What Is Personal Selling?

by Lee Gladish in March 30th, 2021

With inbound marketing and email automations, so much of selling today involves one-to-many communication. It’s more efficient for sales teams, and it’s often more efficient for prospects, too.

But personal selling is still a useful skill to have. That’s why we’re sharing what you need to know: what personal selling is and why it matters to you.

What is personal selling?

Personal selling is all about building relationships and sharing a tailored, individualized plan of what you can offer. Typically, personal selling is conceived of as a face-to-face meeting, rather than email or phone correspondence.

Take this example.

A realtor at a top Los Angeles wants to court a high-end corporate client, so she decides to meet them at their office for a face-to-face meeting. Before the meeting, she learns everything she can about the client, like what their pain points are and what they would be looking for in an agency. She prepares a value proposition that tells a story, including what to expect from their partnership and the results that their collaboration will provide.

At the end of the meeting, the client is impressed but not ready to commit.

The realtor checks in a month later by phone after she discovers they had a disappointing experience with a competing agency—and they decide to leave their previous agency and give her their business.

That’s a long journey, but it’s a great example of how personal selling works.

Why should personal selling matter to you?

Personal selling may feel like an old-fashioned sales tactic, especially in connection to newer methods. But it’s still as important as it ever was. In fact, 68% of B2B relationships end because one party feels unappreciated or unimportant.

Here are three key reasons why personal selling should matter to you.

1. Personal selling makes potential clients engage with you more actively 

You may have solved every problem in the book on your website or in your advertising, but until clients hear your answers to their issues, they may not be sold. Never undervalue how important it is to hear how a sales rep can solve their particular pain point. That face-to-face connection builds trust.

2. Personal selling is individualized in ways other methods aren’t 

Advertising and marketing campaigns are always directed at a somewhat general audience, no matter how specifically you’ve tailored your marketing to unique client sectors. That means that clients will never feel as personally connected to you as they do in personal selling.

3. Personal selling builds long-term relationships

Agency clients often like being able to connect with multiple points of contact. However, they still value that relationship with a specific individual who knows them and focuses on their needs. If you are able to provide value, research, and ideas at every stage of relationship-building, they’ll be more likely to connect and reconnect with you over the long haul.

Add personal selling to your toolkit

Personal selling is likely part of your sales repertoire in one way or another. But you can improve on this tactic by focusing on exactly what this particular client will want and predict their needs. After all, only 13% of prospective clients believe that sales reps understand them—and aren’t just offering the same pitch and proposition.

So, get to know your prospective clients. Who are they? What have they told you before? What do they need now that they didn’t previously?

After your personal selling has landed you a client, though, remember the next step: delivering on your promises.