Discuss the role of a company’s salespeople in creating value for
customers and building customer
relationships. Today, most companies use salespeople to bring their
company’s offering to the
consuming or business publics. The salesperson’s role is a key one in
the organization. The high
cost of maintaining a sales force means that management is especially
interested in how to
efficiently organize this vital element.
A. Personal selling
The direct presentation of a product to a prospective customer by a
representative of the selling
organization is termed as personal selling. Personal selling is the
personal communication of
information to persuade somebody to buy something. Personal Selling
occurs when a company
representative comes in direct contact with a customer in order to
inform a client about a good or
service to get a sale. Personal selling is especially important for
since products and services are complex and expensive. In many
companies, personal selling is the
largest single operating expense.
a. The Nature of Personal Selling
Selling is one of the oldest professions in the world. Today, most
salespeople are well-educated,
well-trained professionals who work to build and maintain long-term
relationships with customers.
They build these relationships by listening to their customers;
assessing customer’s needs, and
organizing the company’s efforts to solve customer problems. The term
salesperson covers a wide
variety of positions and responsibilities. The person can be:
1). An inside order taker.
2). An order getter (a great amount of creative selling skills are
demanded in this position).
Personal selling is likely to be emphasized in a promotional mix when
the market is concentrated
or the product has a high unit value, is technical in nature, and
requires a demonstration. It is also
useful if the product can be tailored to an individual customer’s need,
or the product is in the
introductory stage of the product life cycle.
b. The Role of the Sales Force
Personal selling is the interpersonal arm of the promotion mix. Sales
people represent the
company to the customer and act as an intermediary linking the customer
to the company.
Salespeople act for a company and perform one of more of the
following: prospecting of new
business; communicating with potential and existing customers; servicing
information gathering. Sales positions range from: delivering product;
taking orders; building
goodwill or educating customers; positions where technical knowledge is
required; and creative
d. Sales management.
Sales management involves the analysis, planning, implementation and
control of sales force
activities. Advertising consists of one-way, non-personal communication
with target customer
groups while the personal selling involves two-way, personal
communication between salespeople
and individual consumers. Personal selling can be more effective than
advertising in more
complex selling situations. The role of personal selling varies from
company to company. Some
firms have no salespeople at all. The sales force serves as a critical
link between a company and its
customers. The salesperson can represent both buyer and seller i.e.
1). They represent the company to the customer.
2). They represent customers to the company.
Salespeople are becoming more market-focused and customer-oriented.
1).The old view was that salespeople should be concerned with sales and
should be concerned with profit.
2). The new view is that salespeople should be concerned with more than
sales—they must know how to produce customer satisfaction and company
Personal selling is performed by person-to-person dialogue between
prospective buyer and the
seller through direct human contact for matching products to needs. It
relationships between buyer and the seller to discover the needs of the
customers/buyers and the
benefits of the products that can satisfy the needs of customer can be
communicated to customer.
e. The characteristics of personal selling
Personal selling is having flexibility of system it provides one to
one contact between the buyers
and sellers. It Identify specific sales prospects the first step in the
selling process is prospecting
identifying qualified potential customers. Approaching the right
potential customers is crucial to
selling success. Direct contact with the potential buyers provides
opportunity to demonstrate the
product and to customers and to answer the queries and questions of the
questions during the presentation step of the selling process, the
salesperson tells the product
"story" to the buyer, showing how the product will make or save money.
The salesperson describes
the product features but concentrates on presenting customer benefits.
Using a need-satisfaction
approach, the salesperson starts with a search for the customer's needs
by getting the customer to
do most of the talking. During demonstration there can be certain
objections raised by the
customers, which can be overcome at very same time. Customers almost
always have objections
during the presentation or when asked to place an order. The problem can
be either logical or
psychological, and objections are often unspoken. In handling
objections, the salesperson should
use a positive approach, seek out hidden objections, asks the buyer to
clarify any objections, take
objections as opportunities to provide more information, and turn the
objections into reasons for
buying. Every salesperson needs training in the skills of handling
f. Builds Relationships
The principles of personal selling as just described are transaction
oriented—their aim is to help
salespeople close a specific sale with a customer. But in many cases,
the company is not seeking
simply a sale: It has targeted a major customer that it would like to
win and keep. The company
would like to show that it has the capabilities to serve the customer
over the long haul in a
mutually profitable relationship.
