’ himself to the varying needs, moods, motives, impulses, attitudes and other behavioural variables of the prospects with a view to communicate effectively and effect the sales for the unit.
2. Minimum waste:
The efforts put in by the salesman are highly focused on a single customer or a small group of customers. The message is likely to reach them without distortion and diffusion. This is perhaps the greatest merit in contrast to advertising where the ad message is released en-masse resulting in message diffusion and distortion causing more wastage or promotional efforts.
3. Acts as a feed-back:
The salesman is, in effect, a researcher. Being in direct contact with the consumers, he has the advantage of collecting and transmitting the relevant market information affecting his company.
Such timely, authentic and verifiable data is the basis of vital decisions, strategies, and tactical adjustments. Thus, he feels the pulse of the market that is ever changing.
4. Creates lasting impression:
The personal selling process is so direct and penetrating that lasting business relation can be developed between the selling house and the clientele. In case of advertising, it acts like a flash of a thunder-bolt from the blue. The light though very powerful, lasts only for a few seconds. The light of salesmanship is like an electric current that lasts longer.
5. Pulls through logical sequence:
The personal selling follows a logical selling process which matches to the reasoning of one and all. A salesman pulls through the customer in the step-by-step selling process starting with attention and ending with satisfaction with interest, desire, conviction and action juxtaposed between.
Further, he detects loss of consumer attention and interest and brings the consumer back to the track by repetitions and reinforcements.
However, all is not well with process of personal selling. There are certain limitations which one should take into account before giving the conclusion as to its real worth.
It is expensive:
Personal selling as a method of promotion is quite expensive. Getting salesman is one thing and retaining him for long is another. Further, there are no definite correlations between his stay and cost of retaining and the contributions of his, in return, to the firm, for such costs.
2. Difficulty of getting right kind of salesmen:
Though, theoretically certain guidelines are prescribed for getting right kind of salesmen from the potential candidates, it is really very difficult to get suitable salesmen from company’s point of view. The potential salesmen so selected, trained and placed, do not guarantee loyal service to the company.
3. Stake in consumer loyalty:
Personal selling is such a process-direct and close between the customer and salesman that the consumer loyalty depends on the presence of such a salesman. The firm’s fortunes are tied to the loyalty of consumers which, in turn, depends on the very presence of salesman. The moment the salesman moves out, the clientele drops down to the detriment of the firm.
4. More administrative problems:
Personal selling involves more of administrative problems than impersonal selling. Since, the firm is to deal with manpower a driving force behind sales the company has to meet the challenges in the areas of manpower-planning, organizing, directing, coordinating, motivating and controlling. The solutions to these problems, even if found out, are not everlasting because, human content in management is unique.