Personal selling is an activity which involves a face-to-face interaction with the customers wherein there is a quick response and personal confrontation.
This allows for more specific adjustment of the message. Here, the communication message can be adjusted as per the customer’s specific needs or wants. It offers you the opportunity to develop long-term familiarity and relationship.
Steps in the Personal selling process
Process or steps in personal selling include the following:
This is the beginning of sales process, which covers searching for customers with potential demand.
This is the process of deciding how to allocate sales time among prospects and existing customers.
In this step, the salesperson plans methods to approach the customers and to collect company and customer information.
Communication and approach
This is the process of communicating and contacting the customers. It involves developing a system to greet the customers and meet them for the sale. Homer B. Smith has recommended different approaches. The following are some proven techniques:
- Ask questions – Questions should preferably be relevant to sales presentation.
- Use a referral – Someone favourably known to the potential customer.
- Offer a benefit or service – This can be quite effective if relevant to customer’s need.
- Complement the prospect – It is a good way to establish rapport if there is anything that the prospect has achieved.
Presentation and demonstration
In this stage, the salesperson givesa sales presentation and if required demonstrates features, advantages, and benefits and value propositions of the product.
Customer objection handling
Customers always pose objections during presentations or when asked to order. Psychological resistance and logical resistance are the two types of resistance seen at this stage. The psychological resistance includes resistance to interference, preference for established brands, apathy, and reluctance to give up something, etc. The logical resistance includes objections to price, delivery schedule, or certain companies.
Some salespeople do not get to this stage or do not do it well. The salespeople try to close sales after handling the customer objections.
Follow up and maintenance
The salesman does follow up and retains the relationship with customers to obtain repeated orders and referrals and ensures customer satisfaction and repeated business. In the case of consumer durables, salespeople take care of maintenance.