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Direct Marketing vs Personal Selling

Trying to find a better way to convert prospects? Choosing marketing methods through trial and error? If yes, it is time that you look at 2 of the most effective marketing techniques which you can use. Yes, we are speaking about direct marketing and personal selling. If you have been researching about different marketing techniques, you will realize that these two are the pinnacle when it comes to effectiveness. But, how do they score against each other? When it comes to direct marketing vs personal selling, which one has the upper hand?

Direct Marketing vs Personal Selling

To answer these questions, we will today compare Direct Marketing vs. Personal Selling to solve your dilemma. We will now start with the very basics and then go into the intricacies of these marketing techniques to help you understand which one can score over the other.

What Is Direct Marketing?

Direct marketing involves a business or an organization communicating directly with the customer. It does not include any single point of human contact. The customer can be pre-selected, and therefore the offer forwarded to the customer is highly weighted according to the customer profile. Irrespective of that, the communication is between the company and the customer rather than an individual or a middleman.

The conversion rate of this type of marketing is higher than advertising which is a mass marketing technique. Without further ado, let us first check the nitty-gritty of this marketing technique below.

How Companies Use Direct Marketing?

Direct marketing is communication between the company and the prospect or client via different mediums. The mediums can vary and can include platforms like:

• Point of sale marketing
• Postal letters/brochures
• Email
• Telemarketing
• And so on

The direct marketer aims to convert a customer by offering them a call to action, which is irresistible. Since the company chooses the medium, the customers are as good as pre-selected.

Direct Marketing vs Personal Selling

For example:

Email marketing is a prime example of direct marketing. A banner in the email or an offer with a call to action is one of the most common examples of email marketing. Since the market is aware of the source of the leads, they can easily fit the offer and make it targeted for the customer.

Another example is direct mail. The direct mail tries to entice the users by sending them with relevant offers, brochures, and other information to make them act and buy the product. Again, since the source of the lead is often with the company, the offers can be vetted according to the customer profile.

Thus, irrespective of the fact that there is no human interaction involved or no middlemen in between, direct marketing indeed has a high conversion rate. Due to this very reason, when it comes to effectiveness, it is indeed an excellent option.

Now that you are aware of direct marketing let us look at help you understand what exactly it involves. What is personal selling?

Personal selling is the name itself suggests involves facing. You want it; it becomes easier for the sales representative to convert the customer. Moreover, the sales representative can adapt according to the needs of the client and can change the script accordingly. Owing to this very reason, the conversion rate as the name itself suggests, it involves face to face selling. The entity offering the products or the services is still a company or organization. However, it appoints a salesperson to speak with the client face-to-face.

Want to know more about it? If yes, we will go into the details of this marketing technique below.

How Personal Selling Works?

Personal selling is much more systematic. It involves nine different steps which are:

• Prospecting:

Prospecting consists of identifying the prospects you might be interested in the product or service.

• Qualifying leads:

Merely getting information about every person who is interested in the product or service is not good enough. The salesperson has to vet the leads to include only those who are serious about buying.

• Pre-approach:

Perry approach involves setting up a meeting with the client or communicating with them for the first time.

• Approach:

The approach is the first meeting or the appointment with the customer. It involves the 1st interaction of the
salesperson with the prospective client.

• Assessment:

One of the main advantages of personal selling is that the salesperson can easily cater to the needs of the client. In this stage, the salesperson communicates with the client to know their needs and requirements.

• Sales presentation:

A sales presentation is often in response to the assessment stage. It helps the client understand why the product or services can fulfill their needs and requirements.

• Objection handling:

Seldom does any sale go through smoothly after the sales presentation. There will always be doubts, objections, and questions in the mind of the prospect or client. That is why; the sales representative has to clear those in this stage.

• Closing:

It is the stage in which the salesperson sells the product or the service. In this stage, the sales representative tries to gain some commitment for the client. It can be by signing a contract or making token payment.

• Follow-up:

It is similar to the feedback stage. The salesperson will be getting in touch with the client once again to know about their experience.

These are the nine stages of personal selling. While they might seem pretty elaborate, but the truth is that this 9 stage model can make the entire process much more effective. That is why most of the sales representatives stick to this model.

What Are the Differences Between Personal Selling And Direct Marketing?

Now that you know the nitty-gritty of these forms of marketing, it is time to look at the differences to understand more about them.

Direct Marketing vs Personal Selling

1. Conversion cycle:

The primary difference between personal selling and direct marketing is the length of the conversion cycle. In direct marketing, the conversion cycle is much shorter. You will be approaching the customer through any of the mediums with your offer or a call to action. On the other hand, personal selling involves contacting the prospects or leads and then customizing the offer to the needs of the prospect or customer. These steps can take weeks together. Therefore, the primary difference is in the conversion cycle or the turnaround time.

2. The intensity of marketing:

The direct marketing approach is much more aggressive. You are likely to go for the sale in the very 1st communication with your customer. When it comes to personal selling, it is a gradual and slow process, and therefore, the marketing intensity in the first few meetings is almost negligible. Personal selling is a step-by-step process of which starts with procuring and vetting the leads, understanding the needs of the customer and then attempting to convince and close the deal. That is why; the marketing intensity, especially during the initial few stages, is low.

3. Compatibility:

Are both of these marketing techniques suitable for every product? The truth is that they are not suitable for every product. When it comes to personal selling, it is for products and services that are more complex. If you want to
educate the customer or allow them to customize the product or service before ordering, then personal selling is your best bet.

If you are selling on the shelf product or services like a digital marketing course, you can opt for direct
marketing. Thus, these marketing techniques are not directly interchangeable with each other.

4. The lifetime value of the customer:

The lifetime value which you gain from the customer is quite different in both these marketing methods. The direct selling marketing method revolves more around instant gratification. It is trying to help you gain an immediate sale. While sure enough, you can contact that customer once again but since most companies do not focus on relationship building, the lifetime value of the customer is on the lower side. That is not to say that it is not existent.

Direct Marketing vs Personal Selling

On the other hand, personal selling revolves around building a relationship with the customer. That is why, as you are delivering on your commitment, the lifetime value of the customer will be on the higher side. Thus, a lot depends on the value which you need to get from the customer.

As you can see, these two marketing techniques are not exactly interchangeable. Hence; it is better to go for the hybrid model depending on the type of service you are marketing.

One thing which is for sure is that when you compare Direct Marketing vs Personal Selling, each has its pros
and cons. There is no point in debating these marketing techniques. Since; these provide you with a high conversion rate, it is time to cherry-pick as per the situation and product that you are trying to promote.

So, what are you waiting for? Use any of these marketing techniques to get that sale.