This chapter covers personal selling and promotions, both integral components of marketing. Personal selling is defined as communication between a buyer and a seller and can be customized based on the product or service. Much of personal selling is enhanced when the salesperson engages in relationship development to build loyalty.
Personal selling involves inside and outside order takers and their primary responsibility to create a relationship with the buyer. Consider inside order takers as the clerks employed by a company to assist the customer and complete the final sale. Outside order takers are out making calls on customers and delivering inventory. Order getters are the highly trained salespeople, and missionary salespeople are the ones that facilitate experiences such as samples in the store. A technical salesperson is one that has extensive product knowledge that they use to present a product.
Personal selling is broken down into steps, It begins with identifying a qualified customer or prospecting; from this point leads are identified. This is then followed by an approach, a presentation, handling objections, closing, and asking for the order. There are many components involved in each step based on the product/service, customer, timing, and ability of the salesperson to close the sale. The final step is the follow-up.
Sales force management was covered, including the definition, purpose, and construction of compensation packages. Assessment of performance, using sales performance metrics for quantitative assessment, and qualitative goals are important functions of sale management.
The final section discusses promotion, which is a form of marketing communication that is used to inform target audiences of a good, service, brand, or issue. Considered a basic element of the marketing mix, promotion includes various tactics that encourage purchase. Examples include coupons, sweepstakes, rebates, premiums, special packaging, cause-related marketing, and licensing. Loyalty programs are increasingly used to build customer loyalty and repeat sales while at the same time generating valuable consumer information.
Additional incentives include push incentives, which cover a marketer’s effort and expenditure to influence channel members stocking and promotional efforts. Pull incentives, on the other hand, cover a marketer’s effort and expenditure to influence consumer and customer demand and preference for the marketer products, using advertising, coupons, and other forms of promotion.
Finally, ethical issues with personal selling and promotions were discussed. Fraud and misuse of funds for sales personnel can be closely monitored using software developed to track this information. With promotions, hidden fees, which are one-time add-ons that may not be fully disclosed to the consumer, will carry additional unfair costs. Where contracts are concerned, ambiguous terms and conditions are considered problematic, and customers as well as marketers should be aware and avoid these issues.