Most effective promotional element for products and services that require the development of relationships, demonstration or persuasion. The key role of personal selling is the development, organisation and completion of a sale in a market exchange based transaction. The company’s heavy reliance on online sales differentiates it from the traditional market leaders and reduces costs. Interactive marketing provides marketers with opportunities for much greater interaction and individualization through well-designed Web sites as well as online ads and promotions.
Interactivitiy one of the key characteristics of personal selling. Personal selling can increasingly be conducted electronically. Companies have found that they can remain effective – even increase effectiveness – by building a strong Web presence. The high-cost and poor-reach disadvantages of personal selling can be negated. On the positive side, websites have been used quite effectively to enhance and support the selling effort. As noted earlier, the Web has become a primary source of information for millions of customers in the consumer markets.
Visitors to websites can gain volumes of information about a company’s products and services. In return, the visitors become a valuable resource for leads that both internal and external salespersons can follow up, and they become part of a prospect database. Not only can potential customers learn about the company’s offerings, but the selling organization can serve and qualify prospects more cost-effectively. Some companies have used the Internet to improve their one-on-one relationships with customers.
By providing more information in a more timely and efficient manner, a company enables customers to learn more about what it has to offer. This increases the opportunity for cross-selling and customer retention. In addition, by providing a website, companies can improve their response times to inquiries as well as complaints, thereby improving customer service. In a well-designed IMC program, the Internet and personal selling are designed to be complementary tools—working together to increase sales. It appears that more and more companies are coming to this realization.
Sellers and buyers enter negotiations at a formal level as negotiations proceed so the two parties adjust their roles and the likelihood of mutual exchange increase to give way to more informal ones. The effectiveness of personal selling can be tracked against the purchase-decision process. Here consumer can be assumed to move from a state of awareness through product comprehension to purchase. Personal selling is most effective at promoting action and purchase behaviour. When personal selling works best: • Market is concentrated – yes Product has high unit value, technical in nature and requires personal demonstration • Product can be tailored • No money for ad campaign • Intro stage of life cycle Strengths: • It can be adapted for individual customers. • It can be focused on prospective customers. • It results in the actual sale, while most other forms of promotion are used in moving the customer closer to the sale. Weaknesses: • It is costly to develop and operate a sales force. • It may be difficult to attract high-calibre people.