Types of Personal Selling

Types of Personal Selling

There are many types of personal selling with different roles that differ from one industry to another and from one firm to another. The names assigned to the people that provide personal selling services differ, with common names such as salespeople, sales representatives or in some cases account representatives and sales engineers. Personal selling helps in the sales of a firm’s products and services. Also, personal selling is the most practical promotional option for reaching new customers who are not easily reached through marketing or advertisement.

Table Of Contents

What is Personal Selling

Personal selling involves a two-way personal communication between salespeople and individual customers. It can be in the form of a face to face interaction, over the phone or through video conferences. There are common approaches to the selling process and the types of personal selling include intermediary, industrial and retail or consumer selling. Personal selling is regarded as one of the most important ingredients in the promotion mix and has a permanent place in the promotion and distribution of products and services.


This is a type of selling where product offerings are sold through a network of middlemen to other resellers. These resellers then sell the products to members closer to end users. By definition intermediary selling is the kind of selling done by middlemen. Intermediaries make it possible for products to reach the end user from the manufacture, basically facilitating the sales process. Essentially there are 4 types of intermediaries: agents, wholesalers, distributors and retailers. These intermediaries make up the sales channel to the end users. Depending on the product and customers any combination of the 4 intermediary personal sellers may be used. These intermediaries are very useful in the distribution channel.

  • Agents

Agents are independent types of personal sellers that can be individuals or businesses that sell products. They sell on behalf of other people or groups. Most sales agents make a living out of selling someone else’s products or services. Most sales agents are not salaried employees but are independent personal sellers.

  • Wholesalers

Wholesalers are types of personal sellers that buy products in bulk to resell mainly to retailors. Wholesalers call on the retailors regularly to book their orders. They also inform them about the various products available and help them choose the right products for their stores. Wholesale personal sellers also advise the retailor about the products and effective selling techniques when selling to the end user.

  • Distributors

Distributors are types of personal sellers like wholesalers. They also buy goods in bulk for resell to retailors or directly to end users. Most distributors provide support in terms of finance or marketing to the supplier. Distributors also provide technical support, product information and after sales service to their customers.

  • Retailors

Retailors buy products from wholesalers or distributors for resell. Retail personal selling is when the sale is made to the end user. In retail selling, the salesperson communicates directly with the consumer and sales can be made through the retail store or through door to door visits.


Industrial selling can also be called business to business selling. It is a type of personal selling where products are sold in large quantities to other businesses who use them as inputs to make finished goods. Industrial personal selling involves the sales of equipment, plants and machinery to an industrial buyer. Most industrial salespersons are well trained and have technical knowledge about the products they sell. Industrial sellers can also include sales engineers that deal with high value goods such as computers, automobiles, refrigerators and other industrial equipment.

Other types of Personal Selling

The selling process and steps differ in every industry and company. The tasks of salespersons also differ in each company. The process taken by the sales team includes, prospecting, pre-approach, need assessment, negotiation, closing and after sales service. All the tasks may be taken by one person whilst in other firms, tasks are divided for separate individuals. Thus, personal selling can be classified based on the tasks of selling.

  • Order takers

Order takers are types of personal salespersons who hold positions similar to that of retail sales assistants. Order taking is a type of personal selling that also involves responding to committed customers. There are two types: inside order takers and outside order takers. The role of inside order takers is merely transactional. Customers can choose products without the salesperson’s presence or influence. Outside order takers visit the customers, respond to customer requests and do not actively make sales. Both inside and outside order takers are supported by telemarketers who conduct field sales over the phone.

  • Order Creators

In some industries such as pharmaceuticals, the task of a salesperson is not to close the sale. Instead the salesperson tries to persuade the customer to promote the seller’s products. In this type of personal selling salespersons that market drugs and all forms of medicine rely on physicians to prescribe their drugs in order for them to sell them directly to patients. Order creating is a type of personal selling that involves investing time and effort for future returns. They meet with people or companies of interest and market their products or services. Prospecting for customers is their major role. This type of personal selling is concerned with creating an awareness and a need for a product.

  • Order-getters

Order getters try to persuade customers to make a direct purchase. They are frontline salespersons whose role is to convince customers to make a purchase and to acquire more customers. This type of personal selling is outside the ordering process. Order getting is a type of personal selling where maintaining a good relationship with customers is important in order to get new leads. These types of personal salespersons can be found in all stores and industries. The order getters function in the industrial sector, that is business to business, is trade sales and retail sales. They are frontline salespeople who are supported by the technical support teams and marketers. Organisational order getters work within business to business sales. They act as mediators between the customer and the functional departments of their firms.

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