Personal Selling to Customers

The importance of the salesman to a company’s success cannot be overstated. Whether it is selling products or services from one firm to another, or aiming directly for the consumer, these individuals establish human relationships that bring customers into the fold and keep them there to purchase either the same goods or additional goods from the seller. The difference between making a sale and not, could be as elementary as having good rapport with the customer, identifying with their background, or simply being polite.

Due to the fact that in many cases the salesperson essentially acts as a middleman between a company and the customer, it is vital that disciplined and professional negotiating skills be used in order to facilitate effective communication between the parties. This leads to the process moving forward in a timely manner while ensuring that relevant information is provided which aids in decision-making. In this way both sides achieve what they seek, specifically customer value and company profit.

In the above context, negotiation acumen plays a vital role the success of the salesperson. According to two prominent experts in the art and science of negotiation, people often see two ways to negotiate, soft or hard. In the former case, the negotiator wishes to avoid conflict and therefore may concede too much, ultimately feeling bitter about the outcome. In the latte case, the negotiator sees a dualistic relationship in which one side triumphs while the other side comes up short. In a “contest of wills” they attempt to position themselves in an extreme position and persevere until the other side succumbs. However, this tactic may produce an ultimately unfair outcome, which additionally endangers the relationship. The experts suggest a third and more sophisticated approach of principled negotiation. In this example, at least one side attempts to reach a resolution based on the merits, with fairness in mind, and hopefully arrives at an outcome that is deemed desirable by all.

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