Meaning and Definition of Salesmanship

Salesmanship / Personal Selling

Salesmanship is just persona selling – negotiating, emphasizing inducing and making the prospective buyer to take a decision in favor of going for the product being offered to him. In the words of W.G. Carter, “salesmanship is an attempt to induce people to buy goods.” Today salesmanship is ot only an effort to induce the people to buy. Instead, to put in the words of Whitehead, it is “the an of presenting art offering that the prospect appreciates the need for it and that a mutually satisfactorily sale follows.” The mutual satisfaction is greatly emphasized in an salesmanship. W. Major Scot has regarded that “It is a part of a salesman’s business to create demand by demonstrating that the need does exist, although before his visit there was no consciousness of that need.” On Salesmanship G. Blake writes that “salesmanship consists of winning the buyer’s confidence for the seller’s house and goods thereby winning a regular and permanent customers.” Emphasizing on lasting satisfaction. Paul W. Ivey defines the term salesmanship as “the art of persuading people to purchase goods which will give off lasting satisfactions.”


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Thus, Salesmanship is an art of winning over the buyer’s confidence so that a permanent goodwill may be built and a lasting satisfaction may be given to him when he goes the product offered to him.


Significance of Personal Selling or Salesmanship

Personal selling is a promotional tool and an element of promotional mix which occupies a pivotal role in the distribution of goods and services to the existing and prospective buyer. A salesman is a friend and a guide of the consumer and a supporter and an aid to the producer. A salesman helps the producer and consumer in the following ways:

It is a Flexible tool

Personal selling is a flexible tool in promoting sales and can adopt to the need of specific buyer. Salesman can present his ideas or message to fit the needs of the buyer. His presentation is different in each case tailored to suit the buyer. He can observe the customer’s reaction to a particular sales approach and makes necessary adjustment in his way of presentation right o the spot.


It Involves Minimum Wasted Efforts

In personal selling, the salesman directly attacks the target market and concentrate on the prospective customers. A salesman does not waste his efforts if he thinks that the person to whom he is talking is not a real prospect.

It Results in Actual Sales

Personal selling is complementary to advertising and promotion technique. Advertising and promotion techniques can only attract attention of the customers and arouse desire to purchase the goods. They simply create demand. Personal selling converts that demand into actual sale by persuading the people to buy the product. A salesman answers the doubts of the prospective buyer and convince aim to purchase the goods.


It Provides Feedback

Advertisement provides information about the product and the producer but does not provide any information about the tastes and mood of the consumers. The personal selling provides two way communication between the buyer and seller. Apart from providing information to the buyer about the product and producer, it provides knowledge about the tastes, habits, and attitudes of the prospective buyers. Any complaint about the firm or its product may be prospective buyers. Any complaint about the firm or its product may be registered with the salesman as the basis, the company can determine the strengths and weaknesses of the marketing programme.

Advantages to Consumers

A salesman helps the consumers in many ways. He informs the customers about the new products introduced the market, by suggesting to him the use of a product that will best satisfy his needs by awakening and kindling various needs and convening then into needs. The purchaser thinks himself an honorable person in whom the producer is interested. If consumer has any doubt about the product, its use etc., he can ask the seller of the doubt about and remove it to his satisfaction.


Despite the various advantages, personal selling has a number of limitations. First, personal selling is the costliest element of the promotional mix. Cost per customer is very high because of one of one nature of selling. Secondly, Personal selling can accommodate only a limited number of consumers at a given time because he can attend only one customer at a given time. Thirdly, it is quite ineffective for creating consumer awareness about a product or service. This role is better assumed by advertising. Finally, Personal selling on the retail level, has poor image in the eyes of the consumers. It is criticized for lack of honesty, strong pressures sales tactics, poor knowledge etc.

Step in the process of personal selling (Salesmanship)

The process of personal selling consists of the following steps:

Pre-Sale Preparation

The first step in personal selling is the preparation of sales person. The sales persons must be properly selected trained and motivated for the job. They must be fully familiar with the producer, the product, the market and the selling techniques. They must be fully aware of the motivation and behavior of the people who are the prospective consumers. They should also be well informed about the nature of competition and the nature of competitors products.

Prospecting or Locating the Prospective Buyers: It refers to locating the potential buyers for the product and satisfactorial buyers for the product and satisfactorily screen them to make sure that their sales efforts will not go waste. He should examine the need of the buyers and their ability of capacity to buy the product. It should always be remembered that every one cannot be a prospect. A sales person should thoroughly examine the records of the part and resent customers in his efforts to determine the characteristics of his prospects. He should also tap other sources of information.


Before calling on the prospects, the sales person should try to get information about their number, habits, spending capacity, motives, etc. He should know what product or brand they are using. After collecting such information, she should approach the customer in a polite and dignified way and introduce himself and his product to the prospective customers. He should not be over-clever or deceptive at this stage. A counter-sales person should be very careful in attending the customer. If he is busy in attending some other person, he should assure the new customer that the would be attended very soon. He should be careful in his first impression.


