The Nature of Personal Selling

People hold many stereotypes of salespeople. 'Salesman' may bring to mind the image of Arthur Miller's pitiable Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman or .Meredith Willson's cigar-smoking, back-slapping, joke-telling Harold I Jill in The .Music Man. Both examples depict salespeople as loners travelling their territories trying to foist their wares on unsuspecting or unwilling buyers.

However, modern salespeople are a far cry from these unfortunate stereotypes. Today, most salespeople are well-educated, Well-trained professionals who work to build and maintain long-term relationships with eusto.tners. They build relationships by listening to their customers, assessing customer needs and organizing the company's efforts to solve customer problems. Consider the case of IBM, which shows that it takes more than a friendly smile and a firm handshake to sell expensive computer systems. It also takes more than convincing sales presentations to win customers' trust in the company's products and services. Customers these days expect their suppliers to take an interest in their company, to understand their problems and to work closely with them to find solutions to these problems.

The term salesperson covers a wide range of positions. At one extreme, a salesperson might be largely an order taker, such as a department store salesperson standing behind the counter. At the other extreme are the order getters, salespeople whose job demands the creative selling of products and services ranging from appliances, industrial equipment or aeroplanes to insurance, advertising or consulting services. Other salespeople engage in missionary selling, whereby they are not expected or permitted to take an order, but only build goodwill or educate buyers. An example is a salesperson for a pharmaceutical company who calls on doctors to educate them about the company's drug products and to urge them to prescribe these products to their patients. Or there are salespeople whose position is to supply technical knowledge to the buyer, as in engineering salespeople who act as consultants to client companies. In this chapter, we focus on the more creative types of selling and on the process of building and managing an effective sales force.


An individual acting fur a company by performing one or mure of the folio-wing activities: prospecting, communicating, servicing and information gathering.

The term 'Salesperson' covers a uncle range of jobs, from shop assistant to sales staff involved in consulting with client companies.
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