What is Personal Selling In Marketing? Process, Benefits, Types, Importance

Personal selling in marketing is defined as the one-on-one interaction or communication between the buyer and seller in which the seller (salesman) uses his interpersonal skill to affect the transaction.

In simpler terms…

Personal selling is a promotional tool that is prominent in the marketing of product, services, ideas etc.


It involves the face to face meeting between a seller and the buyer(s) in which the seller tries to convince the buyer(s) to own the product.

Personal selling.
Image credit: https://businesstown.com/articles/become-your-own-salesperson/1

Did you notice I didn’t use purchase or buy in the above definitions?

If you do, here’s why…

Some words are not advisable to use while closing (making a sale).

And because personal selling is basically about the closing… I really want you to get this.


People love to buy, but at the same time, they hate to be sold.

Now even though they love to buy, they don’t love the idea of BUYING.

And that’s because the word buys simply makes them feel – “oh it’s gonna cost me money right? Like I have to spend to money…

So despite the fact that we do love the act of buying, the problem is the word itself triggers TENSION .

Stay with me:

Picture a coffee shop on a cool evening in Nebraska USA…

…If you approach me and after a good presentation or sales pitch you be like…


Source: https://www.disruptiveadvertising.com/business/b2b-services/amp/

No matter how bad I want it, I’ll say no.

So what do you use instead of buying?

  • You say OWN or
  • Take this home with you.

For example, (pointing at the product) you say:

Would you like to own it?


Would you like to take this home with you?

See how to use it below.

You stand a better chance of getting a Yes! using those words.



There’s an ancient Chinese proverb that said:

Hearing something 1000 times is not as convincing as seeing it once.

Therefore, If by chance you’re into selling or you’re interested in selling in the nearest future, it’s about time about you start thinking of prioritizing dramatic demonstration.

The idea behind this powerful strategy is simple:

Which is this…

…while leveraging personal selling in marketing: DON’T BE BORING, BE INTERESTING.

Show; Don’t Just Tell.

…you don’t want to make them fall asleep.

In other words, show your prospects what you’re talking about, don’t just tell them about it.

Furthermore, it’s about time you stop focusing solely on…

  • What do I say?
  • What script should I follow?
  • How do I say it?
  • Which fancy word should I use?

While all of those are part of it, it’s about time you understand almost every salesperson can copy that.

You may be wondering:

What then can I add to my closing techniques to not just be different , but will more likely up my closing by 10%?

To figure that out, ask yourself this question:

What is one dramatic demonstration I could use to create trust and certainty in the mind of my prospect?


Not until you figure that out, you’re more likely to struggle with a YES!

For example, imagine I sell vacuum cleaners at a corner in West Virginia USA.

…luckily you were just in the neighbourhood…

And after introducing myself and a few talks on what I have for you,

what are you likely to say when I show you this?

Dramatic demonstration in personal selling

Not on my phone or in my notebook…

…but I dramatically demonstrate to you that my Vacum cleaner has powerful suction for not one but two bowling balls.

We both know you can’t use it on bowling balls, but I have successfully wowed you with how powerful it is and how dust, dirt, etc stand no-chance.

It’s also known as the WTF effect.


And after that I say:

Would you like to take this home with you?

How cool is that?

Bottom line:

When next you intend closing a client, be interesting by showing, not just talk and talk away their time.

Gary Vaynerchuk – a Belarusian-American entrepreneur, author, speaker, and Internet personality also subscribe to the concept of the show; don’t just tell.

FB IMG 15911296336618365

What are the benefits of personal selling?

In this age of social media advertising, does personal selling still matter?

In a word: YES!

Here are some of the benefits that comes with personal selling in marketing:

  • Helps to locate prospective buyers of products or services
  • Having contact with many people purchasing agent researchers, corporate organization, managers, marketing executives etc.
  • Opportunity to get relevant and accurate information about the market.
  • Ability to know the need and problems of customers.
  • Helps to present company’s product to the market physically.
  • Personal selling also help people arrange deliveries
  • The impact of personal selling in marketing makes it possible for salespeople to train and offer promotional assistance to customers.
  • It also helps to establish a company’s image amongst its customers.

Now you know the importance of personal selling in marketing…


Do you know when it’s highly recommended this tool is used to create awareness and close a client?

