This a basic selling skills textbook available for free via the Bookboon.com website. Users do have to provide an email address to gain access to the textbook.
Type of Material:
This book seems most appropriate as a reference for individuals interested in learning more about personal selling (akin to a popular press book) or as a supplemental reading in broader marketing courses. It could be used as a textbook in an undergraduate personal selling course. A complete novice might find the information helpful as an introduction to the profession.
The textbook is in PDF format. Therefore, Adobe Acrobat is necessary.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The goals of the textbook are focused on providing a basic overview of personal selling. Chapters focus on the basic sales process, general skills every salesperson should have, the basic sales model, and maintaining customer relationships. The textbook publisher's description touts that this text will teach effective negotiation skills that are needed to be successful in professional selling. However, this is not a topic that is explored in-depth in the textbook.
Target Student Population:
The book seems most appropriate for undergraduate students with little personal selling experience. It is too simplistic to be used at the graduate level.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Principles of Marketing
The book is free, and its value must be assessed with this fact in mind. The book does cover the majority of the major topics found in a personal selling textbook. It is written in an easy to read, straightforward prose. The content is not especially strong. The sales process is complicated, and there are several widely accepted systems. This particular system does not include the step of credibility of the salesperson and/or the company they represent.
The book is a stripped down version of a personal selling textbook. It is light on examples and elaboration and is void of visuals that are usually found in textbooks (i.e., diagrams, figures). If someone is a visual learner, this book might be less effective. It also is littered with advertisements. Understandably they are included to keep the book "free". However, they do get tiresome and result in a book that is more likely 34 (as opposed to 54) pages long when it comes to actual selling material. The problem with the text is a lack of exercises or interactive experiences, such as a role-play situation, where the reader can test their knowledge and skill of the particular topic.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The book covers the basics of personal selling. If someone has little or no experience in personal selling and is looking for a brief book that will provide some theory and pointers, this book would be effective.
This book does not contain enough detail to serve as a course textbook. It would require an abundance of additional supplemental readings and other related materials to be used as a course textbook. There is not a great deal of hard data on "how to implement" the information being presented.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The book is available in an easy to read or print pdf file.
The information is widely available in other textbooks which are considerably better. The publisher does require an email address to access the book.
Other Issues and Comments:
The information is very basic.
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