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THE ROLE OF PERSONAL SELLING IN A SERVICE DELIVERY ORGANISATION. 1.

0 INTRODUCTION: Marketing has been defined as a business system designed to plan, price, promote and distribute want-satisfying goods and services to present and potential customers. In other words, there is marketing of products as well as marketing of services. Certain individuals may believe that there is no such thing as service marketing in which the service element is greater than the product element. In its broadest term, it may be true that product marketing and service marketing are the same. But there are often substantial similarities as well as significant differences in the two concepts.

Moreso, the aim of every marketing effort is to increase profitable sales by offering want satisfaction to the target market at both short and long run time frame. Personal selling has however been adjudged the best method to achieve this marketing objective. Personal selling creates more job opportunities than any other promotional tool. It consist of individuals and personal communication in contrast to the mass, impersonal communication of advertising, sales promotion and the other promotional tools, hence it has the advantage of being more flexible in operation. 1.1 PERSONAL SELLING: Personal selling is the interpersonal arm of the promotion mix. It is the only promotional mix element that involves two-way personal communication between the seller (sale force) and the buyer (target audience). This could be done face to face, by telephone, through video conferencing or by another means. In other words, personal selling is the presentation of goods or services to the target market by a sales person and building customer relationships. On the other hand, presentation is the step in selling process in which the sales person/force tells the product story to the buyer, showing how the product will make or save money for the buyer. In some difficult or complex selling environment, personal selling is always preferable because the sales force can adjust the marketing offer to suit the special needs of the situation and re-negotiate the sales terms. The sales person or sales force can probe customers to learn more about their problems , however, the modern sales persons or service rendering organizations adopt a certain approach to achieve their marketing objectives. Whereas there is no one best way to personal selling, most organizations adopt a customer oriented approach. That is the sales force identifies customers needs and gives solution to them. In other words, the modern sales person believes that customer needs provide sales opportunities because customers usually remain loyal to those organisations or marketers who they believe have their long term interest at heart. Suffice to say that the problem-solver sales person fits better with the philosophy of marketing concept.

the sales person has the challenge or task of identifying good ones. The sales person should also learn as much as possible about the organization. It is actually intended to attract the prospect’s attention. However. that is. However. hold interest and arouse desire such as. APPROACH: This is the step in which the sales force meets and greets the potential customers to get the relationship off to a good start.2 STEPS IN PERSONAL SELLING: In other to achieve the goals of personal selling on either service delivery organisation or elsewhere. what it needs. Handling objections 6./ The sales force must be informed on the nature of completion. there are certain fundamental steps which the salesperson must follow in hi/her selling process. the sales person can still ask the existing customers for leads (that is. Presentation and demonstration 5. That is closing the sale. introduce oneself and state what you are selling. These steps are. the sales person must first of all identify qualified potential customers. 1. . (i) Greet the prospect. of all the qualified leads. It involves the sales force appearance.1. PRESALE PREPARATION: This is the build up or chain of events that lead to a sale. Approach 4. Prospecting and qualifying 2. the names of prospects) or search for names through newspapers or directories or often join clubs or organisations to which prospects belong. hold his or her interest while building a desire for the product and consequently an action is taken. Presale preparation 3. PROSPECTING AND QUALIFYING: For effective personal selling efforts. Suffice to say that presales approach is the step in the selling process in which the sales force learns as much as possible about a prospective customer before making a sales call. the business condition prevalent in their territories. Follow up. several approaches are recommended to attract attention. its buying characteristics and buying styles. While the company can provide some leads in this direction. In other words the sales force is given product training made to acquaint himself/herself with the market situation as well as tutored on the techniques of selling. opening ramarks and follow up remarks.

that is. flip charts. the right approach might be to start out with a reference to the referee before stating what one is selling. Normally. the sales force tries to close the sle and write up an order The salesperson may ask certain questions in this regards such as “Do you prefer the blue colour model or the red type” and when would you want it delivered to you? FOLLOW UP OR POST SALE ACTIVITIES: An effective selling job does not end when the order is written up. PRESENTATION AND DEMOSTRATION: A situation whereby the sales force tells the story of the product to the potential buyer . HANDLING OBJECTION: Presentation and demonstration session in selling process always provoke certain questions which desire thoughtful answers. while the sales force describes the product features more concentration is placed on customer benefits. showing how the product will make or save money for the buyer. This is also known as “Joe Sent” me approach. the sales force must first of all know the potential customer needs. (iv)A sales person to walk in and handover the product to the prospect and while the prospect looks over the product.(ii) If the sales force was referred to the prospect by a customer. sales person can now start the sales presentation. Notwithstanding. sales success depends upon repeat business or purchase and a satisfied customer will always be ready to give lead to other potential customers or prospects. 2. The objections raised by the potential customer could be logical or psychological but it affords the sales person the opportunity to provide more information on the products and to turn the objection to more reasons why the buyer should patronise him or her.0 SERVICE PROVIDING ORGANISATIONS: . that is cognitive dissonance. (iii)The other approach might be by making a startling statement. the sales person should use positive approach to profer solutions to the objections. The post purchase or post sale services can build customer goodwill and lay the grand work for many years of profitable business relations. video tapes and discs as well as product samples. It is also intended to reduce the customers post purchase anxiety. Here again. CLOSE-UP: After explaining the product and its benefits. The sales presentation can be improved with demonstration aids such as booklets.

