Personal selling

One of the main functions of marketing is selling, so a marketer’s job is to get people to know about the product, ensure its value, and, as a result, induce them to purchase. Among the most powerful selling approaches, personal selling is known for its exceptional efficiency.

Let’s find out what personal selling is and how you can use it as a part of your marketing and sales strategy.

Personal selling definition

Personal selling is a sales method where the seller convinces the customer to purchase a particular product/service face to face. The salesperson aims to emphasize various product features to prove their value and encourage the customer to buy it. 

In today’s market, personal selling tends to be more common in B2B sales, although it can still be used in B2C sales. 

While in the past personal selling always took place in person, now, with the rise of modern communication channels, you can also sell via email, phone, or video call.

68% of B2B customers are lost because of indifference or perceived apathy rather than sales mistakes. Personal selling focuses on the customer rather than the seller or the product. It allows you to infuse a sense of humanity into the selling process by connecting with your prospects personally and building relationships with them. 

Let’s take a closer look at personal selling advantages and disadvantages to better understand when and how to use this sales method.

Advantages and disadvantages of personal selling

Personal selling is the only promotional instrument that includes personal communication between a seller and a buyer. Here are the personal selling benefits:

  • It’s flexible. Sales representatives can adjust their sales pitch on the fly based on customer reactions to reach mutual understanding and meet customer needs and expectations.
  • It allows building rapport. Since personal selling is an interactive sales strategy, it helps gain customer trust faster than any other sales approach.
  • It’s essential for some products/services. For example, technical products need personal selling because customers might not fully understand how they work, so they require guidance through direct communication with a seller.
  • It increases the chances of closing a deal. Personal selling presupposes more precise targeting and establishing closer contact with the audience, whereby a sales rep focuses more deeply on closing a sale.

🤑Want to close more deals? Follow the 8 sales negotiation strategies for winning more deals. 

Nevertheless, there are some reasons you shouldn’t use personal selling in every situation:

  • It has a limited reach. Unlike advertisements and social selling, where there’s a possibility to contact many customers at once, personal selling outreach can’t embrace prospects in bulk. 
  • It’s time-consuming. Reaching out to each and every person can take plenty of time. If you need to get a lot of sales quickly, personal selling is probably not the best approach.
  • It’s labor intensive. To carry out personal selling efficiently, your company will require a large sales force. 
  • It’s rather expensive. Personal selling usually requires a high cost, especially when considering sales team maintenance. Companies face considerable expenses when using this method, including high cost-per-action and training costs.
advantages and disadvantages of personal selling

Personal selling techniques for closing more deals

If you consider personal selling the right model for your goals, make sure you’ve mastered the personal selling techniques that will help you achieve the best results. Here are some of the most actionable of them. 

Focus on the right leads

It’s natural that not every client will match your ideal customer profile or choose your solution to achieve their goals. Not to lose much of your precious time, you need to focus on selling to the qualified prospects only, those who have more chances of buying your solution. 

To determine whether you’re selling to the right lead, consider answering the following questions:

  • What’s the value of the potential sale?
  • What’s the size of the company you want to sell to?
  • Will your solution truly help the business?
  • Does the business have enough budget to try your solution?
  • Will building rapport with the prospect facilitate further business development?

Check out how to qualify your prospects to save time and find the right leads. 

Prepare yourself for the meeting 

Preparation is key. 82% of B2B decision-makers think sales representatives are unprepared, which means many prospects might try to avoid sales meetings based on their negative experiences.

Your task is to break this stereotype. Ensure you’ve done your homework by researching who your potential customer is from the inside out – learning about their industry, company history, operations, challenges, and more. Knowing as much as possible about your potential customer will help you build bridges and handle sales objections during a sales meeting. 

Add value to the sales meeting 

During the meeting, your task as a sales rep is to add value and show your prospect how helpful you are.

The best way to do this is to present primary research data relevant to customer business. This will prove that you know what you are talking about and demonstrate how you care about their company’s achievements. 

As 95% of customers choose solution providers that offer relevant content at every stage of the buying process, offer prospects a piece of engaging content when you meet in person. It can be a set of FAQs that cover the primary inquiries in the particular industry, infographics, or ebooks that can be useful in problem-solving. 

Show interest in your prospect

Remember one of the main qualities of personal selling? It allows focusing more on a customer, not a salesperson. So be the one who displays a genuine interest in a prospect, their needs and wants. 

  • Listen to your prospects. Don’t talk too much – let them speak. This can be the source of information you’ll further use while asking sales critical questions and adjusting your sales pitch accordingly.
  • Pay special attention to customer success. Inquire about their goals, challenges, and obstacles that prevent them from succeeding in their goals. Draw a picture of success aligned with trying your product.

Let your customers know that you are together

Make your prospects feel you are on their side and that together you will succeed. Use the words “we / us” rather than “I / me” to achieve this. 

By asking smart, detailed questions about their business pain points and suggesting potential solutions connected with your product/service, you move forward and have a better chance of becoming business partners.

Tell a story

Storytelling is one of the most effective techniques to attract the audience and connect with them. After presentations, 63% of prospects remember stories, and only 5% remember statistics. 

If you have good personal experience working with a similar case that can resonate with your customers, feel free to share it. This will hook people and evoke emotions in them.

Wrapping it up

Personal selling is a personalized sales method that proves effective and reasonable when you need one-on-one communication to convey a message to a particular audience. Although personal selling can be rather expensive and time-consuming, once called for, it can be the most efficient promotional tool. 

And if you need a platform for your personal selling strategy, it’s high time to consider CRM – an absolutely free solution for your sales growth.


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