Promotion strategies: Public Relations and Personal Selling
By: Oluwaseun P. Adeola
Concise Insight into Public Relations and Personal Selling
Blythe (2009, 193) described personal selling as the interactive process whereby a buyer and a seller negotiate an exchange process, the process usually being carried out in a face-to-face encounter between the parties. The significant importance of personal selling is that it offers the company to have two way communications with the potential buyer(s) of the company’s service(s). However, to ensure that advantages of personal selling are fully maximized, the company’s representative would have to ensure that the message being delivered is tailored to the subject that is of significant importance or interest to the would-be customer. Drucker (1973, 56) stated that “the aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous”. Therefore, the responsibility rests on the company and its representatives to identify what exactly the needs of customers are so that such needs can be adequately addressed and catered for.
It suffices to say that personal selling is a very effective tool to market the company’s services but what is more effective is the quality or the perceive quality ,unmatched benefits of the service being rendered to the business customer. Business customers want to know what problem the service can help solve and how will the service help them serve their customers better than the competitors. Blythe (2009, 195) further suggested that “the emphasis in selling practice is not on telling prospects about the products, but on asking questions about the prospects needs. Persuasive talks are not necessary if appropriate questions are asked: questions not only help in finding customers’ needs, they also help to lead the discussion in a particular direction”.
This is a deliberate, planned and sustained effort by the company in order to establish and maintain an understanding between an organization and any group which the company needs to communicate. In the entire life span of a company, there is constantly a need to always communicate with the public in one way or the other. The company may find it difficult to accomplish its organizational goal if it fails to identify who the company’s publics are and equally identify the mechanism and strategy of communication. The possible ‘publics’ of a business may include employees, trade unions, the general public, customers, media, government, pressure groups etc. The essence of public relations is to influence the ‘publics’ opinions about the company. And this can be achieved by taking steps to adequately reinforce positive public opinions about the company and on the other hand, the company has to make copious effort to neutralize the public opinions that are quite unfavorable. For a company to ensure that favorable opinions are reinforced and unfavorable ones are counteracted, it is has to endeavor to make abundant information available to its ‘publics’. The means to therefore make ample information available can be through the six points listed below (Dann & Dann 2011, 203.)
1. Trade press releases
2. The company’s website
3. Business press releases
4. The company brochures and videos
5. Newsletters and company magazines
6. Intranet and emails etc.