As we saw in the Personal Selling Tutorial, many sales positions do not include a strong emphasis on generating customer sales, rather these positions help meet promotional objectives in other ways, such as communicating with people who influence the final buyer, responding to customer-initiated inquiry (e.g., customer carrying product to a retail counter) or serving as support for the organization’s sales team.
Yet, for a large percentage of marketers seeking the benefits of personal selling as a promotional tool, success is measured in terms of products sold as a direct result of personal selling efforts (i.e., order getters). For this reason it is important that all marketers fully understand how order-generated selling occurs.
Additionally, understanding the selling process is beneficial for many others who do not view themselves in sales roles. For instance, a product manager must convince the VP of Marketing to fund a major market research study. Though what the product manager must do may seem far removed from what most people perceive as selling, the key is whether one person is persuading another person to make a decision. Whether it is convincing someone to make a purchase, accept a point-of-view, change attitudes or an infinite number of other behavioral decisions, it all comes down to mastering persuasive communication or selling.
In this part of our Principles of Marketing Tutorials we take a detailed look at the activities involved in personal selling. While most of what is covered concerns the activities salespeople undertake when a principle part of their responsibilities includes obtaining orders, the information presented can be valuable for anyone who finds themselves in need of guidance in handling persuasive situations.