The basics of personal selling for entrepreneurs

Personal selling means selling a product or service directly to customers, highlighting product or service features and persuading the customer to buy.

Benefits of personal selling

This face-to-face type of selling is very common in the initial stages of business to get your product or service seen and known — especially for retail businesses. Although it can be very costly (because it’s so labour-intensive) it’s also very credible, clear and focused on your target market.

Tips for face-to-face sales

To be effective, the customer has to be interested first. You can help this along by letting people know that you have a product or service that can meet their needs and offer a solution.

Next, determine what needs to happen for this customer to buy what you’re selling. It’s important to ask the customer what they’d like included with the product or service, or particular elements or characteristics that they’d like to see. Be sure to meet your customer’s conditions and requirements when producing and selling your product.

Aside from meeting conditions, you must also address your customer’s hesitations. Assess your offerings honestly and consider some of the “turn-offs” or downsides to your product or service, and be sure to come up with ways of improving or defending any potential concerns or objections that your customer may have. Be sure to answer questions persuasively and comfort concerns.

To close the sale, avoid letting the customer leave with an excuse or a conditional promise. Ask them directly how they’d like to pay for the product or service, or book an appointment for delivery.

Finally, to satisfy the customer and encourage loyalty, perform post-sales activities and follow-up to ensure customer satisfaction.

Personal selling is a particularly important method for business-to-business customers. Salespeople are the face of your small business, so make sure they’re well-trained, know your products or services, and know how to develop a solution to your customer’s problems.

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