When To Use Personal Selling In Marketing

Below are 3 different scenarios the face-to-face promotional tool should be used.

1. For high-end products.

High-end products are simply expensive products. These are products an average American will tell you: I don’t really need it.

For example, A top quality mattress.

Some people may argue that it’s a waste to spend so much on something you only use while you’re asleep.

This is where personal selling comes in to convince them that:

  • A good night’s rest where you wake up feeling completely refreshed and ready to start the day without any achy muscles is priceless, not to mention crawling into the most comfortable bed at the end of a long day is heavenly.
  • Plus, you spend a third of your life asleep, so shouldn’t it feel supportive and comfortable?

2. For highly technical &  trade-in products.

Example include computers, copiers, automobiles etc.

3. When a firm doesn’t have the means to leverage other promotional tools.

Personal selling is expensive…

…but in some cases it is used as an alternative to mass-advertising when a company can’t afford it.

And because salesforce commissions are usually based on their sales performance, that makes it more convenient to use when compared to other promotional tools while marketing.

Types of personal selling.

The format of personal selling in marketing depends largely on the amount of setting that takes place…

…and the amount of creativity required to perform a simple task.


Personal selling in marketing takes 3 forms in most cases.

1. Order taking

images 17
Source: https://www.gettyimages.com/videos/waiter-taking-order?phrase=waiter taking order&sort=mostpopular

This type of personal sellers or salesperson processes routine orders for a product that were already sold by the company.

The major duty of an order taker is to preserve an ongoing relationship with existing customers and maintain sales.

They are further subdivided into two:

  • Outside order – takers

This category indulges in customers visitation. Primarily, order-takers ensure the stocks of resellers are replenished when necessary…

Furthermore, they provide assistance when necessary in arranging displays.

  • Insider order – takers

They mainly focus on answering simple questions, take orders and complete transactions with customers.

Here’s the kicker:

Order takers mostly do little selling in a conventional sense and engage in little problem solving with customers.

They deal with simple products that have few options such as confectionary items, magazine subscription and highly standardized products.

2. Order getting:

images 19
Image credit: https://journal.firsttuesday.us/buyers-get-personal-with-a-letter-to-the-seller/14167/

Order getters are those salespersons with more education, professional skills and of course higher pay.

Order getters sell in a convention sense and:

  • Identifies prospective customers.
  • Provides customers with information concerning a product or service
  • Persuade customers to buy
  • Closes sales and…
  • Follow up on customers use of a product or service.

In most cases, they require serious training and good knowledge of the product to delivering expected results.

Basic differences:

images 18

3. Sales support personnel.

Sales support personnel augment the selling effort of order getters by performing varieties of services.

There are three types of sales support personnel.

  • Missionary salespeople.

This type of salesmen does not indulge indirectly getting orders or closing like order getters and order takers…

…they’re more focused on carrying out promotional activities for a product and also in the introduction of new products to the market.

For example:

In pharmaceutical industries, sales support personnel (also known as “detailers”) are those who convince physicians to prescribe a firm product. In most cases, the product happens to be a newly introduced and is a direct alternative to the other.

I’ll explain further for better understanding.

So there’s panadol  (acetaminophen systemic) used to treat headaches, fever, etc…  and we also have paracetamol – which can also be recommended for headaches, fever, etc.

…let’s say I happen to be a sales support personnel while you are a physician who’s not really familiar with paracetamol as an alternative for treating those illnesses.

Now imagine you’re at my store in West Virginia, USA…

And upon approaching me for 10 boxes of panadol as usual, I gave you just 6 boxes and talked you into owning 4 boxes of paracetamol which can also do same job as panadol.

images 23
Source: https://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/a-new-kind-of-free-speech-drug-reps-pitches-to-doctors/amp

Got that? Good.

In other words, I am also encouraging you to prescribe paracetamol to your patients with health issues panadol is used to solve.

…by talking to you about it, I have successfully introduced, promoted, and convinced you to buy paracetamol and prescribe it to your patients or customers.

How cool is that?

Therefore, for personal selling in marketing, that’s just the duty of missionary salespeople. Introduce> Promote > Convince. Getting orders is out of it.

  • Sales engineer

Similar to missionary salespeople, this category does not directly engage in selling products and services to end-users.

