Aristotle and Personal Selling

Caballero, Marjorie J.; Dickinson, Roger A.; Townsend, Dabney
May 1984
Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management;May84, Vol. 4 Issue 1, p13
Academic Journal
This article considers how Greek philosopher Aristotle's treatment of persuasion in his book "Rhetoric" offers insight into personal selling. In recent years, marketers and salespeople have been developing what some might call innovative selling techniques. Yet, it was recently suggested that Aristotle is as relevant to contemporary selling as any modern text. In many ways, the parallels between the problems faced by the modern salesperson and those which made rhetoric a central subject in the classical scheme of education are obvious. When one looks to Aristotle's "Rhetoric" for guidance in personal selling, therefore, one is going back to one of the obvious, primary sources of persuasion. Aristotle does not maintain that morality and logic come before rhetoric. But in contrast to treatments by later scholars, he does maintain that one cannot be truly persuasive without having both the truth and logic on one's side. For example, one may make a sale through the use of purely persuasive rhetoric, but lose a customer in the process if the product is defective or has been misrepresented.


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