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Personal selling consist of individual, personal communication i.e. face to face communication of information from the seller to prospective buyer. Personal selling is person-to-person communication in which the receiver provides immediate feedback to the source message through words gestures, expressions e.t.c such instant feedback allows the source to make instantaneous changes in encoding to adopt message to the receiver i.e if a sales person detects that a prospective buyer dislikes the features or the price of a products he or she can stress the advantages and benefits of the product’s feature to justify the price or even show the customers some other products which may be substituted, supplementary or complementary. Unlike advertising, personal selling focuses on communication and encouraging exchange and it also provide the human touch that is lacking in advertising.
Personal selling enable marketers to tailor their presentation to fit the needs, wants, motives and behaviour of individuals customers to a particular sales approach, personal selling often results to particular purchase. The need for personal selling increases with the complexity of products and services for these reasons, manufacturer like to promote their goods and services through personal selling.
Personal selling is seen as an effective tool used by organizations to receive the desired response from its customers and prospects. Effective personal selling will include effective communication. Educating customers, problem solving, stimulating and or motivating and ultimately soliciting of favourable response. Personal selling has become necessary in today’s organizational operations due to the nature of the economy, which is becoming highly competitive. The effective implementation of personal selling may go a long way to assist organizations in achieving their overall sales objectives and goals.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE SUBJECT MATTER
Personal selling is simply to make a sale on individual’s basis. Sales person serves as the link between the selling and buying system. Today, sales persons are required to have more education and technical training than their predecessors. Sales people have many resources at their at their disposal and are better equipped to develop long term relationship with buyers. They are backed by a team of specialists, including market researchers, financial experts and engineers. Salesman of today they are very good diagnosticians of customers needs and they are also problems consultants who make well considered recommendations. They (sale people) are at home to all facets of a prospective customers business that will in any way relate to the goods and services to be sold.
1.2 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF UNILEVER
Unilever is a company engaged in the manufacturing and marketing at detergents, soaps, creams, toothpaste, squash drinks, edible oil and fats, tea and coffee. Unilever Nigeria Plc formerly Lever Brother Nigeria Plc RC 113) was established in April 1923 as Lever Brother (West Africa). Limited in 1955. It changed to Lever Brothers Nigeria Plc in 1973 and subsequently to Unilever Nigeria Plc in 2000. Lipton of Nigeria limited was merged with the company on the 31st of July 1985. In compliance with the Nigeria Enterprises promotion act of 1972, forty percent (40%) of the company equity capital was sold to Nigeria citizens and institutions by Unilever (common wealth holding Limited). This percentage was increased to 60% in 1978, spread over 31,000 individuals and institutional Nigerian share-holders. The balance of 40% is currently hold by Unilever (Common Wealth Holdings) Limited. The company started with the production of bar soaps using local palm oil, this has now extended to international brands such as Lux, Astral and Asepso soaps.
Also produced by Unilever Nigeria Plc are Omo and surf detergents, pepsodent and close-up tooth pastes and tree top squash drinks.
Aba factory built in 1957, producing detergents at Agbara is food factory which was commission in 1983 and Oregun, the latest after the merger of Unilever over seas with Lever Brother Nigeria Plc, where the manufacturing of personal products brands is consolidated.
Unilever is the oldest surviving manufacturing outfit in Nigeria today. The business as conceived by the founder Lord Lever Iulme, was basically to manufacture soaps over the years, however, it has diversified into the production and marketing of non-soap detergents, food and personal products. Unilever Nigeria Plc is a multi-local and multi-national company. Through selective acquisition and mergers, the company’s range of quality product has broadened with breath and depth. These include Omo, Lux, fresh Esteem, hair care range, Vaseline, blue band, Breadeen, Royco Lipton Yelow label tea etc.
A major restructuring of the company was effected early in 1998, for a more effective control and management, the post of chairman and managing director formerly held by an individuals was split, thus, on 1st January 1998, Mr. Felix Ohiwere was appointed chairman and Mr. R.E Clanke become Vice chairman and chief Executive.
The company also changed from its individual structure to functional one. Unilever Nigeria Plc now has a functional director of corporate relations, personnel, logistics, finance, marketing and customer services and technical duties. The organizational structure, the company now runs makes it slimmer and fitter for the very Nigeria socio-economic operating environment.
The company remains a good, responsible and responsive corporate citizen that has the interest of the communities, public and stake-holders very much in their heart.
Quality is the company’s watchword and no effort is spared in ensuring every product that comes off the production line is high quality in accordance with international quantity standard. They also embark on sales promotion to market their product
1.3 STATEMENT OF GENERAL PROBLEM
The current economic situation has forced most business organisations to sell and operate within a dynamic and competitive environment. This has made salesmen to engage in many activities, putting a lot of energy and traveling extensively in an attempt to sustain the organisations growth as well as to meet most customer’s satisfaction. He is thus face with the problems of total selling activities. Such goals brings the sales person in contact within many different people from all works of life. This contact gives birth to many problem amongst which are:-
a. Limited knowledge of product offerings especially good and services where nature is highly technical.
b. Their inability to communicate and recognize customers true needs.
c. Most salesmen portray poor personality especially in their appearance, intelligence and sense of humour
d. Inability to deliver the right product at the right time
e. Discriminatory attitude towards certain customers and giving preferential treatment to chosen customer instead of all customers.
The following is the research hypothesis which the researcher may prove right or wrong.
Ho – That personal selling does not lead to a high sales volume in an organisation.
H1 – That personal selling leads to a high sales volume in an organisation.
1.5 RATIONALE FOR THE STUDY
Generally the study will help business organisations in ensuring that objectives and goals are achieved. To the management of Unilever Nigeria plc, the study will point out how personal selling technique can be applied in their operations and how their services can be effectively applied in creating relationship; with customer and be improved respectively. The study is hope to provide for incoming students a pragmatic approach to personal selling and scope for their research needed to succeed in this field finally to provide and fulfill academic requirement for the award of Higher National Diploma Certificate.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The researcher will limit her study to only one organisation, which is Unilever Nigeria Plc Kaduna, Calabar Street by Kano road. The scope of personal selling will be restricted to types of salesmen, selling process, sales force training and sales force management.
A problem in gathering facts and figures for a project of this nature is inevitable. The researcher encountered some problems in administering the questionnaire. It look a lot of time and patient to get the appropriate people to fill and return the questionnaires, and getting access to the necessary documents was even more difficult.
Finally, time constraint is another limitation in the conduction of this research work. Although, despite the researcher work-load in preparing for the final examination during this research work, serious efforts were made to keep appointments with respondents and collection of other data that are objective factual and adequate for this research work.
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