Selling isn’t easy, no matter what you’re selling. How do you know which tactics work best and in which situations?
Check out the difference between a hard sell and a soft sell below to determine which approach will work best for your business.
In Corner One: The Hard Sell
The hard sell is used to close a sale quickly and is often pushy and aggressive.
It’s not uncommon for the salesperson to keep pushing until the customer has said no three times. The hard sell method has actually fallen out of favor with most businesses because it can leave the customer feeling unsatisfied and regretful, causing them to share their negative experiences with their friends and acquaintances.
Despite this, the hard sell is still utilized today because it provides immediate rewards and is great for 100% commission jobs. Hard sells also minimize the competition because the customer has little to no time to compare your product or services against another business.
Despite its potential drawbacks, the hard sell can still be productive if it’s not done too aggressively.
In Corner Two: The Soft Sell
The soft sell is generally favored over the hard sell.
The soft sell uses subtle persuasion and casual language in a low-pressure environment to close the sale. However, this approach usually takes longer, causing the seller to have to follow up multiple times.
The soft sell is somewhat counterintuitive because the sales representative focuses more on building a relationship with the client rather than selling the item.
Because of this, the sales representative must be persistent, frequently checking back on the customer. However, it is quite effective because customers like doing business with people they know and trust. The customer is more likely to keep coming back because they’ve had a good experience with you.
6 Tips for a Successful Soft Sell
1. Do Your Research.
Researching your client before meeting them will give you a better idea of their needs and how you can best help them. You’ll also be better prepared and equipped to meet their needs.
2. Develop a Relationship.
Customers like doing business with people they know.
You want them to see you as someone they can trust, so take the time to get to know them. Ask your customers and prospects questions and truly listen to their responses.
It can be challenging to remember everything your customer says. Keeping notes you can refer back to in your future meetings will make following up with them easier. In addition, they’ll be surprised and happy that you remembered.
3. Give the Customer Space to Choose.
Don’t ask for a response right away or pressure prospects into buying.
Give them time, about 48 hours, to think it over. Then, follow up with them to inquire if they need any extra assistance from you.
4. Develop Your Emotional Intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is the “ability to perceive, manage, and regulate emotions” according to verywellmind.com.
This intelligence involves five components: emotional awareness, self-confidence, self-regulation, adaptability, influence, and leadership.
Having high emotional intelligence better equips you to understand your customer and their needs. You’ll be able to better direct your questions and advice based on how your customer is feeling.
5. Utilize Print.
The soft sell can be challenging because customers don’t feel pressure to close the sale in the near future.
Distributing business cards or brochures or leaving behind your print marketing collateral can help solve this problem. The prospect will have something physical to hold onto that will remind them of your business and keep your business top-of-mind.
6. Stay Resilient!
The soft sell does not happen right away.
It requires checking in with your customer and following up with their questions and concerns. Sometimes, the sale never happens. But, what matters is that you provided the customer with sound advice and connected with them to feel valid. This helps build the reputation of your company. Maybe the sale didn’t happen this time, but it will in the future.
The Choice is Yours
Between the soft sell and the hard sell, the soft sell is generally recommended because it allows the customer to make an informed choice that they are happy with, ensuring a good company reputation and a loyal customer.
However, aspects of the hard sell can be beneficial to incorporate into your business when the circumstances call for it. Just don’t be too aggressive and pushy.