Some salespeople are not engaged in direct selling activities at all. That is, they do not sell directly to the person who is the ultimate purchaser for their product. Instead these salespeople concentrate on selling activity that targets those who influence purchases made by the final customer and include:
- Missionary – The primary example of an order influencer is the missionary salesperson. These salespeople are used in industries where customers make purchases based on the advice or requirements of others. Two industries in which missionary selling is commonly found are pharmaceuticals, where salespeople, known as product detailers, discuss products with doctors (influencers) who then write prescriptions for their patients (final customer) and higher education, where salespeople call on college professors (influencers) who make requirements to students (final customer) for specific textbooks.
- Word-of-Mouth Promotion – As we noted in the Types of Promotion Tutorial, a new form of personal selling relies on real people to help spread the word about a product. Dubbed buzz marketing, this promotion method is similar to missionary selling in that the promoter does not actually sell the product but it differs from missionary selling as the promoter talks directly to the customer. Additionally, those selling are often not employees of either the product marketer or the company who is running the word-of-mouth campaign. Instead, they may be real people who are recruited and offered an incentive (e.g., free product) to help spread the word.