Published On: Mon, Jun 20th, 2011

Personal Selling

By: Gerald J. Sherman

Personal selling is a key needed in the buyer/seller relationship in both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) marketing.

Personal selling is and has always been an important part of the mechanics of doing business.  It is interesting to note that conditions and roles may have changed due to present day technology (Internet, Blogs and Social Media), but the basic ingredient for success in the marketplace is personal selling. It always has been and never will change.

“Personal Selling”’ is developing and maintaining a close business relationship with the customer where both customer and salesperson trust and respect each other and where the seller interacts for the purpose of continuing the relationship while obtaining a sale for the mutual benefit of both buyer and seller, (Sherman & Perlman).

Many businesses have lost sight of the value of “personal selling.” Although we know the importance that advertising, public relations, events and promotions play in a successful business, sometimes we forget that many sales are lost because the business owner/manager did not understand the mechanics of actually making the appointment, answering the objections and then closing the sale.

Someone I know mentioned that he was able to save a substantial amount on his household insurance premiums (we both have similar coverage). Naturally, I called his insurance representative, mentioned my friend’s name and told him that I was very interested in buying insurance from him. He asked me to send him copies of my current policies. However, I never had the time to send them to him. He never called to remind me to send copies of the policies. I guess he was waiting for me to make the move. So, nothing happened – I still have the same policies and he never made the sale. This is an example of something that could have benefited both of us.

I am not talking about high pressure tactics. I am not talking about the Willy Lomans of the world (‘Death of a Salesman”). My concern is with business owners/managers and their salespeople who do not have sufficient knowledge and training in the selling process and are therefore unable to recognize buying signals.

These business owners and managers may have product knowledge but are lacking the knowledge of how to make the sale. The business world today is losing the personal touch that is needed to close the sale. Too many think that, ‘Selling is a Dirty Word’ (Sherman & Perlman, 2007). Nothing could be further from the truth. Selling is the foundation of any business.

To quote Arthur “Red” Motley, “Nothing Happens until Somebody Sells Something,” (Parade Magazine, 1930). It was true then and it is true now; it has withstood the test of time.

Excerpts from the book, The Real World to Fashion Selling & Management, Fairchild Books, Conde Nast Publications, N.Y.

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