Personal Selling is the mouth or oral presentations made by the individual salesperson. In this case a conversation with one or more prospective buyers who intended to create sales.
Here is the definition of selling face to face (personal selling) put forward by the experts. Kotler (2003:564)
The Personal Selling Process
The personal selling process is a consecutive series of activities conducted by the salesperson, the lead to a prospect taking the desired action of buying a product or service and finish with a follow-up contact to ensure purchase satisfaction.
Step one – Prospecting
The process is looking for potential customer or buyer is called prospecting or determining. A qualified prospect is the one who that will fulfill their needs by buying the products from the personal seller. Also that can be benefits both party direct and indirectly. For personal seller they need to make sure that the benefits are to maximize profits and achieve the target sales.
Step two – Pre-approach.
This stage involves collecting as much relevant information as possible to make sales presentation.
The information collected is to transfer to potential buyer by explaining what exactly the products for and how can it benefits the.
Step three – The Approach.
The salesperson should always focus on the benefits for the customer. This is one by using the product’s features and advantages. This is known as Features, Advantages and Benefits.
Step four – The Sales Presentation.
After the potential buyer feels interest to buy the product, the sales presentation took places. It involves how to persuade and visual explanation of a business proposition. It should be done in relaxed atmosphere and environment to encourage the prospect to share information in order to establish requirements. Having a small talk also can reduce the noise or the tension to make sure the business is remained.
Step five – The Trial Close.
This is the most important steps in personal selling. Based on what I’ve read it is known as the temperature question, requires technique to establish the attitude of the prospect towards the presentation and the product.
Step six – Handling Objectives.
Objections are often indication of interest by the prospect and shouldn’t be viewed with misgiving by salespeople. The potential buyer is in fact requesting additional information to help to justify the buying decision. The prospect may not be fully convinced and the issues raise are important. It is also assists the salesperson to establish exactly what is on the buyer’s mind.
Step seven – Closing The Sale
The closing is the last part of the presentation. Many of the salesperson fears the closing of a sale. Closing sale is the part of confirmation of understanding. Fear will disappear if the salesperson believes that the buyer will enjoy benefits after the purchase.
Step eight – The Follow-up.
The sale does not complete the selling process. Follow-up activities are very important and useful for the establishment of long-term business relationships. It is important to check if the products have been received in good condition, to establish the customer satisfaction. For example after sales services helps to maintain with customer relationship.
Disadvantages of Personal Selling
1) High cost-per-action –Personal selling can be an important measure of the success of promotion spending. Since personal selling involves person-to-person contact, the money spent to support a sales staff. This cost is incurred whether a sale is made or not, these costs include salary, commission, and bonus. Providing sales support materials, allowances for entertainment spending, office supplies, telecommunication and much more.
2) Training Costs – Most forms of personal selling require the sales staff be trained on product knowledge, industry information and selling skills. Some companies that require their salespeople attend formal training programs; the cost of training can be quite high and include such expenses as travel, hotel, meals, and training equipment while also paying the trainees salaries while they attend.
3) Building Product Awareness – A common task of salespeople, especially when selling in business markets, is to educate customers on new product offerings. But building awareness using personal selling is also important in consumer markets.
4) Creating Interest – The fact that personal selling involves person-to-person communication makes it a normal method for getting customers to experience a product for the first time. In fact, creating interest goes hand-in-hand with building product awareness as sales professionals can often achieve both objectives during the first approach with a potential customer.
5) Providing Information – When salespeople engage customers a large part of the conversation focuses on product information. Marketing organizations provide their sales staff with large amounts of sales support including brochures, research reports, computer programs and many other forms of informational material.
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Shaklee hired people to sell their product through personal selling. This is a good way to create sales and gain more profits. It is because they look and find their customers and contact directly. This is a good method but there are some unethical issues regarding personal selling.
Unethical issues of Personal Selling.
1) Force and pushy behavior
Personal selling is about persuasion of selling products. The persuasion is about to convince the potential buyer to buy the product itself. In some cases, the personal seller being pushy and force the customer to buy the products. This is very unethical because they shouldn’t push or force the customer. In Malaysia, personal sellers’ aims restaurant and food places to sell their products. As a personal seller they should persuade the customer to buy the product by telling the advantages of the products.
2) Door to door concept.
Door to door concept is when personal seller came or knocks the door to introduce their products. In this case, door to door concept is very unethical because home is the place where families or household to relax and didn’t expect any unexpected guest. Door to door might be disturbing some of the families because they might be lazy to hear the explanation from the personal seller. Besides the, door to door personal selling might scare them because of the cases that happened in the news. For example personal seller robbed the household and act like a personal seller. This case was a very huge and gave impacts toward some customers. This is very unethical behavior that personal seller shouldn’t adopt.
Trustworthiness can be gain once you have a good knowledge. A good knowledge and high level of knowledge can create a good trust between a customer and the seller. As a personal seller, they should know preparing good information to deliver to its customer is very important. Preparing to communicate and deliver the information need certain of communication skills that can persuade someone. A product that they sell need to be explain in details especially how the product can benefits the customer. So that, potential buyer have the trust to buy the product that can maximize their needs and wants.
4) Time constraint
Time constraint in personal selling took a high period, because when the seller presenting or demonstrate the product they have to make sure they present it in details. To make sure the details are delivered they need to brief the product from A-Z. If one customer took several minutes and long period, the seller might explain it roughly not detailed. This is unethical issues because they should know they have to deliver the information in details. Sometimes they just explained the product main features and they didn’t tell them about what other functions or any information needed about the product.
5) Mark up price
Personal seller might have the courage to cheat about the price of the product by increasing it. They might increase the price to gain more profits. Customer might get cheated because they didn’t know the real price of the product. These unethical issues have been happened for several years in the market. Lots of customer got cheated because of the seller increase the price. As a seller they should adapt honesty in doing business to avoid problem in the future. Seller might marked up the price and take the some of the profits for themselves.
6) Spiritual ( black magic)
Some of the unethical issues, black magic or “pukau” are the most unethical issues in Malaysia. Black magic happened when the seller by touching, exhale and etc. Once someone got “pukau” automatically the listen and follows the seller orders. Basically the seller will “pukau” the person and asks them to give all the money and jewelry that they have. “Pukau” has been a famous issue about personal seller unethical behavior. As a consumer they felt afraid towards personal seller and they sometimes ignored when door to door personal selling occurs. This is because some of them are taking precautions about the “pukau” issue.