PERSONAL SELLING DEFINED
There is no adequate definition of the word “personal selling“. It is muddled with marketing of which it is a big part, and sometime restricted in achieving company objectives.
Therefore, to effect sale promotion neither publicity will it be enough in disseminating information and creating interest in goods and service. And in most case, personal contacts are important. For instance, there are many buyers (users) today that may not be exposed to advertisement messages carried across on a particular brand of product or neither will they know the technicality of such product, say . It is goal directed behaviour on the part of salesmen to carefully explain the physical attributes of the product to the buyers.
Personal selling may be defined as the oral presentation of oneself in conversation with one or more prospective purchasers for the purpose or making sales. It should not be confused with salesmanship. Salesmanship is the employment of men and women who determine the needs of the potential buyers and try to persuade these prospects to satisfy their requirements through the purchase of the goods and services. Therefore, personal selling is physically directed at the ultimate customer, who could be a wholesaler, a retailer, or the actual users, depending on the choice of channel of distribution available. The sales representative should try as much as possible to maintain his distributional channel in which they are assigned.
DEMARCATION BETWEEN PERSONAL SELLING AND ADVERTISING
Knowing very well what personal selling is from the above paragraphs, which implicit are among the control variable of marketing mix, that are used in pursuing sales efficiently and effectively. It will therefore be awkward to hear people saying they are the same, whereas advertising are primarily means of making goods and services (products) known. In other word, it is the use of non personal source to inform the market of the existing goods and service.
Many advertising have been criticized in several ways, but not so with all advertisements and much of its are practically useful in achieving the objectives of many organisations. So, therefore they are never a waste pipe to many organization. Advertising has the following justification to continue to exist in our business today and forever.
Advertising helps to bring product whose existence may not be fetched by our prospective purchasers or consumers. Therefore, they are the life-wire for any businesses that need to stand firmly.
Advertising is primarily aimed at increasing the demand of product. If this is true, then the manufacturers can now turn it to engineering for last minute modification and finally making it available to customers.
Advertising may lead to higher levels of employment. Definitely, over65 percent of the labour force today bulldozed their way through advertisement message.
Advertising is not the root cause to inflation, advertising is a distributional cost just the same as salesman’s salaries, trade discount, packaging, guarantee, warehousing, and delivery costs. It has been agreed upon by all marketers that everything which may happen to a product once it is made becomes a distribution cost and must be added to its price.
The most popular press (Nigeria observer) today rests and balances it’s strength on income got from advertising. It could be energy exhausting for any one to crucify advertising of its notable functions which have done more good than harm. There is an adage which says “A song need not to be blamed but the singer”. Those who feel ‘ they are cheated by advertisement message’s should better forget it.
PUBLIC RELATIONS SEPARATED FROM PERSONAL SELLING.
Public Relations generally aim at educating the market, (general public) indirectly. Some popular authors deemed it to be “Psychology-Coated advertising pill”. Believe me or not they exist in any organisation like Schools, Churches, Private and Public organization, infact it is even found in the whole body polity. They posses certain differentiated characters like the reactions of some elements in chemistry which cannot be separated none destroy.
According to former chief Examiner of London chamber of commerce and industry Mr. Frank Jefkin’s definition, “public Relations as what the people say-relations with the public. It therefore produces that intangible quality of goodwill and earns credit for achievement”.
The British institute of public Relations Crowns the definition of PR practice as: “The deliberate, planned, and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organization and its public”
The “Key word of this definition of PR is “understanding. Advertising will be wasteful if the public have not been totally educated to an extent to believe the organization and its products.
SNAPPING MARKETING FROM PERSONAL SELLING
Marketing is the totality of both public Relations, Advertising, personal selling, and sales promotion which are within management control variable. I continue to wonder why some popular Authors simply defined marketing as the movement of goods from point of production to the consumer. Marketing itself implies combination of research, experience, and intuition. And, it has been confirmed that. Marketing starts from customers and ends with customers. This means that marketing starts with research and development goes through after-sales-services and maintenance of customers’ interest and loyalty.
The world leading of marketing (institute of marketing) defined it as a management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirement profitably.
WHEN TO USE PERSONAL SELLING IN AN ORGANISATION
Basically, Personal contact could be used in the following ways, but product itself is the dominant force. These are:
Products are physically graded into two major categories in sales management. These are the consumer goods and the industrial goods. Product that may require further explanation to the ultimate users like car, should be marketed by personal contacts and this will enhance or stimulate the interest of the buyers. Though, in many instances personal contact may also be used in selling consumer product like bread. But, more conventionally, personal contact is used in selling industrial products. Market consideration may be discussed under three significant headings:
The per unit margin of a product also has bearing on whether to favour personal contact or advertising media (Above-the-line). The per unit margin is defined as the differences between manufacturer cost and it’s price. When the per unit margin is high then personal contact will be stressed. But, product that carries low margin and which may not be sufficient to pay salesmen’s salary, advertising should be used. For example, if the cost of circulating say “observer” is only one thousand naira; the cost per contact will be only MO.2, if advertising should costs two hundred naira i.e
Market that are geographically dispersed will be difficult for a salesman to cover. And, to cover such scattered area needs a lot of money to compensate the sales-force. There is also the danger of communication system. Although, in recent years the use of G.S.M. has come to stay in Nigeria. But, not so through in all African countries. Therefore, Advertising will be the best medium of reaching the total market. Market that are concentrated needs personal contact. Industrial market are more concentrated then consumer goods in terms of location.
Stage in buying pr6cess can also determine whether personal contact or Advertising will be the best method of reaching the market. It was excellently agreed that in the early stage of a product i.e the introductional stage, Advertising is the best medium of reaching the market. Once the product has be established in the market, personal contact will be relevant.
A company that is financially viable needs more salesman than a company which dwindle financially- This is so because companies that are financially buoyant has the necessary money to settle salesforce salary and other related expenses.
Time is another significant factor to consider. When a company is in a critical and limited time, personal contact may not be the best means or reaching the market, Personal contact will only be the best method of getting to the total market if the time is not crucial and limited.
Goods are produced by manufacturer not for his own use but for the interest of the public (consumers). Therefore, it will be disastrous for any organization to produce goods which cannot be bought or sold. Sales Research is necessary in order to assess the level of demand of the product’s, an adage says: “To promote sales adequately is to consider the future of such products that have been established in the market, and to think of its future is to start gathering all the latest news of the products concerned”. It is practical that every management balances and relies on adequate information to base its decision without which it may not stand.
The scope of this type of research technique embraces all inclusive activities carried out by sales department. Generally, this type of research is connected with the analysis of habits of customer’s behavior as regard their purchasing pattern. Other significant areas of coverage are knowing sales territory, allocation °f manpower, remuneration of salesman, and also the use of premiums and other sales stimulant- These type of research technique may either be carried out in time of lagging or testing the suitability Pf the product in the market. Sales research should always be carried out by well known expert in the field, and who may have attained the ability of interpreting data and formulation of idea’s. I will like to warn here that salesman should not be used in gathering raw data as this may deviate them from their primly assignments. And, they may also give information that will please themselves (biased).