Personal Selling – An Overview of Personal Selling

Personal Selling   – An Overview of Personal Selling  

          People hold different views of personal selling to an extent that intellectual authors have given it various definitions according to individual perspectives.According to Dalrymhe and Parsons (1995 : 057) personal selling means presentation of goods and services on personal contact to consumers.   He went further to say that personal selling is an information and persuasive marketing communications which encourages customers to buy goods and services. 

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  These authorities also made it clearly that in the world of business, it is useless to be a creature think unless you can sell what you create.   Customers cannot be expected to recognize good ideas unless a good sales person presents it again.   He said that personal selling in its own phase of sales management process is concerned with the intention between customers and sales people.

Kotler (1996 : 607) defined personal selling as the most effective tool a certain stage of the buying process particularly in building up buyers preferences conviction and actions, the reasons that personal selling when compared with advertising has three distractive qualities personal confrontation, cultivation and response.

ACCORDING TO Etzel, Walter and Stanton (1997 : 42) in his own view personal selling is the personal communication or information to persuade some body to buy something.   He proceeds by saying that personal selling carries bulk of the promotional loud.

The marketing is concentrated geographically in few large customers.

  • The product has a light unit value quit technical in nature or requires a demonstration.
  • The product must be fitted to in industrial customers needs as in the case of securities or insurance.
  • The product is in the introductory stage life cycle.
  • The organization does not have enough money to sustain an adequate advertising campaign.

He also states that personal selling is more flexible than other promo tools.   He processed by saying that personal selling helps to understand customer’s needs and presenting the advantage of their product. Such helps fullness result in satisfying customer’s help to keep a long time relationship.

According to Adirika, Ebue and Nnolim (1996 : 164) personal selling is considered as the last bust-stop in the total promotional journey because the ultimate objective of most promotional effect is the sales, but the actual consummation or fruition typically depends on effective selling.   They also stated that personal selling is the intelligence machinery of a company.  (Company has an opportunity to receive feedback).  Again personal selling involves as face to face presentation of sales and personal contact between the seller and the buyer for the purpose of making a selling it involves a verbal exchanges, expression and so on.

Edoga (1997 :9) in her own view defined personal selling as person to person communication in which immediate feedback is provided to the audience as its is a conversation between two or more parties she stated that personal selling is the find link in the exchange process between the buyer and selling (Pass II) and to identify the need and went of prospective customers, observe.   The trends in the relevant market is the personal selling marketing approach.


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          According to Adirika (1998 : 90 – 91).  The selling process is the step by step or systematically sequential stages through which sales person passes in converting a prospect to a customer, to the mutual benefit of the parties concerned.


          According to Kotler (1997 : 587) this is basically the starting point of the selling process.  It involves getting the sale persons prepared for the task of identifying and locating their prospect and aware of what action to take to convert them in the call they should visualized each step in the sales call and what physical and mental resources they will need to meet all the circumstances that could occur.   The mental resources have to deal with knowledge base on information and human understanding.


          According to Boone and Hutz (1992 : 834) this is part of the selling process which involves identifying and locating potential buyers of a company product.

There are three basic stop involves in prospecting and qualifying.

a)                 Defying or identified the prospects

b)                Locating the prospects.

c)                 Qualifying the prospects.

A prospect can be defined as an individual or organization that:

1)                Has need for the product

2)                Will derive benefit from purchasing and for using it.

3)                Has the ability and authority to buy the product (qualify) prospects can be broken down.


          In view of Edoga (1996 : 108) it is the stage of making adequate preparation before meeting a prospect pre-approach involves finding out all you can about prospect and getting the specific interview either through prior appointment or with prior appointment it should be appreciate that not two call are exactly the same.  There is need to make adequate plan for each call sales persons should really appreciate.   Their advantage of understanding the buyer and knowing his needs before the interview how the prospect prefers to be approached what the prospect is looking the firm.

According to Kotler (1997 : 705) the sales person should know how to greet the buyer to get the relationship off to a good street the sales person might considered wearing cloths similar to what buyers wear (for instance in Texas the men wear open shirt and notices shows courtesy and attention to the buyers and avoid dissertating mannerisms such as facing the floor or striving a the customer.  The opening line is possible.


          Kotler 1997 : 14) noted that sales person now tales the product “story” to the buyers flowing the AIDA fomular of Gavin alternation holding interest, arousing desire and obtaining action.   Throughout the presentation, the sales person emphasizes customer benefit, a benefit, calling attention to product feature as evidence to those benefits.   A benefit is any advantage such as lower cost, less work or more profit for the buyer. Sales presentations can be improved with demonstration and such as booklet and computer base on Simonton.


