Olden salesmanship:

1. Manifestation of cheat

In the past, salesman was most unbelievable as they were known for fraud, dishonesty, chicanery. The Greeks called a retailer as ‘falsifier’ and Roman as ‘cheat’. It was true as most of the commercial adventures were pirates indulging in vessel attacks, killing the crews and seizing the cargo; they would goods to the extent of scuttling the vessels to hide their crime and traces.

2. Absence of a set-price

The good, which were dealt in did not enjoy any fixed price. It was but natural that goods were scares and the demand outstripped the supply that gave the golden opportunity to these salesmen to make hay. They did not hesitate to take full advantage of the rarity and the scarcity of the supply. The prices were unaffordable. This resulted in price high-haggling or bargaining. One tried to stretch too much thus, one forced encouraging another.

3. Low grade activity

Selling, like many other ways of life, was looked down upon, as a degrading and dishonest means of livelihood. The society of these days looked at salesman with contempt and disrespect. It was because, trading itself was thought as an activity of deceit and the sellers being the party to it. The position of a salesman on a social scale was one of the lowest in terms earnings and mobility. It was considered as low grade time as the persons were to move from one place to another and person to person make their livelihood. It was true that salesman were lowest paid employees.

4. Absence of publicity


Most of the commodities were sold in small general stores. Resultantly, these were limited travelling salesman; the trading community did not rely on advertising and publicity. The methods of sale were ‘sale by display’ and ‘sale by inspection’ on the spot. Even the shops did not use attractive fixtures and furniture, artistic-decoration and painting. The concept of ‘window’ and ‘counter’ display were very crude in form.

5. More an art

Selling was taken as an art; more so a gift than acquired skill. Accordingly, good salesman were burn but not made. There was no deliberate attempt to learn the tricks of the trade; there was not such scientific training. It was not called a science and a profession as is done today. Thus, a son of a salesman would become a salesman by birth and family occupation. There was no deliberate attempt to identify it as a science and a profession. As a result, salesmanship did not flourish at the pace expected in the past.

Modern Salesmanship:

Modern salesmanship, unlike olden salesmanship is characterized by the features of development, refinement and modernity. Today’ this salesmanship is honourable, challenging, rewarding and a professional career. Today, he is not more a mule-back rider, but a ringer of door bells. Today’s sales people are dynamic power in the world of business; they generate more revenue in any developed and developing economy than other workers in any other such single profession. The outstanding attributes are:

1. Manifestation of commercial honesty

Honesty is the best policy that rules the business world. Here, honesty does not mean judicial honesty. That is, each salesman is honest and truthful to the ext. He is expected to be honest. That is, he tells, demonstrates, displays, convinces by plus points of the products and services. He never blames the products of others. He says that his products are best without maligning the status of others. This approach, attitude has made the customers to behave him as a friend and a guide in making wise purchases. Customers have needs that can be met and problems that can be solved by purchasing goods and services. Salesman seeks to uncover potential or existing needs or problems and shows how the use of their products or services can satisfy these needs or solve those problems honesty.

2. A respected profession


Today, salesmanship is not looked only as an art and science but as a respected profession of high order. A professional professes his art and science. A profession warrants acquisition of specialized knowledge, application of knowledge as acquired, presence and respecting of a code of conduct and service to the community than self-interest, for a reasonable remuneration. Thought on the frame-work of these essentials and requisite salesmanship is profession challenging, rewarding, respecting and absorbing. Today, successful are professional men who have mastered the art and science of selling and sales management. Today, we come across colleges and university departments which ready to groom the younger into able salesman and saleswoman to shoulder the responsibilities of turning the wheels of the economy-particularly the giant wheel namely, sales. Community does not look down upon the career of a salesman. It is an entry point and an able salesman may be tomorrow’s sales manager, general manager or even managing director. It is a matter of interest, intelligence and industry that take him to any heights.

3. Heavy reliance on advertising

Today’ this salesman and salesmanship rely heavily on advertising- the counterpart of product promotion mix. It does not mean that he does not bank on sales promotional media. The sales performance of today’s salesman is largely hinged on powerful force of advertising. If he is the versatile actor, advertising creates the stage and stage effects for illuminating success of his. He depends on indoor, outdoor, direct and promotional advertising media and media vehicles so much so that goods are presold. That is why advertising has been rightly described as “salesmanship in print”. If one enters a shop today, it is easy to realize the deep impact of promotion publicity such as window and counter display, showrooms and show cases, fairs and exhibitions. To reach these outlets, print media, telecasting, broadcasting, film and outdoor media are a must. That is, today the work of salesman is much more easy and easy than before.

4. One price policy

With the instilled confidence and faith, the old system of bargaining is being replaced by ‘one price’ system. As the manufacturers and dealers announces the price of their products in advance in the advertisements and on the packages, the old system of high-haggling is fast dying. Moreover, the changed concept of ‘self service’ has revolutionized the marketing practices. Today, one who bargains is looked down up on; bargaining is more an act of without and represents a silly narrow mindedness in this age of affluence and plenty. The practice of ‘one price’ has also resulted in other guarantees and warrantees as many back speaking of honesty of purpose and action in the consumer dealings. This has resulted in saving of valuable time of both the seller and the buyer.

5. Widest assortments

The salesmanship of these days is built on the maximum consumer satisfaction. The, key to the improved consumer satisfaction is choice- variety and opportunity to select. Any dealer and his salesman is providing this facility of widest choice by making available on the counter a variety of products in a given product line. The choice is as to price, quality, size, dimensions, color combinations, aroma, weights and so on. The range of selection is so wide today that finally it is the salesman who is to help the customer in selecting a particular product. In effect, a salesman is the purchase officer of a customer- a counselor, a guide. The emphasis is on large sales volume through rapid stock turnover via increased consumer satisfaction.

6. Sale of services


Sale of services is another outstanding feature of modern salesmanship. A service is an intangible or impersonal activity or anticipated satisfaction who is offered for sale either as such or in connection with sale of goods. These can be broadly classed as consumer and industrial. The instances of consumer services are hotel, food, personnel care, entertainment, transport, communication, insurance and finance. Similarly, the examples of Industrial services are transport, warehousing, insurance, finance, engineering, advertising, sales-promotion, consultancy and office sources. Personal selling has upper hand in promoting the sale of services both consumer and industrial services. A service salesman needs higher degree of knowledge and skill and acumen of salesmanship –for services are products and have to be considered physical entities. You may be a consultant, a designer, or an artist or an advertising accounts executive or any other serviceman in an industrial field; you must be able to position your service so that the potential buyer understands it in relation to his needs and to the competitive offerings.