Personal selling

Personal selling occurs when a sales representative meets a potential customer for the purpose of transacting a sale . Many sales representatives rely on a sequential sales process that typically includes nine steps. Some sales representatives develop scripts for all or part of the sales process. The sales process can be used in face-to-face encounters and in telemarketing .


Personal selling can be defined as “the process of person-to-person communication between a salesperson and a prospective customer, in which the trainer learns about the customer’s needs and seeks to satisfy those needs. Such a good service. ” [1] The term may also be used when describing a situation where a company has a number of other ways of communicating with customers.

Brief history

The earliest forms of exchange involved bartering systems. However, the advent of coinage makes it much easier to travel. The earliest references to selling, involving coin-based exchange, come from Herodotus who noted that “The Lydians were the first people we know to use a coinage coin and to introduce the retail trade.” [2] This implies that selling and buying, originated in the 7th century BCE, in the area known to Turkey. From there, selling spread along Mediterranean, and then diffused throughout the civilized world. [3]

The Socratic Philosophers of Certain Concerns on the New Type of Selling the 4th Century BCE. Their commentary was primarily concerned with potential disruption of the social aspects of selling. Traditional forms of exchange encouraged a social perspective – emphasizing the social bonds that united members of a society. For example, during periods of drought or famine, individuals in the plight of their neighbors. However, the advent of this new form of selling encouraged has a focus on the individual, which in times of scarcity, sellers raised their prices. [4]

During the Medieval period, trade underwent further changes. Localized trading based on transactional exchange and bartering systems were slowly transformed and new geographic markets were opened. [5] From the 11th century, the Crusades helped to open new markets in the Near East, while the adventurer and merchant, Marco PoloEast in the 12th and 13th centuries. Wine, food, furs, fine cloth, especially silk, glass, silk, and many other luxury goods. As trade between countries or regions grew, trade networks became more complex and different types of sellers filled in the spaces within the network. During the thirteenth century, European businesses became more permanent and were able to maintain their position in the home market. [6] Exchange is only done at arm’s length, rather than face-to-face.

Local market traders and itinerant peddlers continued to supply basic necessities, a permanent goal of retail shops from the 13th century, especially in the more populous cities. [7] By the 17th century, permanent shops are becoming more important. Provincial shopkeepers were active in almost every market town. These shopkeepers sold a very broad range of general merchandise, like a general store. [8]

Large business houses involved in import and export often offered additional services including finance, bulk-breaking, sorting and risk-taking. In the 17th century, the public began to make mental distinctions between two types of trader; Local traders (Dutch: meerseniers ) qui Referred to local merchants Including bakers, grocers, sellers of dairy products and stall-holders, and the merchants (Dutch: koopman ), qui Described a new, emergent class of trader Who Dealt in goods or credit we have a large scale. With the rise of a European merchant class, this distinction has been made to separate from the general market by the general population. [9]

In 18th century England, large industrial houses, such as wedgewood , and other forms of mass production. Some peddlers have been employed by these industrial producers to act as a sales representative, calling on retail and wholesale outlets in order to make a sale. [10] In England, these peddlers are known in Manchester because of the prevalence of the practice of cotton cloth manufactured in Manchester . [11]Employed by a factory or an entrepreneur, they are sold to an outlet or a business of a type of wholesaler or distribution intermediary. [12] They were the precursors to the field sales representative.

Selling roles and situations

Sales activity can occur in many types of situations. Field representatives call on customers, who are typically business customers; Door-to-door sales teams call it householders, sales staff work in May has retail or wholesaleenvironment dirty Where staff waits to customers by processing orders dirty gold May Occur in a telemarketing environment Where the sales person Makes phone calls to prospects. In terms of number of transactions, most selling occurs at the retail level; but in terms of value, most selling occurs at the high-end business-to-business level. [13]

Different types of sales roles can be identified:

  • Order takers refers to selling conditions primarily at wholesale or retail levels. Order processing involves determining customer needs, meeting the customer needs and completing the order. [14]
  • Order getters refers to the in-field sales activity where a sales representative travels to the customer’s home or work place to make a sales relationship with existing customers. [15]
  • Missionary selling is often seen as a sales support role. The missionary sales person distributes information about products or services. The missionary sales person prepares the way for a sales person. For example, a pharmaceutical sales representative can call on doctors and leave samples, in an effort to persuade doctors to prescribe a medication or course of treatment.
  • Cold calling refers to a situation when a sales representative calls or visits a customer without a prior appointment. Cold calling is often considered to be the most challenging of the sales activities. In a cold calling situation, the sales representative is likely to be more conscious of the customer’s time, and can seek to condense the sales process by combining the approach and the sales presentation into a single step. [16]
  • Relationship selling (also known as consultative selling ) refers to a sales practice that involves both building and maintaining relationships. Relationship selling often involves a problem solving approach where the sales representative is involved in a consultative role and becomes a partner in the client’s problem-solving exercise. [17] Relationship selling is often found in high-tech selling environments.

