Personal selling is a person-to-person process by which the seller learns about the prospective buyer’s wants and seeks to satisfy them by making a sale. Some people believe salespeople are born with the gift of selling, do not take no for an answer, and trick people into buying things they really don’t want to buy.
Modem, professional salespeople are not like that. They are good listeners, consultants, and problems solvers who want to determine exactly what their customers want. They have a strong code of ethics and build trust and long-term relationships with their customers.
Objectives of Personal Selling
The objectives of personal selling are (1) to find prospective customers, (2) to convert these prospects to customers, and (3) to keep them as satisfied customers.
Marketers identify and locate prospects through prospecting and qualifying. Prospecting means getting sales leads. Sales leads are the names of people or firms that might use the salesperson’s product. Qualifying means screening sales leads for likelihood of purchase and profitability as customers.
A firm with a list of prospects but no customers will not be in business long. Prospects must be convinced, or persuaded, to buy.
Maintaining customer satisfaction after the sale is important. Good salespeople know that repeat sales to satisfied customers are less costly to make than first-time sales.
Personal Selling Tasks
Selling tasks are activities that incorporate one or more of the three objectives of personal selling and are often classified into three categories: (1) order-getting tasks, (2) order-taking tasks, and (3) sales support tasks. Order-getting sales tasks focus on converting prospects to customers and getting present buyers of some of their products to also buy other products they sell.
Order-taking sales tasks focus on building repeat sales. For example, field order takers call on their customers regularly and write up orders to replenish inventory.
Salespeople who perform sales support tasks help order-getting and order-taking salespeople find prospects, convert them, and maintain customer satisfaction after the sale. VF Corporation trains its retailers’ salespeople in how to sell bras and camisoles. The VF sales support people also give lessons in customer service.
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