According to Kotler (1996 : 578) believed that trial closing should come before objection handling.   Trial to single is like serving motive on the prospect to act may be sales person saying something that will make the prospect.   This is believed that give the prospect an opportunity to decide immediately or seek more information or clarification before doing so to the prospect is still undecided at this stage, and requires additional clarification, the call will be slide into bending objectives.


          According to Kotler and Armstrong (1997:493) customers always pose objections during presentation on when asked for the order.

Their resistance can be psychological or logical psychological resistance includes resistance to interference, preference for establish supply scorches or brand apathy, reluctance to given up something unpleasant, associations created by the sales representative predetermined ideas dislike of making decisions and neurotic attitude towards money, logical resistance might consist of objection to the price deliver schedule or certain product or company characteristics.

To handle these objection the sales person maintains a positive approach, ask the buyer in a way that the buyer has to answer his or her own objection, derived the validity of the objection or turns the objection into resign for buying the sales person needs tracing in the broader skills of negotiation of which handy and over coming objections is a part.


          Edoga (1996 : 73) now the person attempt to close, some sales people do not get to this stage or do not do well.   They lack confidence or feel uncomfortable about asking for the order or do not recognize the right psychological moment to close, the sales person need to know how to recognize closing signs from the buyer, including physical actions.   Statement or comment and questions sales person can use one of several closing techniques.  They can ask for the order, recapitulate the points of agreement, often to help the seriate write up the order, ask whether the buyer wants ‘A’ or ‘B’ get the buyer to make minor choices.


          According to Boone and Hurtz (1992 : 432).   Follow-up/post sale activities are necessary if one sales person ensures customers satisfaction and repeat business.  Immediately after closing, the sales person should comment any necessary details on delivery time purchase terms and other matters that are important to the customer.

Edoga (1997 : 54) listed the following as advantages of personal selling.

1)                More flexibility

2)                Immediate feedback

3)                Target marketing

4)                Instant receipt

5)                Rendering of additional services.


          To stress the importance and effectiveness of personal selling in the marketing of industrial goods, Kotler (2003:221) noted that personal selling is the most effective tool at certain stages of the buying process particularly in building up buyer’s preference, conviction and action.   Personal selling has three distinctive qualities.

1)                Personal Confrontation:  Personal selling involves an alive immediate and interactive relationship between two or more persons.   Bach party is able to observe each others needs and characteristics at close hand and make immediate adjustment.

2)                Cultivation:         Personal selling permits all kinds of relationship to a deep personal friendship.

3)                Response:        Personal selling makes the buyer feel under some obligation for having listened to the sales talk.   The buyer has a great need to attend and respond even if the response is polite “thank you”.

Personal selling represents a great long-term commitment than any other promotional mix.  Advertising can be turned on and off but the size of a sales force is more difficult to alter.

Personal selling carries great weight especially in the following two situations:

1)                Where the product is expensive, risky or purchased infrequently.

2)                Where the product has significant social status such as automobiles.

In the marketing of industrial products, personal selling is the most effective and expensive contact and communication tool of a company.


          Buyers of industrial products usually are technically trained and buy for business firms, institutions such as school hospitals and governmental agencies.   They are highly specialized and generally buy on a national basis with their three major buying motives being quality, price and service.   In most cases, the product or services must be custom tailored to exactly company requirement.

(Odo 2003:18) manufactures of industrial products will generally have few salesmen than a manufacturer of customer goods. This occurs because industrial product are more selectively distributed versus consumer products which are mass market.

The industrial salesman will have fewer but larger accounts.  His presentation will be more technical, longer and involve seeing several persons rather than one in the same company.   Industrial selling is also supported by less advertising and promotional assistance than the selling of consumer goods for it is considerably more technical and requires more emphasis on personal selling versus general advertising.   As a result of these differences the industrial salesman has more individual responsibility for selling.

Another characteristics of industrial selling is reciprocity.   Occasionally, reciprocity is practiced in buying from one particular company because it buys from you if the product is comparable.

Or better than competitive products in terms of quality service and price such a practice posses no problem. As a matter of fact under such circumstance it is the only logical ethical and sensible thing to do. (Onyeke 1999:89).


          Odo (2003:5) classified industrial product into three:

a)                 Commercial enterprises.

b)                Government organizations

c)                 Institutional customers.

Commercial enterprises according to him include:-

i)                   Original equipment manufacturer.

ii)                User customers

iii)              Industrial distributors

Government organization in Nigeria are stratified into

a)       Local government council.

b)      State government.

c)       Federal government.

Institutional customers according to Onyeke (1999:251) induce all those customer not falling into commercial or government classification e.g schools colleges, churches, hospitals and others institutions are either private or public.


