Meaning of Personal Selling
Personal selling refers to the promotional or marketing strategy used by business for promoting its range of products among people. It is a crucial element of promotion mix in which there is a direct face-to-face contact in between the sales person and prospective clients. Personal selling is a very effective promotional method where sales personnel use his skills and abilities in accordance with the needs of situation for convincing customers towards purchasing products. Salesmen interacts directly with prospective and goes deep into conversations with one another thereby reaching a point of common understanding. This way products or services are interrelated in a right manner by sales team to customers which persuade them towards making buying decisions.
Apart from doing promotion, personal selling also enables business in strengthening the personal relationship with their customers. It is not just carried out to induce people for buying products, but more emphasis is made on developing permanent and long-lasting relation with prospects. Salesmen make people aware about products by giving each and every information to them as per their requirements.
Steps in the Process of Personal Selling
Various steps involved in the process of personal selling are as discussed below: –
Identifying the prospective buyer
The first step in the process of personal selling is identification of prospective customers. Identifying the right prospects is must for determining the future selling process. Companies uses multiple sources for generating their leads such as websites, directories, social contacts, observations, commercially available database, cold calling, publicly available mail list and many more. Once the prospects are identified by company, then sales people qualify these prospects on the basis of their needs, preferences, taste and financial ability.
Once the prospects are identified and qualified by sales person, next step is to collect relevant details about them. Having right information about prospective customers enables salesperson in preparation of sales presentation. He decides on how to approach the customer at this stage. The salesmen may approach by either making a phone call, sending a letter or making a personal visit, as per the convenience of prospects.
Approach is a stage in which salesperson makes an initial contact with prospective customer. Salesperson should start the conversation by greeting customer and then try to gather information about potential customer in order to understand his/her needs. The attitude, way of speaking and appearance of sales personnel matters a lot in this stage of personal selling.
Presentation and Demonstration
The presentation and demonstration of products by salesperson is next step of personal selling. After knowing about the potential customer, the sales personnel give presentation of product or service, describes its features and qualities in such a manner that it matches the needs and desires of prospects. Finally, the value of product is explained which tells about its overall worth in money terms.
The next step is handling of objections raised by customers once they receive presentation of products by salesperson. Many times, customers are reluctant to place order and pose some questions or concerns. Salesperson should skillfully handle these situations and try to clarify all their queries or concern timely in order to secure the sale.
Closing the sale
Closing the sale stage refers to finalizing the sales deal and persuading the prospect to buy product. Once the objections are overcome, then the customer is convinced to place an order by salesperson. There may be various negotiations related to price and payment options in between both the parties during this stage.
Follow-up and maintenance
Follow-up and maintains is the final stage in process of personal selling. The salesperson should take some measures immediately after closing the sale deal. The customer needs to be assured of right-time delivery, proper installation as well as of after sales-service by sales men. A properly designed follow-up stage of personal selling can be effective in improving customer satisfaction, ensuring repeat sales and getting more referrals from satisfied customers.