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Principles of Marketing

15.1 Personal Selling and Its Role in the Promotion Mix

Principles of Marketing15.1 Personal Selling and Its Role in the Promotion Mix

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • 1 Define personal selling.
  • 2 Discuss the role of personal selling in the promotion mix.

Personal Selling Defined

Personal selling is the one-on-one interaction between a company representative (salesperson) and the buyer (customer or prospect). The interaction is intended for the salesperson to uncover the needs and wants of the prospect and discuss how the product or service will help to satisfy the customer’s needs and wants. The salesperson works to develop a relationship with the prospect with the intention of having them buy the company’s product and become a customer.

The Role of Personal Selling in the Promotion Mix

The promotion mix includes the marketer’s tactics for communicating with consumers. Determining how to use the promotion mix is dependent on the goals and objectives of the overall marketing strategy as well as the nature of the product, the market segments being targeted, and the message the marketer wishes to send.

Generally, marketers will use a combination of the promotion mix tactics to create an integrated approach to connecting with customers. Out of all the promotion mix strategies, personal selling is the strategy that connects directly with the customer in a one-on-one setting and focuses on building relationships. Personal selling is ideal if the product is more complex in nature, higher in price, and customizable according to a customer’s needs.

Relationship Selling

Relationship selling is a method of personal selling used to better understand the needs and wants of the buyer. If the product is relatively high in price and has some customizable attributes, the salesperson will strive to become a trusted advisor to the customer. This allows the salesperson to develop a relationship that will create trust and ultimately fit the best product with the customer to fulfill their needs and wants and solve a problem they are having that put them in the market for the product. TalEx, a fast-growing human resource company, works with its clients to find the right talent for open positions at a variety of companies. Sales representatives for TalEx work as trusted advisors to collaborate with clients to help find the right staffing solutions for growing companies.

When to Use Personal Selling

Personal selling is best utilized as a promotional strategy when the products are higher in price, variable in nature, and require some explanation or education. Hilton Grand Vacations (HGV) employs real estate agents to sell club memberships. Due to the variety of membership purchase levels, the explanation and education of how to use the membership, and the higher price of the time-share vacations, the sales force spends time educating clients about the product. Typically, personal selling is used for products that are also in the introductory stage of the product life cycle and for products that require significant follow-up after the sale. Business-to-business (B2B) strategies are largely reliant on personal selling as a primary promotional strategy.

Knowledge Check

It’s time to check your knowledge on the concepts presented in this section. Refer to the Answer Key at the end of the book for feedback.

Companies typically use personal selling as the promotional strategy of choice when which of these is true?
  1. The product is higher in price.
  2. The product requires the sales professional to spend significant time educating the customer.
  3. The product has a lot of variation.
  4. All of these statements are true.
Personal selling is ________.
  1. unpaid advertising to consumers
  2. a method of increasing sales in the short term
  3. one-on-one interaction between a sales professional and a potential buyer/customer
  4. used for handling routine purchases
If a company has a higher-priced product that requires some variation according to the customer’s needs and wants, which method of promotion is best?
  1. Direct marketing
  2. Personal selling
  3. Advertising
  4. Public relations
Which of the following is NOT a reason for personal selling to be used?
  1. When the product is complicated
  2. When the product has a lot of competition
  3. When the product needs to be demonstrated
  4. When the product is highly technical
Jasmine works for a Honda dealership. Jasmine has spent considerable time listening to a potential customer talk about what features they are looking for in a new car. Jasmine is able to identify the best Honda automobile to meet the needs of the customer. What feature of sales is Jasmine demonstrating?
  1. One-on-one interaction
  2. Meeting the needs and wants
  3. Personal communication
  4. All of these features are correct.
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