The Personal Specification

The Personal Specification

The Personal Specification

The following represents a typical analysis which might be applied to a salesman to be appointed for the grocery trade:

(1) ACTIVITIES The establishment and maintenance of retail

outlets in the counties of Northshire, Mid-shire and Southshire for the sale of 'Flavourable Foods'.

A. Finding suitable retail shops and supermarkets not currently stocking the company's products.

B. Conducting interviews with proprietors or managers with a view to opening accounts and obtaining regular orders.

C. Calling upon existing customers in the specified area to obtain their repeat orders.

D. Assisting all stockists of 'Flavourable Foods' to increase their sales of these brands by the provision of suitable display materials, advising on promotions, etc.

E. Ensuring that all stockists within the specified area maintain adequate stocks to meet consumer demands in response to the company's national advertising campaigns.

F. Submitting to Head Office daily and weekly reports of calls made with comment as appropriate upon customers' reactions to the company's advertising and promotional activities.

G. Submitting to Head Office reports on the activities of competitors in the specified area.

H. Collecting cash payment from customers, where applicable, and investigating and reporting any account problems.

I. Investigating and reporting on any complaints relating to the company's service or product quality.

J. Attending sales meetings, re-training courses, etc., as may be arranged from time to time.


A. 'Flavourable Foods' have only just been introduced to the market and at present shop penetration is slow.

B. Our main competitor is represented in this particular area by a salesman who has been calling on local retail outlets for fifteen years and is well known.

C. Because this area is geographically located at a considerable distance from our factory, delivery service to shops in the area is not good at the moment.


In view of the above problems, the man we are looking for should ideally:

A. Have experience in the sale of grocery lines to provincial areas, particularly small and medium-sized independents.

B. Since the main competitor's salesman is 'getting on' we want a man who is comparatively young yet mature enough to be acceptable to the majority of potential customers, most of whom are owners of these independent shops and are in age-groups 35 to 55.

C. Some previous experience of warehouse management may be an advantage because we may have to set up a local depot to service shops in this area.

D. We anticipate that it will take three to five years to achieve an acceptable level of penetration into outlets in this area for 'Flavour able Foods'. We shall need a salesman with considerable resilience to stand the pace. We probably will not get a top-flight man for this area and if we did he probably would not stay. We want a steady plodder, preferably a man prepared to settle in the area. Married, with school-age family, for preference.


A. The salary scale for a new salesman is �1,500 to �1,800 at commencement according to age, experience and qualifications and is subject to annual review.

B. Commission at the rate of x% will be paid in respect to turnover achieved above a basic figure of �y,000 per month.


A. All travelling expenses, including petrol and oil used for business purposes, servicing and repairs to car, hotel expenses and expenses incurred in the entertaining of customers, will be reimbursed at the end of each month.

B. The company will provide a motor-car of 1,300 c.c. for the use of the salesman, which it will tax and insure. Garaging and cleaning of the car to be undertaken by the salesman at his own expense.

This analysis not only clarifies our thoughts on 'the job to be done', it enables us to build a picture of the kind of man we need to do it. By taking each aspect of the work and indicating the specific qualities needed: age, personality, qualifications, experience, we have provided ourselves with a sort of 'identi-kit' from which we may recognize the man we are looking for.

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