Personal selling has objectives in the marketing of industrial products.   One main objective is to match specific product with specific customer to secure ownership transfer.   In other words personal selling seek to put the right product to the right customers.

Personal selling aims to achieve both long and short-term objectives.   The long-term objectives are classified as broad and general, changing very little over time and concerned mainly on the contribution, management expected personal selling to make in the achievement of overall company objectives.   Edoga and Ani (2000:295) believed that the short-term objectives are specific and relate it’s the roles management sighs to personal selling as part of both the promotional programme and overall marketing strategy.  Clundift et al are of the view that the art of skill of personal selling is deficient in our industrial institutions.

Kotler (1998:545) observed that personal selling objectives include education, negotiation and sales closing.  The traditional view in sales force objective is to produce sales while the new view is to produce profit.


          The method used for selecting salesman will vary depending upon the type of product or service being sold, the size and objectives of the company, the conditions prevailing in the labour market and the philosophies of management.

Looking from the classifications of sales persons as the sales engineer, the executive salesmen, the industrial supplies salesman, the inside salesman and the missionary salesmen, can be defined to be “a technically trained individual whose primary responsibility is to sell industrial goods and services to buyers and buying influences in government industry and institution.

In selecting candidates for personal selling, the sales manager should note that technical skill could be learned.   The old saying that some individuals can learn to play the trumpet more easily than others.   But both can be learned.   Moreover the individual who feel so strongly in possession of some mate ability to sell, that training is unnecessary is likely to fail.   The practice of selling is the act of dealing with people in a persuasive way while retaining goodwill.   It requires through knowledge of the product, the company and the selling techniques.

Mcmury concluded by listing five additional qualifies of a creative salesperson:

i)                   A high level of energy.

ii)                Abounding self confidence

iii)              A chronic hunger for money, status and good things of life.

iv)              A well established habit of industry

v)                A habit of perseverance, ability to see each objection, resistance or obstacles as a challenge.

Where these traits are identified in a prospect after tests have been convicted, it is view as doing positive and is more likely that the candidate has the disposition to sell.  According to Haas (1994:189) the negative traits are those factors that do not give room for good salesmen are:

i)                   Marital difficulties

ii)                Emotional instability

iii)              Untidy appearance

iv)              Excessive indebtedness.

Has concluded by saying that these factors mentioned above can only stand as guidelines and not as hard and fast inflexibility criteria.


          Compensating is a motivational package of incentive for performance.   The effective of a sales force depend a great deal on the level and type of compensation.   An effective compensation plan should attract, keep and motivate the sales personnel.   Since a laborer deserves his or her wage, it is only logical that compensation should correlate a person’s rewards, with his or her efforts and results.   Compensation plans are designed to gain the cooperation of both the employees and the employers.

According to Edoga and Ani (2000:301).   To attract top-quality sales persons, a company has to develop an attractive compensation package.   Therefore compensation method for the salesmen would have either positive or negative effect on personal selling.  In another development it is understood that the major requirement for building a top-flight salesmen that would promote personal selling are:

i)                   Attracting good people

ii)                Motivating them and

iii)              Keeping them

In all these three areas, company compensation police are the crucial difference. Sales representatives would like a plan that offers the following features for proper execution of personal selling job.  Kotler (1998:562).

i)                   Income regularity

ii)                Reward for above average performance

iii)              Fairness.


          To measure the effectiveness of personal selling in the marketing of industrial product the performance or salesmen in carrying out personal selling activities must be appraises. Onyeke (1999:264) say that in assessing the effectiveness of personal selling, the salesmen’s immediate supervision can make an on-the-spot assessment of a salesmen-selling effort.   The author went on to say that more sales data is the row material for evaluation of the sale effort, he concluded.

Kotler (1998:576) in his own opinion said that the most important for salesmen evaluation is the sales representative periodic reports.   Additional information comes through personal conversation, customers letters and complaints and through conversation with others sales representative.


Stanton (199:398) states that the major limitation of personal selling is its high cost.   It is time that use of sales force enables a business to reach its markets with minimum of wasted effort.   However, the cost of developing and operating a sales force is high.   Moreover personal selling is often limited by a company, inability to get the caliber of people needed to do the job. O. Robin (1998:4) in his own contribution stated that personal selling is very much an art rather than a science.   His final conclusion is that no particular formula should be used and if one thinks he can apply rules he may not always be successful.

However, to acknowledge the vital role of industrial products, it has been observed that particular problems that can set an innovation industry in the marketing of industrial product is the estimating of the price that a user is likely to be willing to pay for something of which he has as yet so experience.   Kotler (1995:36).   To solve such a problem the author stated that the only solution would come through personal selling by the sales people who have to teach the customer to use and sometime how he wants the new products.

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