However, they make use of their high technical skills to facilitate selling by identifying, analysing, and solving customers problem.

Imagine buying a phone that freezes 60 second every 30 minutes. If you happen to experience such problem…

…the attention of the sales engineer will be called upon and he’ll be the one to identify the cause and solve it.


They’re most popular in selling products that can be used to facilitate the production of other goods.

Example include tractors and other heavy equipment.

In summary, they sell complex scientific and technological product or services to businesses.

  • Team selling.
images 9
Image credit: https://www.123rf.com/stock-photo/sales_team.html?sti=lzymwhc922uo9qrfzu|

Team selling occurs when an organization decides to use an entire highly professional sales team to facilitate selling and service to their major costumers .

This particular personal selling in marketing technique is adopted in situations whereby specialized knowledge is needed to satisfy the different interest of individuals in a customer’s buying center.

Why is personal selling important in marketing?

1. Convincing clients

Getting customers to buy is now more difficult than ever. And that’s because they are open option to lots of other similar products from competitors.

Unlike other promotional tools, what personal selling does is that:

It makes it possible for sales representatives to use their skills to convince prospects to buy a product…

…or at least persuade them to give it (product) a TRY – in situations whereby the sales man can tell the client in question is already loyal to a particular competitor’s brand.

For example:

My dad doesn’t do any brand of milk outside PEAK. This has been the case for 40 years and counting.

Now for someone like this, other promotional tools like advertising won’t just cut it… because he’s seen countless adverts on other brands but he’s still loyal to peak.


It’s possible you have a sizeable amount of people like my dad as your target audience who are on the side of your competitors. Especially if the brand has been existing for a very long time.

In essence, the only to get them to choose you is via personal selling.

Because personal selling is the only promotional tool that gives room for immediate feedback from clients.

So when they raise doubts over your product in terms of satisfaction you immediately handle such objection.

2. Building long term customer relationships

Unlike other promotional tools, the goal for personal selling is beyond just closing a client or making a sale.

This is evident in the process of personal selling because Follow Up actually comes after closing.

In case you’re wondering what Follow Up is:

in summary, it is the last stage of the personal selling process whereby the sales representative ensures the client gets the product when needed, and in the right form.

Aside that, the salesman still do some checkings on the clients from time to time.

This is to ensure they’re not having issues with the product and that they’re effectively using the product to get maximum result.

All of the activities carried out during the follow up stage tends to build a long lasting relationship between the sales rep and the client… which will also transcend to the brand.

Furthermore, it gives room for repeat purchase. Because satisfied customers of a sales rep will consider their company when planning their next purchase.

When you look closely, aside personal selling in marketing, no other promotional tool does so much after persuading a client to buy…

…and this is another reason why it is important.

Selling Complex Products

Complex products in this regard can be likened to industrial products.

And these are simply those products that can be used for the production of another product. i.e Oven – for the production/baking of Cake Or Tractors for farming.

Because they’re not consumer products , personal selling is therefore important to sell the product.

The salesman’s job is to enlighten or share vital information with the buyer concerning some uniques features and benefits that will make them buy.

Some of those information may be on how to use the product (product functionality).

For example:

Let’s say you’re interested in starting a sewing business or running a SUCCESSFUL pizza shop .

Equipments you’ll need for your pizzeria include dough mixer, pizza ovens etc.

If there’s something you can’t do without, it’s a Pizza oven.


Aside your personal requirement in terms of price or budget for the oven… let’s assume you also need something that can help cook up to 16 inch pizza.

So which will you go for out of the ones below?

pizza ovens
Different types of pizza oven

It’s possible you might feel a little confused.

This is where the salesman comes in to enlighten you everything you need to know concerning every one of the pizza ovens… functionality, benefits, cons, guarantees and so on.

The information will then help you make a decision. Or the perfect one will be recommended for you.

Disadvantages Of Personal Selling in marketing

disadvantages of personal selling

What Are The 7 Steps/Process Of Personal Selling In Marketing?

Step 1: Prospecting

Step 2: Pre-approach

Step 3: Approach

Step 4: Presentation

5. Objection handling

6. Closing the sale

7. Follow

The 7 Process Of Personal Selling In Marketing With Examples

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