Personal selling is considered to be the oldest form of marketing activity. The earliest known form of personal selling is that of a ‘peddler’ who encompassed the selling and inventory-holding function of a modern merchant. They appeared at the same time as the limited manufacture of goods began its initial development. The selling profession saw numerous developments in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The overall business was changing, with ever larger firms creating product differentiation, brand identities and expanded direct sales networks. Large manufacturers of branded consumer goods desired closer control over their sales forces, resulting in formal sales organizations that included the use of sales managers. The 1940s saw radical disruptions in the selling profession but set the stage for later developments leading to selling’s contemporary focus. Conversion to a war-based economy created a shortage of consumer goods and a reduction in the number of salespeople needed to sell them.