Moreso. it is nearly impossible to standardize completely the output of one seller. 2. service organisations are those which do not have as their principal aim the production of tangible products which buyers will possess permanently. Airlines. services are first sold then produced and consumed at the same time. an airline cannot give the same quality of service on each trip nor two different airlines give the . 2.1 WHAT THEN IS SERVICE? According to Philip Kotler and Gary Armstrong (1986) a service is any activity or benefit that one party can offer to another that is essentially intangible and does not result in the ownership of anything. To produce a service may or may not require the use of tangible goods. perishability and fluctuating demand.2 CHARACTERISTICS OF SERVICES There are certain characteristics peculiar to services which make them substantially different from those found in products. Heterogeneity – It is a difficult task in a service industry to output or result among several sellers of presumably the same service. For instance. Insurance and etc. This is to say that both provider and customer affect the service outcome. Stanton (1978) defined services as those separately identifiable. when such use is required. there is no transfer of the title to these tangible goods. Military. see . In other words. Such characteristics are intangibility. it is said that the physical products are first produced then stored. heterogeneity. In fact. It is also almost impossible for customers or potential customers to taste. Mosques. it may be true that product marketing and service marketing are the same but at the same time significant differences do exist between them. Banks. the service provider’s task should be to make the service tangible in ne or more ways. Therefore. However. Fire Service etc while the private and non profit organisations offer services through Churches. feel. Intangibility – Services are essentially not tangible. not only are there traditional service industries but also new ones keep propping up daily. In other words. essentially intangible activities which provide want satisfaction and which are not necessarily tied to the sale of a product or another services.In the broadest term. Police. later sold and still consumed whereas. patronage of services is based on trust of the sales force who rather lay more emphasis on the benefits derivable from the services than the service itself. For instance. government offer services through Courts. service marketers try to add tangibles to their intangible offers. Hospitals. hear or smell services before they buy them. Services are growing even faster in the world economy today whereas service industries vary greatly. Hotels. inseparability. Inseparability – Service inseparability means that services cannot be separated from their providers whether the providers are people or machines. William J. It is often said that while product marketers try to add intangibles to their tangible offers.

On the other hand. by telephone etc. carry out market research and intelligent work as well as fill out sales call reports. Furthermore the market for services fluctuates considerably by seasons. They as well develop marketing strategies and plans. they also are concerned with producing customer satisfaction and company profit. . unused electricity power and empty seats in a stadium represent businesses which are lost forever. They find and develop new customers and communicate information about the company’s products and services.same quality of service. The sales force or personal selling serves as a critical link between a company and its target audience. For example. sales force or personal selling represent the company to customers. answering and handling objections on the spot. It has been argued that advertising consists of one way. They relay customers concern about company services back to those who can handle them. They learn about customer needs and work with others in the company to develop greater customer value. use of city buses fluctuates greatly during the day. Perishability and Fluctuating demand – Services are majorly perishable hence the chances of being stored is very slim. The sales force is often regarded as relationship mangers between the organisation and customers. Sales persons. sales persons represent customers to the company. They sell their company services by approaching customers presenting their services and products. Beyond winning new customers and making sales. The sales force is also concerned with more than producing sales. whether face to face.0 THE ROLE OF PERSONAL SELLING IN SERVICE DELIVERY ORGANISATIONS: Selling is one of the oldest professions in the world while personal selling is the interpersonal arm of promotion mix and its role in service delivery organisations vary greatly from one company to another. In some organisations it plays and important behind the scene role in which case customers rarely know about the company. Therefore. pricing and promotion challenges to the chief executives of service organisations. negotiating prices and terms and consequently closing sales. They provide services to customers. It becomes more problematic when you consider the fact that it is difficult to judge the quality of a service. they help their organisations to create long term profitable relationships with customers. by days of the week and by hours of the day. in a serviced delivery organisation personal selling builds goodwill as well as educating the audience. The combination of the above factors offers product planning. 3. For instance. non-personal communication with the target audience and in contrast personal selling involves a two-way personal communication between the sales force and individual customer or potential customers.

yet sales force can perform for management many other services which are not strictly selling jobs. because sales persons can tailor their sales presentations to fit the needs. Philip Kotler & Gary Armstrong. William J. 3. Though personal selling sustains a high costs. personal selling has advantage of being more flexible in operation. 1996 2. motives and behaviour of individual customers. Stanton. More importantly sales people can see the customers reactions to be particular sales approach and then make the necessary adjustments right on the spot. Compared with other promotional tools. References: 1.Moreover. 1978 Please put the name of Adeleke the way it is in his marketing text book we used in year 3 and the name of the text book. Personal selling is by far the major promotional method used to achieve long term marketing objective of profitable sales.1 . Personal selling also allows for a minimum of wasted efforts. it can be used to make the actual sales. Perhaps the most important role of personal selling is its ability to increasing efficiency in service industries by its personal ministration and attendance on others. the burden of intangibility of services mainly falls on the company’s sales force or personal selling who must on the benefits to be derived from the service rather than emphasising the service itself to customers. In most cases.