Personal Selling: Advantages, Types, Strategies, and Examples

Make a customer, not a sale

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No matter how popular digital marketing is, personal selling still matters as it helps deliver personalized experiences and create emotional connections between sellers and buyers.

Let’s learn more about personal selling and tips to do it successfully in this article.

What is Personal Selling?

Personal selling is a sales closing technique that refers to person-to-person interactions between sales reps and potential customers, either through face-to-face appointments, calls, or emails. It’s widely used, especially in business-to-business (B2B).

Direct Marketing vs. Personal Selling

Direct marketing refers to selling products or services directly to the public using email, brochures, catalogs, flyers, newsletters, SMS messaging, and social media. This method allows you to reach out to massive audiences within a short period. That said, you can’t personalize the messages and create a personal touch with customers with direct marketing.

Personal selling is the opposite. It involves salespeople using their skills to convince prospects to buy and so creates personal connections with customers. However, it might not help you reach fewer prospects than direct marketing does.

Objectives of Personal Selling

Personal selling can be used to achieve the following goals:

  • To acquire more qualified prospects
  • To do research on new product ideas and discover customers’ changing needs
  • To sell more products or services
  • To nurture relationships with existing customers and drive repeat purchases

Personal Selling Advantages

Personal selling allows sales reps to:

  • Tailor communications to specific customers based on their needs and expectations
  • Ask questions, discover a customer’s actual problems, and adjust their selling strategies accordingly
  • Create emotional connections and increase the chance of converting prospects
  • Develop a long-term relationship with customers, which potentially helps sell more products

Disadvantages of Personal Selling

While personal selling has significant advantages, it also comes with some drawbacks, as shown below:

  • It requires sales reps to spend a lot of time and effort researching prospects, identifying their needs, and personalizing messages, which makes it more expensive.
  • Each sales rep can’t reach multiple audiences simultaneously, so it requires a much larger sales force than direct marketing.

Types of Personal Selling

According to David Jobber, co-author of “Selling and Sales Management,” personal selling has three types:

  • Order takers: Order takers can be retail sales assistants or telemarketers. Their tasks are solely taking a customer’s requests and moving them to the product or service that meets the customer’s needs.
  • Order creators: A typical example of order creators are medical representatives who convince physicians to prescribe their products. They don’t sell medicines directly to patients.
  • Order getters: Order getters are frontline sales reps who are responsible for persuading customers to make a purchase.

Personal Selling Techniques

Follow these techniques to do personal selling successfully:

1. Understand Your Leads Thoroughly

Choosing qualified leads and clearly understanding what they’re looking for is the first step to ensure successful personal selling. Qualified leads mean they have a high interest in doing business with you and are more likely to purchase.

Once you’ve identified those people, take more time to research them. For example, what industries are they in? How large is their company? What problems are they trying to solve? Can they deal with those issues themselves, and if yes, what are the costs to do that? The more you know about them, the easier it’ll be to initiate a conversation.

2. Use Email Tracking Software

It can be challenging to research customers manually, but with the help of an email tracking tool, things become easier.

For example, a platform like Revenue Grid provides you with the Sales Sequences tool to create automated series of emails to send to prospects. You can track which sequences are generating more opportunities, which ones are underperforming, when a lead replies, and more. From that, you can develop plans to optimize the messages, change send time, or create more tailored sequences to improve the performance further.

Another great feature of Revenue Grid is that it helps you capture data automatically across Salesforce, emails, and Outlook. It means all customer data is centralized into one single dashboard, and you can extract any information you want from there without switching back and forth between platforms. No more missing data or inaccurate updates.

3. Use Storytelling to Engage Prospects

Storytelling refers to using stories to sell products or services. It helps make a sales pitch, product demos, or sales proposals more compelling and attention-grabbing. When you combine stories into conversations with customers, you’ll find it easier to connect with them.

To create a story, you may want to look at your own memories and life experiences that resonate with the target customer. Highlight the struggle or changes you overcame to create empathy and attract attention. That said, you don’t need to put in too much detail — just keep it simple and focus on the core message.

Personal Selling Skills

If you’re looking to use personal selling to sell more, focus on enhancing these skills:

  • Active listening
  • Asking questions
  • Storytelling
  • Copywriting
  • Organizing skills
  • Presentation and demonstration
  • Dealing with objections

Examples of Personal Selling

Real estate is one of the industries that get a lot of benefits from personal selling. According to the National Association of Realtors, in 2020, 87% of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker, and 90% of sellers were assisted by a real estate agent when selling their home. That’s enough to say that personal selling is crucial to real estate.

A real estate agent can help a buyer find a perfect property much faster as they have the expertise, experience, and connections in the industry. Through conversations, they know what the buyer is looking for, how they want to feel with their new home, and what price they’re comfortable with. Without personal selling skills, it’s hard for a real estate agent to communicate with buyers, not to mention selling.

Now that you’ve understood the importance of personal selling. It’s time to apply the tips above to implement this type of selling into your sales process.

Try Revenue Grid to get started with personal selling today:

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