The sales process

The first text to outline the steps in the selling process was published in 1918 by Norval Watkins. [18] The basic steps, which have changed only in the past, are prospecting, qualifying leads, preapproach, approach, need assessment, presentation, meeting objections, closing the sale and following up. [19]

Prospecting -Identifying prospects or prospecting occurs when sales leads or leads to prospects (ie, people who are likely to be in the market for the offer). To identify prospects, sales representatives may use a variety of sources such as business directories (for corporate clients), commercial databases or mailing lists or simply look at internal records such as lists of lapsed customers. The aim of prospecting is to increase the likelihood of having a customer service.
Qualifying leads -After identifying potential customers, the sales team must determine whether or not they represent genuine potential customers. This part of the process is known as qualified leads, or leads who are likely to buy. Qualified leads are those who have a need for the product, a capacity to pay and a willingness to pay for the product, and are willing to be contacted by the salesperson. [20]
Pre-approach -Refers to the process of preparing for the presentation. This consists of customer research, goal planning, scheduling and other tasks.
Approach -Refers to the stage when the salesperson initially meets the customer. Since the first contact has been made, professional conduct, including draws, handshake, and eye contact, is advised. [20]
Need assessment -An important component of the sales presentation is the assessment of the customer’s needs. Salespeople should evaluate the customer based on the product. Sales repre- sentatives typically asked questions designed to reveal the prospective customer’s current situation, the source of any problems, the impact of the problems, the benefits of the solution, the customer’s prior experience with the brand, the prospect of general interest readiness to purchase. [20] In the case of corporate clients, it is necessary to ascertain any limitations on the prospect’s authority to make a purchase (eg financial restrictions).
Sales presentation -Once the salesperson knows the needs, he or she is ready for the presentation. Sales representatives often follow the AIDA model, which allows them to lead the prospect through the standard stages of the purchase decision process . The steps in the process are AIDA to grab the customer’s A aution, ignite I nterest, create D desired to, and inspires A ction (AIDA). [21] The salesperson can do this through product demonstrations and presentations that show the features, advantages and benefits of the product.
Handling objections -After the presentation, the sales person must be ready to handle any objections. Customers who are interested in their voice, usually in one of four ways. They may question the price or value of the product, dismiss the product / service as inadequate, or make a commitment to buy, or refuse because of an unknown factor. [20] Salespeople should do their best to anticipate objections and respectfully respond to them.
Closing -When the sales person feels that they are ready, they will seek to gain commitment and close the sale. If they are interested in the prospect of readiness to buy, they might consider using a trial close. The salesperson can use several different techniques to close the sale; including the ‘alternative close’, the ‘close close’, the ‘close summary’, or the ‘special-offer close’, among others.
Follow-up -Finally, the salesperson must remember to follow up. Following up will ensure customer satisfaction and help establish a relationship with the customer.

Sales scripts

The use of tightly written sales has been known for hundreds of years. Itinerant medicine salesmen were known to use in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Experienced sales representatives recognize that specific words and phrases have the ability to elicit desirable behavior on the part of the prospect. Research studies can also be used to determine the most effective words / phrases or the optimal sequence of words for use in effective sales scripts. A number of research studies have focused on the use of verbal persuasive techniques that can be used to convince the exchange of information, the use of recommendations, requests, promises, or ingratiation. [22]Other research has focused on influence techniques employed. Well-known examples include the:

Door-In-The-Face-Technique (DITF): Where the target request is presented as a concession to an unreasonably large initial request [23]
Disrupt-Then-Reframe-technique (DTR): where is a disruptive element and then followed by a persuasive sentence that concludes the script (ie, “reframing”) [ 24]

Once identified, these words, phrases and techniques can be used to build highly effective sales. [25] The most effective sales can be codified and used by others in sales training.