The sales person, under this step, has to gain the customers attention. For this purpose, he should present his product and describe its characteristics in brief. He should understand the attitude of the prospect and match with his attitude so that he may be able to hold his attention and create interest in the product. There is no specific approach which will be successful in all cases.


Demonstration is one of the bet methods of presentation. If necessary, the salesperson should display and demonstrate the working of the product. He should explain and describe the utility of the product in brief through demonstration so that prospect realizes the need for the product to satisfy his wants. He should not be in a hurry to impress the customer and should avoid any controversy. He may suggest uses of the product and may create and impulsive urge to posses the co-monody, by appealing to human instinct.

Handling Objections

As every customer wants to make a best bargain for the money he is spending, presentation and demonstration of the product are likely to create some doubts and objections in the minds of the prospects. The sales person should be ready to clear all doubts and queries if the prospects without losing his temper. Handling objections tactfully helps in convincing the customers.

Closing the Sale

Making customer agree to buy goods and services means closing the sale. It is not in easy risk. The sales person should not force the prospect to buy but he should let the consumer feel that he has made the final decision. He should guide the customer that he has made the right choice. Some adjustment in price or other concession may sometimes be necessary for a successful closing. During presentation, the sales person should try a trial close in which he or she asks certain queries that assume that the prospect will purchase. But later on, he may change his mind by getting more information. In such cases, sales are lost because of the failure of the salesman to ask for the order.

Once the prospect has purchased the goods, the salesperson should show and suggest an allied product. For instance, if a customer purchases a shirt, the sales person should ask him to purchase the handkerchief, socks, etc.

Follow up

After closing a sale, follow up is a must. It refers to the activities undertaken to ensure the customer that be has taken the right decision of buying the product. These activities include installation of the products, checking and testing its smooth performance, maintenance and after sale service. It helps building long-term relationship with the customer.

Essential-requisites of effective salesmanship

Salesmanship is a highly skilled professional and like any other profession, it demand a very high degree of proficiency in its practice. Salesmanship is an art of persuasion. Convincing and bringing amount the viewpoint is the job which the salesman has to do to effect a sale. It is a the most difficult task to solicit one’s approval for a particular product and then ask him to part away his hard earned money. Salesmanship, thus, sell satisfaction. Unless he satisfied, no one will accept him as a man who is practicing the art of salesmanship. For practicing this art, one should know the fundamentals (requisites) of success in the art of salesmanship. The following fundamental requisites are enumerated here under:

Knowledge of self

One should know himself and his own abilities and personality before embarking upon to do a particular job. It is important to know own self an own sales personality. It is well known fact that the customer comes into contact the salesman before he knows other details about the product etc. The salesman himself should first be saleable. His personality, his distinct qualities, his cheerful disposition – all attracts the customer. True no sales-personality can be perfect but for being a successful salesman one should have the following personal qualities:

Knowledge of Product

After knowledge of own self and own sales personality the next fundamental is the knowledge of the product the salesman is selling. Physical deficiency, if there is any can be quickly forgotten by the customer, but if the salesman is in a position to show his thorough knowledge of the line which he is representing, this will satisfy the customer. customers must know bewildered of the variety, type, design, nature and functions of new products that they have no alternative but to depend upon the guidance and of the salesman. It is because of this that it is required that the salesman should fully know the product he is dealing in. He should remove all doubts and objections of the customers about the entity of the product.

Knowledge of Company

The company and its organizational structure, objectives, philosophy and policies must be known to the salesman who is going to deal in the product of the company. In fact salesman first sells himself then his company and then after the company’s product. The policy in relation to sales promotion is of prime importance to the salesman. He approaches his customer with confidence if he knows his company satisfactorily well. After all he is the representative of the company, and therefore, he must truly represent the firm.

Knowledge of Competitors

A salesman must have complete knowledge of the competitors products became customers very often compare the products of difficult manufacturers. Sales person should be aware of the positive and negative points of competitors products, their sales policies, their brands, and prices etc. So that he may satisfy the customers well.

Knowledge of Customers

The customer is to be approached. Before he is approached and prospecting is done the salesman must size-up the prospect as quickly and correctly as is possible. It is because the salesman has to motivate and that to rightly and satisfactorily. At the same time his aim should be to win him permanently and positively. Here the training and skill as well his art is put to test. In this test he can come up with flying colors if he knows him as completely as his professional necessity asks him to know his customers. The salesman may be pleasing ad smart, the product he is dealing in may be excellent, the company he represents has sufficient goodwill but if the handling of the customer is weak and clumsy and will of course no value. A salesman must know atleast as to what motivates his customer, what is his nature, habits, likings and disliking, what is the nature of his requirements and how he should proceed with him. This knowledge naturally will help him a lot in dealing successfully with his customer.

Knowledge of the Techniques of Selling

Knowledge of oneself, owns selling personality, product and its utility, customers and his full personality will go waste if effective selling technique is not adopted by the salesman in prospecting, motivating and selling to the customer. It is necessary on the part of salesman to see that the prospective customer is well attended, his requirements are fully known to him, he is prepared to help his customers in all the matters and ensure that his customer is fully satisfied. This is which the selling technique requires from the salesman.

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