7 Effective Personal Selling Strategies and Why They Work

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published July 21, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Personal selling strategies play an important role in developing customer relationships, as they emphasize a personal approach to sales. Sales departments or entrepreneurs use personal selling strategies to explain the benefit of a product or service, answer customer questions and address their concerns. Learning how personal strategies work and how to use them may make your sales pitches more effective. In this article, we define personal selling strategies, explain why they're important and identify the strategies you can use.

What are personal selling strategies?

Personal selling strategies involve meeting with the customer for a face-to-face interaction that serves to inform and persuade them into making a purchase. By directly meeting with the customer, the salesperson confirms the product's benefits by emphasizing details like price, characteristics or current market demand. This personal connection also helps the salesperson assess any hesitation the customer has about the product and proactively address it.

Personal selling strategies work well for companies that sell complex or expensive products. They also function well for highly individualized purchases like homes, automobiles or insurance policies. Personal selling strategies play a part in business-to-business transactions, such as demonstrating automated equipment for a factory.

Related: 14 Effective Selling Strategies

Why are personal selling strategies important?

The primary benefits of personal selling strategies are:

Ability to address buyer needs

Rather than listing all the benefits of a product, personal selling can focus on exactly why the customer might purchase the product. This might mean addressing particular features and time- or cost-saving benefits. For example, a salesperson helping a customer choose a new refrigerator can use personal selling techniques to ask questions about what the customer wants, then show them a refrigerator model that addresses their exact needs.

Opportunity to improve customer relationships

Personal selling strategies aim to build relationships with customers through honest communication and helpfulness. When customers trust a brand or person, they might be more likely to return for advice or guidance. For example, a customer who sells their home might use the same real estate agent who sold the home to them if that agent formed a lasting connection using personal selling techniques.

Source of customer feedback

Personal selling strategies lend insight into customer likes and dislikes, which can give the company valuable information about how to best market the product. By asking for customer feedback, you have the opportunity to improve your own sales strategies while gaining insight into customer preferences. This allows you to develop your strategies for each customer and foster a collaborative relationship.

Related: How To Sell Anyone Your Product

Seven personal selling strategies

Personal selling strategies can vary depending on the product you sell as well as the type of customer with which you interact. Rather than relying on a single method, consider combining strategies for a comprehensive plan. Here is a list of seven personal selling strategies:

1. Present the product's benefits

A product's benefits are often its most persuasive selling point. In this technique, you gain an understanding of the customer's buying motives and explain how the product fits their needs. You can adjust the message depending on the customer or if the conversation changes direction. For example, if a customer wants to know more about a product's efficiency but keeps referring to the product's material, you might adapt your response to discuss the product's quality and durability.

2. Demonstrate the product

In some cases, demonstrating the product is a persuasive technique. This may work best with products that are highly technical or complex. As you clarify how the product works, you can also discuss how the product solves a problem. One example is demonstrating to a homeowner how the features of a home alarm system work to keep them safe.

3. Encourage a conversation

Personal selling strategies involve working directly with the customer to discover their concerns and address them. By engaging in conversation with the customer, you can gain insight into their personality and buying choices. This helps you guide the customer toward a decision. Depending on the customer's interests or hesitations, a conversational strategy might include making product comparisons or explaining why the higher price indicates quality or craftsmanship.

Read more: What Is Persuasion Selling? (With Tips)

4. Act as a consultant

As you share your expertise with customers, you demonstrate your knowledge of a product or service to gain their confidence. You can build stronger relationships by learning about the customer's problems and recommending solutions. This may prompt the customer to seek your counsel when making future buying decisions. For example, a first-time buyer may turn into a repeat customer because your past advice was beneficial, and they may wish to consult with you again before making another purchase.

5. Emphasize customer satisfaction

Gain customer confidence and loyalty by sharing your accomplishments. This is especially helpful for salespeople who help customers make significant purchases like homes or cars. Consider compiling a list of reviews or testimonials from satisfied customers to reassure new customers of your dedication and skill. Additionally, be sure to ask new customers for feedback to improve your services or add to your list of references.

6. Tell a story

For this strategy, share a personal experience to persuade the customer to make a purchase. Your story might involve how the product changed your life or another customer's success story. This helps establish a connection with your customer and create a scenario where they might imagine themselves using the product. Storytelling is often an emotional appeal, so this strategy may be effective for products that address an urgent problem or have some sentimental value.

Read more: What Is Story Selling? Definition and Examples

7. Respond to consumer behavior

When competition appears or market trends change, personal selling strategies can allow salespeople to quickly adapt due to their close proximity to consumers. It's helpful to monitor market conditions for emerging competition. This allows you to design your personal selling strategy to reach new consumers and retain loyal customers.

Related: Tips for Selling Ideas to Another Business

Tips for developing a personal selling strategy

Here are a few tips to help you form a personal selling strategy:

Find qualified leads

Acquiring qualified leads allows you to approach customers who are ready to buy. To help with this, you might create a persona that identifies and defines your ideal customer. Be sure to include information like:

  • Geographic location

  • Their age or age range

  • The issues they encounter

  • Their buying habits, such as researching or impulse buying

  • Your solutions

Perform research

In order to succeed in personal sales, it's helpful to have an up-to-date understanding of your industry. Perform regular research or read industry publications to anticipate changes in competition or buying patterns. Thorough research helps you stay adaptable when market changes happen, and it can equip you with knowledge to address customer questions.

Provide information

Personal selling strategies convey your expertise and explain product value, which leaves the customer with information to consider. Material, such as brochures, business cards, flyers or website links, allows customers to conduct their own research and learn more about your organization and product. If the customer isn't ready to buy, these materials may help them make a purchasing decision in the future.

Become a buying partner

Personal selling strategies position you as a partner in the customer's buying experience. Approaching your relationship with the customer as a partnership can help maintain customer satisfaction, as this technique can help establish trust. It's also useful to follow up with customers and after a purchase to assess their opinion and to encourage repeat purchases.

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