Many sales are designed to move the prospect sequentially through the cognitive, affective and behavioral stages of the purchase decision process and are designed around the AIDA model (attention → interest → desire → action). Most sales representatives include a greeting, closing and call to action in their scripts. A call to action (CTA) is simply an instruction to the prospect designed to prompt an immediate response. It often involves the use of an imperative verb such as “try it now” or “find out more.” [26]Other types of calls-to-action may provide for a limited time, eg ‘Limited stocks available’ or a special deal usually accompanied by a time constraint, eg ‘Order before to receive a free gift with your order. The key to a powerful call-to-action is to provide consumers with more than just defer purchase decisions.

Sales representatives also learn to recognize specific verbal and non-verbal cues that potentially signal the prospect’s readiness to buy. For instance, if a prospect begins to handle the goods, this may indicate a state of buyer interest. Clients also tend to employ different types of issues throughout the sales process. General questions such as, “Where does it come from?” When do customers begin to ask for specific questions, such as “Do you have this model in black?” indicates que la prospect is approaching readiness to buy. [27] When the sales person Believes que la prospective buyer is ready to make the purchase, a trial closecould be used to test the waters. A trial close is simply any attempt to confirm the buyer’s interest in the finalization of the sale. An example of a trial close, is “Would you like our team to install the unit for you?” gold “Would you be ready to take delivery next Thursday?”

Sales scripts are used for both inbound and outbound sales. Selling scripts are commonly used in cold calling, especially outbound selling and can also be found in cat-based customer care centers (inbound calling). In such cases, the sales script might be related to a conversation with the prospect. [28]


Some sales pitches are entirely scripted while others are only partially written to allow for the assessment of the customer’s needs and interests. However, most effective sales representatives have a common understanding of how to handle common problems.

There are three broad types of sales script: [29]

Prescribed scripts

Prescribed scripts are highly detailed scripts that specify particular sentences to be used in given situations. Prescribed scripts are widely used in a variety of contexts including direct selling, market research, fast food service.

The main advantages of prescribed scripts are:

  • can enable speedy transactions
  • provides uniform uniform delivery.

The main disadvantages of a prescribed script are:

  • tendency to become robotic and lacking in authenticity

Goal-driven scripts

Goal driven scripts are more flexible. This type of script defines the goals for each type of transaction and allows them to use their own sentences during the encounter. Provided that employees have a clear picture of the goals and objectives, goal-driven scripts can appear more natural and authentic. However, the use of goal-driven scripts requires employees with well developed communication skills.

Hybrid approach

The hybrid approach offers a choice within a range of scripts. This approach is neither prescribed nor totally flexible. It provides a range of scripts from which they select an option with which they feel comfortable.

See also

  • Account-based marketing
  • Advertising management
  • Consumer behavior
  • marketing
  • Sales management

Types of direct salesperson

  • Arabber
  • Bazaari
  • costermonger
  • Hawker (trade)
  • huckster
  • Merchant
  • Peddler
  • Street vendor

Influential salesmen and sales theorists

  • Dale Carnegie – author and lecturer; proponent of salesmanship, public speaking and self improvement
  • E. St. Elmo Lewis – salesmen for NCR and developer of the AIDA model of selling
  • Thomas J. Watson -salesman at NCR and CEO of IBM; often described as the “greatest American salesman”
  • Walter Dill Scott – Psychologist and Author; wrote a number of books on the psychology of selling in the early twentieth century
  • William Thomas Rawleigh -founder of Rawleigh’s company with one of the largest traveling salesteams in the United States


