Personal selling is the process in which salesman tries to sell product to potential customers by using his marketing skills and techniques.The aim of salesman is to encourage buyer to make a sale or at least make a trial of the product. Personal selling is a part of promotion which also includes advertising, publicity, sales promotion and public relations. The personal selling is a good method of promotion because here face to face communication allows for detailed explanation of product and the individual questions or concerns can be addressed immediately.
The Process of Personal Selling
When it comes to sale, the process of selling is applied. It is a face to face communication by which salesman uses his skills to persuade a customer to buy a particular product. However, convincing a customer to buy a product is not the objective behind personal selling every time. A company may follow this approach to make aware customers about a new product. The process of personal selling is briefly illustrated below.
1. Pre-Sale Preparation
The expert salesman can easily convince potential customers to buy products and services. The salesperson must be familiar with the product, the market, competitors’ products and the degree of competition. So, in the first step the right person is selected for marketing and selling the product. He is given proper training and motivation to achieve target successfully.
Looking for potential customers is prospecting. In the step of prospecting, the names, phone numbers, addresses and other data of those persons are collected who are likely to buy products and services. Potential customers can be found from many sources like social media, trade shows, commercially available database, mail lists, cold calling and from many other sources.
In the third step, the sales representative meets the prospective buyer. It is the chance for salesman to impress the buyer by using his marketing skills. It is necessary for the salesman to approach the right person. For example, if a company is selling a software for textile mills then the sales representative must try to approach the factory manager and explain the features of product. He must not approach the gate keeper or quality controller.
During this step, the salesman makes a presentation. This involves demonstrating the product or service at relaxed atmosphere. The salesman focuses on features and benefits of the product during presentation. The sales professional presents product based on AIDA principle which gains attention, creates interest, arouses desire and finally obtains action of the prospect. During presentation the sales representative tries to address needs of the prospect and shows that he understands and cares about the needs of the prospect.
5. Overcoming Objectives
After receiving presentation, the potential customer may have some questions or objections. The salesman must address these questions. It will assist the salesperson to build exactly what is on the prospect's mind. If the customer is answered correctly without entering into a controversary, the drawback for a successful sale will be removed. The sales person should anticipate and try to handle every possible objection before it arises. He should not lose his patience if customer asks too many questions and take time in arriving any decision. He must believe in the universal rule that the customer is always right.
6. Closing The Sale
This is the critical point in the personal selling process. After all the objections have been cleared, the sales person closes the sale after studying the body language and statements made by prospects. This may include asking for an order or providing any final information to the prospects. The sales profession should not force the deal but let the customer make the final decision. Sometimes price adjustment may be necessary for a successful closing. It is the best practice to close the sale in a cardinal manner. Closing the sale is the last part of presentation.
7. Follow Up
Once the salesman accomplished his goal by selling the product, building relationship with customer begins. After sale, the sales person makes contact with a customer in order to build long term relationship. The salesman gets feedback from the customer and ensures that the customer is satisfied. The follow up is an important part of retaining customers and exploring new customers. Good follow up helps ensure positive reviews.