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Personal Selling Vs Direct Marketing, and Tips to Building Effective Personal Selling

Personal selling is an approach of seller efforts to sell products and develop a relationship with a specific customer. Sometimes, it is also known as face-to-face selling, the idea is to get to know the customer, assess their needs, and then you can tailor their specific wants and needs to secure a unique selling proposition in that particular market segment. So, you will meet less competition.

The idea behind this personal selling marketing is to present the sale as a way to help the customer achieve their goals with the use of the products or services offered by you.

The process of personal selling is very different from other marketing methods, such as mass marketing. With this type of sales technique, one-to-one marketing is essential that emphasizes company having a personalized customer journey. 

This creates a situation where the customer has the opportunity to explore the product. If customers feel connected to the products and feel that you are genuinely interested in helping choose the products they need and not just selling, there is an increased possibility of building trust. As a result, you can collect valuable clues about what is important to the customer, such as features, price, and customer's wants and needs.

What is Personal Selling?

Personal selling, as the name suggests, is a marketing technique in which the seller seeks to develop relationships with customers and uses communication and negotiation skills to close the sale of a product or service.

Personal Selling Vs Direct Marketing

Personal selling occurs when seller has a conversation with a potential customer. While, direct marketing involves using campaign materials like emails, text messages, flyers, catalogs, letters, and postcards and does not involve interacting directly with customers.

Personal selling requires an oral presentation from the seller to somehow make the sale of the product. At first, the dialogue between seller and the potential customer seems to be an attempt to make the person aware of the product, but the end of the process usually takes the form of a deliberate attempt to close a sale .

Below are the difference between personal selling and direct marketing:

  1. Personal selling is more about offering complex products and services, such as financial software.
  2. Direct marketing is a sales technique that involves a seller selling products or services directly to customer through phone calls, emails, offers in newspapers and magazines, etc.
  3. Direct marketing is more aggressive than personal selling, and its purpose to make customer interested in the information of products or services at first.

Strategies of Personal Selling

Today, businesses are increasingly struggling to be successful and stay competitive. With more competitors, ever more varied communication channels, and ever-refined marketing tools, have become real challenges for industry.

To ensure the sustainability of your company in the medium and long term, you must prepare effective personal selling strategy.

The personal selling process is a seven step approach, namely prospecting, pre-approach, approach, presentation, meeting objections, closing the sale, and follow-up. And this is tips to building a good personal selling strategy.

1. Identify the profile of your typical customer

Rule 80/20 of business, is of ten used to point out that 80% of a business's revenue is generated by only 20% of customers. It is therefore essential to know who this 20% of customers are.

Analyze the profile and behavior of your customers: identify those who spend the most money, loyal customers who have bought your products more than once, or those who use the shortest sales cycle.

In this way, you will be able to establish your customer profile or "target market profile": group of age, professional roles, demographics, desires, and passions.

Once you know your ideal customer, your sales reps will just have to target prospects who match the profile to be more effective and reach more sales.

2. Start a SWOT analysis

To implement an effective sales strategy, you need to know your environment and the strengths and weaknesses of your business by using SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis.

So you can get advantages of your strengths to seize the opportunities. By studying the market, you can identify your competition and become aware of the weaknesses and threats your business may face. So, you can do everything to deal with it.

3. Define your action plan

It's time to take all the information gathered into account and establish the course of action for your business to follow.

This action plan should answer the following questions:

  • What: what is the goal?
  • Who: who is your target consumers?
  • How: how type of action you do to reach the goal?
  • How much: how much is the allocated budget?
  • When: when is your schedule?

Be careful, your action plan must be realistic and allocated to your resources and your budget to avoid any failure.

4. Prepare yourself

Just as an athlete prepares before a competition or a soldier prepares for a fight, you and your teams must prepare to ensure the success of your action plan and the effectiveness of your business strategy:

  • Equip yourself with the right marketing tools to be efficient and save time. For example, CRM or Customer Relation Management.
  • Training: train your sales representatives to use different sales techniques and marketing tools.
  • The action test: are you implementing new actions? Before going for it, don't hesitate to test them on a small sample of prospects to see their effectiveness and make adjustments if necessary.

5. Keep track of your actions

After launching your action plan, please pay attention and keep an eye on the results. Make sure everything is going according to plan and that your business strategy is working.

To do this, interact with your teams, listen to your customers and prospects, and set up monitoring tools and indicators. Finally, make the necessary adjustments when the results obtained do not meet your expectations.


A marketing strategy, including personal selling, requires a good preparation and also follow-up. Teamwork between the team of product, sales, and marketing is also essential. These steps help you build an effective sales strategy to achieve your goals and grow your business. It's your turn!

With personal selling, it's important to stick to the boundaries set by each customer. Some customers are very open to a pleasant approach that is almost like talking to a friend. Others prefer an open and honest approach, but that's a bit more formal. 

Exceeding these limits, even in any way, such as calling a customer by their first name when they prefer to be called Mr. or Mrs., it can be weaken the building of a personal sales link and thus limit the opportunity to sell.