  1. Jump up^ Cant, MC and van Heerde, CV,Personal Selling,Juta, 2004, p. 3
  2. Jump up^ Shaw, EH and Jones, DGB, “A History of Marketing Thought,” inHandbook of Marketing,Barton A Weitz and Robin Wensley (eds), Sage, 2003, p. 41, Online:https: //www.researchgate.netpublication235362475_A_History_of_Marketing_Thought
  3. Jump up^ Shaw, EH and Jones, DGB, “A History of Marketing Thought,” inHandbook of Marketing,Barton A Weitz and Robin Wensley (eds), Sage, 2003, p. 41
  4. Jump up^ Shaw, EH and Jones, DGB, “A History of Marketing Thought,” inHandbook of Marketing,Barton A Weitz and Robin Wensley (eds), Sage, 2003, pp 41-42
  5. Jump up^ Braudel, F. and Reynold, S.,The Wheels of Commerce: Civilization and Capitalism, 15th to 18th Century,Berkely, CA, University of California Press, 1992
  6. Jump up^ Casson, M. and Lee, J., “The Origin and Development of Markets: A Business History Perspective,”Business History Review,Vol 85, Spring, 2011, doi: 10.1017 / S0007680511000018, pp 22-26
  7. Jump up^ Pevsner, N. and Hubbard, E.,The Buildings of England: CheshirePenguin, 1978, p. 170
  8. Jump up^ Cox, NC and Dannehl, K.,Perceptions of Retailing in Early Modern England,Aldershot, Hampshire, Ashgate, 2007, p ,. 129
  9. Jump up^ Honig, EA,Painting & the Market in Early Modern Antwerp,Yale University Press, 1998, pp 6-10
  10. Jump up^ Tadajewski, M. and Jones, DGB, “Historical research in marketing theory and practice: a review essay,”Journal of Marketing Management,Vol. 30, No. 11-12, 2014 [Special Issue: Pushing the Boundaries, Sketching the Future], pp. 1239-1291
  11. Jump up^ Silver, AW,Men’s Manchester and Indian Cotton, 1847-1872,pp 54-58 and p. 226
  12. Jump up^ Casson, M. and Lee, J., “The Origin and Development of Markets: A Business History Perspective,”Business History Review,Vol 85, Spring, 2011, doi: 10.1017 / S0007680511000018, p. 33
  13. Jump up^ Murphy, PE, “George E Brenkert- Marketing Ethics,” [Book Review],Our Lady Philosophical Reviews,May 24, 2009 <Online:
  14. Jump up^ Boone, LE and Kurtz, KL,Contemporary Marketing,Stamford, CT, Cengage, 2014, p. 579
  15. Jump up^ Boone, LE and Kurtz, KL,Contemporary Marketing,Stamford, CT, Cengage, 2014, p. 580
  16. Jump up^ Boyan, L.,Successful Cold Call Selling,American Management Association, 1989
  17. Jump up^ Lamb, CWL, Hair, JF and McDaniel, C.,Marketing,South-Western, 2011, p. 286
  18. Jump up^ Friedman, WA, TheBirth of a Salesman: The Transformation of Selling in America,p. 158
  19. Jump up^ Boone, LE and Kurtz, KL,Contemporary Marketing,Stamford, CT, Cengage, 2014, p. 583
  20. ^ Jump up to:d Spiro, Roseann; Gregory Rich; Stanton, William (2007). Management of a Sales Force (12th ed.). McGraw-Hill Irwin.
  21. Jump up^ Brown, Alex. “Chapter 20, Personal Selling and Sales Management, Class Notes” . Retrieved 28 July 2012 .
  22. Jump up^ Fennis, BM and Stel, M., “The Pantomime of Persuasion: Fit Between Nonverbal Communication and Influence Strategies,”Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,2011, doi: 10.1016 / j.jesp.2011.02.01
  23. Jump up^ Cialdini, RB, Vincent, JE, Lewis, SK Catalan, J., Wheeler, D., & Darby, BL, “Reciprocal Concessions Procedure for Inducing Compliance: The Door-In-The-Face Technique,”Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,Vol. 31, pp 206-215
  24. Jump up^ Price-Davis, B. and Knowles, ES, “A Disrupt-Then-Reframe Technique of Social Influence,”Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,Vol. 76, No. 2, 1999, pp 192-199
  25. Jump up^ Niblick, J.,The Profitable Consultant: Starting, Growing, and Selling Your Expertise,Wiley, 2013
  26. Jump up^ Eisenberg, B.,CALL TO ACTION: Secret Formulas to Improve Online Results,Nashville, Tennessee, Thomas Nelson, 2006, p. 20
  27. Jump up^ Cant, MC and van Heerden, CH,Personal Selling,Juta Academic, 2008, p. 176
  28. Jump up^ Hogan, P., “What are Sales Scripts ?,” Tenfold Blog, <Online:>
  29. Jump up^ Solomon, MR, Surprising, CF, Czepiel, JA and Suprenant, CF “A Role Theory Perspective on Dyadic Interactions: The Service Encounter” (1991) in Bateson, J, Managing Marketing Services: Text, Cases and Readings, Dryden , Orlando, Fl, pp 106- 122