Personal selling refers to the process whereby a business uses its employees, usually called sales representatives or salespersons, to conduct face to face meetings with the prospective customers with the aim of convincing the customers to purchase a company’s products or services. The meetings with the sales representatives can be formal or informal. Companies use formal sales meetings in most cases where the customer stands a chance of purchasing products on a large scale such as on a contract basis. Such meetings are usually planned and often take place in an area where the client is most familiar with such as the client’s office or at his/her favorite restaurant. On the other hand, informal personal sales meetings are unplanned. The sales persons interact with people randomly in the society without any prior planning, and they convince such prospective customers to purchase a good or service. Such sales usually pertain small volumes of sales. However, the customers can occasionally make large volumes of sales from a firm as a result of informal personal selling.
Personal selling offers some advantages over other selling techniques. Firstly, it gives the salesperson an opportunity to adjust the message delivered to individual customers according to that customer’s particular needs. As a result, the message conveyed to one consumer may be different from the message conveyed to another consumer depending on individual preferences and needs of the consumers. Secondly, personal selling also provides an opportunity for a two-way advertising process. As the sales person engages in conversation with the individual customers, he gets feedback from such customers. Such a conversation allows the sales representative to address specific requirements of the customers in a product. Furthermore, personal generates a feeling of trust in the product or service offered by the company.
However, personal advertising also has disadvantages. Firstly, the personal nature of the selling process limits the number of people that the method can be used to reach. Subsequently, some individuals in the society would be omitted by the advertising as they do not interact with the sales person. Secondly, personal advertising is the most costly advertising method as it requires the company to undertake personal meetings with all its prospective clients. Each meeting incurs a cost, and the cumulative cost is larger than the cost of other methods of advertising.