Retail Selling Process – Personal Selling Process

Retail selling as the name suggests involves personal contacts. Advertising, on the other hand, involves no personal contact. Sales promotion is different from both these techniques. Now let us briefly explain about the Retail selling, its definition, qualities of retail seller and objectives .

Salesmanship and Retail Selling

The success of a marketing firm really depends on its effectiveness in creating a demand for its products and how effectively it satisfies its customers. To create a demand for the product, usually three techniques are employed by the marketing firms, namely, Personal Selling, Advertising and Sales Promotion. Of them personal selling has assumed an ever increasing importance than other techniques. The number of people employed in advertising is in thousands whereas in personal selling (retail selling) the number is in millions.

Retail Selling Process - Personal Selling

Personal selling occurs where an individual salesperson sells a product, service or solution to a client. Salespeople match the benefits of their offering to the specific needs of a client. Today, personal selling involves the development of longstanding client relationships.

Meaning and Definition of Retail Selling

Personal selling is a highly distinctive form of communication. Like other forms, i.e., advertising and sales promotion, it is basically communication; but unlike others it is two way rather than one way communication. Personal selling involves social behavior of both the seller and the prospect influencing each other. The outcome of each sales situation depends upon the success of both the parties have in communicating with each other and in reaching a common understanding of the needs and goals. Now let us discuss some of the definitions of personal selling.

  • Definition of White Head: “Personal selling is an art of presenting an offering that the prospect appreciates the need for it and that a mutually satisfactory sale follows”.
  • Definition of Philip Kotler: “Personal selling involves oral presentation in a conversation with one or more prospective purchases for the purpose of making sales”.

So, personal selling is a promotional method in which one party (e.g., salesperson) uses skills and techniques for building personal relationships with another party (e.g., those involved in a purchase decision) that results in both parties obtaining value. In most cases the “value” for the salesperson is realized through the financial rewards of the sale while the customer’s “value” is realized from the benefits obtained by consuming the product. However, getting a customer to purchase a product is not always the objective of personal selling. For instance, selling may be used for the purpose of simply delivering information. Because selling involves personal contact, this promotional method often occurs through face-to-face meetings or via a telephone conversation, though newer technologies allow contact to take place over the Internet including using video conferencing or text messaging (e.g., online chat).

Qualities of Personal Selling

According to Philip Kotler the distinctive qualities of personal selling are:

  1. Personal confrontation: Two or more persons come into contact into active relation and each party is able to observe at close quarters, the characteristics and need of the other and make immediate adjustments and thereby make the encounter successful.
  2. Cultivation: Personal selling may lead to all kinds of relationships ranging from a matter of fact selling relationship to a deep personal friendship.
  3. Response: Personal selling usually makes the prospect to feel a sort of peculiar obligation for having listened to the sales talk.

Objectives of Personal Selling

Personal selling has both long term and short term objectives. The long term objectives are broad and general. The short term objectives are specific and relate to the roles which the management assigns as part of both promotional programme and overall marketing strategy. In certain instances, the role of personal selling is the minimum i.e., simply having sales people take orders from the customers. But in most cases it plays considerably more important roles. As stated by Cundiff and Still, the objectives can be classified into two kinds viz.,

1. Qualitative Objectives: Qualitative objectives are long term objectives and depend largely upon the overall long term objectives of the firm and the promotional mix. Such objectives change very little over a period of time and essentially they are carried over from one period‘s promotional programme to the next. The important qualitative objectives are given below:

  1. To do the entire selling job.
  2. To serve the existing customers in such a way to maintain communication with the present customers, take orders etc.
  3. To search out and obtain new customers.
  4. To secure and maintain customer‘s co-operation in stocking and promoting the product line.
  5. To keep the customers informed about the changes in the product line and other aspects of marketing strategy.
  6. To assist the dealers in selling the product.
  7. To provide technical advice and assistance to customers as in the case of complicated products and custom designed products.
  8. To assist with or handle the training of middlemen
  9. To provide advice and assistance to the middlemen on various management problems.
  10. To collect and report market information of interest and use to the company management.

2. Quantitative objectives: In addition to these qualitative objectives certain quantitative objectives are generally assigned to personal selling. They are:

  1. To obtain a specified sales volume.
  2. To obtain sales volume in such a way that contributes to profit objectives.
  3. To keep personal selling expenses within the specified limits.
  4. To secure and retain a specified share of the market. Thus, personal selling is a broader concept and covers a wide variety of activities.

Factors to be Considered while Taking Decision as to Retail Selling

There are several broad principles to guide the manger in deciding the extent to which personal selling should be employed in his promotional progamme. The Retailer should consider the following factors before arriving at any decision.

  1. Number of potential buyers: Retail selling is suitable when the number of potential buyers for a product or service is large.
  2. Concentration of Potential buyers: Retail selling is much easier if the number of buyers is highly concentrated in one geographical area rather than dispersed over a wide area.
  3. Size of the quantity purchased : The average size of the quantity purchased is another important factor in determining the economic feasibility of retail selling. For small quantity as well as large quantity is possible in this.
  4. Heterogeneity: Retail selling is far more advisable in case of products that are produced according to individual specifications.
  5. Need for demonstration: Where it is necessary to convince the potential buyers of product‘s merit, retail selling is almost compulsory.
  6. Recognition of the need: The need for retail selling arises only when the prospects recognize the need for the article as it is exhibited in the show case.
  7. Need for service: In some cases, considerable work must be done with consumer before selling a product and certain items are frequently after sales. If such is the situation retail servicing (selling) is necessary .

Essentials of Retail Salesmanship

  1. The main aim of salesmanship is establishing sound and lasting relations between the sellers and buyers.
  2. It can create wants that never existed before by showing the prospective buyers how particular goods or services satisfy their demand.
  3. It consists of one human mind influencing another human mind.
  4. It involves not only in selling the products and services but also in providing the knowledge, technical assistance, counsel and advice. The salesmanship is the process of selling the ideas of beauty, health, economy, prosperity, convenience, comforts and so on.
  5. It brings reasonable profit to the seller and definite benefit to the buyer in the effort of inducing the customers to buy the goods and services.