Most companies today are moving away from transaction marketing, with
its emphasis on making
a sale. Instead, they are practicing relationship marketing, which
emphasizes maintaining profitable
long-term relationships with customers by creating superior customer
value and satisfaction. They
are realizing that when operating in maturing markets and facing stiffer
competition, it costs a lot
more to wrest new customers from competitors than to keep current
Today's customers are large and often global. They prefer suppliers who
can sell and deliver a
coordinated set of products and services to many locations. They favor
suppliers who can quickly
solve problems that arise in their different parts of the nation or
world, and who can work closely
with customer teams to improve products and processes. For these
customers, the sale is only the
beginning of the relationship.
Unfortunately, some companies are not set up for these developments.
They often sell their
products through separate sales forces, each working independently to
close sales. Their technical
people may not be willing to lend time to educate a customer. Their
engineering, design, and
manufacturing people may have the attitude that "it's our job to make
good products and the
salesperson's to sell them to customers." However, other companies are
recognizing that winning
and keeping accounts requires more than making good products and
directing the sales force to
close lots of sales. It requires a carefully coordinated whole-company
effort to create value-laden,
satisfying relationships with important customers.
Relationship marketing is based on the premise that important accounts
need focused and ongoing
attention. Studies have shown that the best salespeople are those who
are highly motivated and
good closers, but more than this, they are customer problem solvers and
Good salespeople working with key customers do more than call when they
think a customer
might be ready to place an order. They also study the account and
understand its problems. They
call or visit frequently, work with the customer to help solve the
customer's problems and improve
its business, and take an interest in customers as people.
g. Basic Sales Tasks
Order Getting: It is creative selling ad is more time
consuming. It is used for selling products to new prospects (pioneers)
and to sell to continuing customers (account managers). Some times
telemarketing is used particularly to small accounts for seeking
customers, analyzing their problems, Discover solutions and finally
selling solutions to customers. Order Taking: This task
is related with very little creative selling, used for Write up of
orders, for checking invoices for accuracy, to assure timely order
processing and may use suggestive selling for different problems that is
supporting the customers in acquiring solution for problem.
h. The advantages of personal selling
The advantages of personal selling over the other promotion tools…
• It can be adapted for individual customers.
• It can be focused on prospective customers.
• It results in the actual sale, while most other forms of promotion are
used in moving the customer closer to the sale.
i. The disadvantages of personal selling
• The major disadvantages of the personal selling are:
• Expensive per contact
• Many sales calls may be needed to generate a single sale
• Labor intensive
• It is costly to develop and operate a sales force.
• It may be difficult to attract high-caliber people.
j. Types of the personal selling
There are two types of personal selling:
The customers come to the salespeople.
Mostly involves retail-store selling. Most salespeople fall into this
The salespeople go to the customers.
Usually represent producers or wholesaling middlemen and sell to
business users. Some outside selling is relying more on telemarketing.
k. Characteristics of Professional Selling
Sales reps engage in a total selling job. Reps work closely with
customers. Sales reps organize much of their own time and effort. They
often experience role ambiguity and role conflict.
l. Contributions of Personal Selling to Marketing:
Today, most professional salespeople are well-educated, well-trained
men and women who work to build long-term, value-producing relationships
with their customers. They succeed not by taking
customers in but by helping them out—by assessing customer needs and
solving customer problems. Success in a selling environment requires
careful teamwork among well-trained, dedicated sales professionals who
are bent on profitably taking care of their customers
m. Changing patterns in personal selling
Traditionally, personal selling has been a face-toface, one-on-one
situation. But now new trends and patterns are emerging which are:
–Selling Centers — Team Selling
–Global Sales Teams
n. Salesperson Attributes:
Salesperson is an individual( like: Serving, and Information
gathering Salespeople, sales representatives, account executives, sales
consultants, sales engineers, agents, district managers, marketing
representatives, account development reps, etc) acting for a company by
performing one or more of the following activities. Salesperson is an
individual acting for a company by performing one or more of the
following activities: Prospecting, The first step in the selling process
is prospecting—identifying qualified potential customers. Approaching
the right potential customers is crucial to selling success. Than during
the presentation step of the selling process, the salesperson tells the
product "story" to the buyer, showing how the product will make or save
money. The salesperson describes the product features but concentrates
on presenting customer benefits. Using a need-satisfaction approach, the salesperson starts with a search for the customer's needs by
getting the customer to do most of the talking. To be more effective in
this process sales person
should possess certain attributes, they should be honest should be
competent to demonstrate the
products and handle objections should be customer oriented so tat
customers can be satisfied,
should possess the skills so that potential customers are ready to
listen about the offered products.