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Hard Selling vs. Soft Selling: Which Approach Makes You More Money?

You are trying to select a good pair of pants. You want to look great in your cousin’s wedding and there you are, holding the pants thinking if it will look great with the shirt you bought a month ago.

But here comes a sales agent saying, “Buy this!” It was just two simple words but it strikes a nerve and you could not even directly pinpoint why you felt that way. You ignored the agent and went ahead to look around.

Finally, you found the pair you wanted.  But here comes another agent who asked “Aren’t you going to buy the item or what?” You were set to buy the pants but the approach put you off. 

Hard Selling vs. Soft Selling - Buy Now

Hard Selling vs. Soft Selling - Buy Now

You wanted to go out of the shop as fast as you can.

So, you bought the pants but you kept on thinking if you ever wanted to go back to that shop or not.

You felt that the sales agent was impolite but perhaps it was just a sales strategy. He made you bought the pants but he could have done better to make your shopping experience more enjoyable.

You are the customer and you are the King. He should have treated you as such, and he could do this if he explored different sales strategies. 

Hard selling pushed you to buy the pants. It was an unpleasant experience, yet he made the sale. The strategy perhaps works best for other people but you’d rather prefer soft selling. But what is the difference between the two anyway?

Hard Selling Strategies

The strategies used in hard selling are aggressive. At most times, it corners the client to a situation where he feels he is being pressured. It is like what you experienced when buying the pair of pants.

Irritating it may seem, hard selling has its advantage – its approach is direct which is important for some people who are prepared to buy but just need a little nudging to do so.

However, hard selling is not only done during direct selling. Cold calls, unsolicited pitches and forceful sales letters are also parts of it, and you are already familiar with all these. Like with cold calls, you often receive calls early in the morning or late at night. 

Even your weekends are not spared, but what is a cold call? For the receiver, it is simply making a sale but in fact, it is a chance to make the sale. Its main purpose is to briefly introduce the company and secure an appointment for a spectacular sales pitch. But for a cold call to work, agents must think about this:

  1. Have a good market research and prospects to avoid useless calls and waste of time. Agents must find out as much as he can about the company or person he is going to give a cold call.
  2. Have an excellent and interesting opening spiel to catch the attention of the listener. Organized information also helps you avoid erroneous mistakes that would give prospective buyer a chance to terminate the call.

Sales letters on the other hand is an effective tool for marketing and promotion. It provides information on the products and services, about the newest discounts and promos or about any developments of the company. Yet, many prospective customers are probably saturated with hard sell and an ‘overdone’ sales letter could be irritating; while if it is underdone, it can be ignored.

Yet, knowing how to properly write a sales letter could help boost a company’s sales.

  • Identify the market of the product or service first. If the product is intended for a female teenager, then construct a letter that appeals to a teenager.
  • Make your letter attractive and interesting. Use colored envelops with catchy phrases.
  • Write simple words but informative and forceful enough to catch the reader’s attention.

Soft selling strategies

This strategy focuses more on relationship building and eventually closes the sales. It is more toned down unlike hard selling. It is less direct and subtle.

Take for example when you were buying the pants, it would be nice if the agent said, “That pants would look great on you. Would you like to try them on?” You will feel truly treated like a King. His politeness was appealing and you will probably end up buying not just one pair.

With soft selling, agents will offer you choices and solutions

In some instances, he would make you see a problem and offer a solution without directly saying that their services or products are the solution. Yet, just like any strategy, soft selling has its disadvantages – it can become ‘too soft’.

A ‘too soft’ soft selling is beating around the bush. An agent using this strategy must also know when to strike. He must know the right timing when to close the deal and not be stuck in building relationships alone.

However, before you decide on what selling strategy to use, it is important to remember that knowing your target market will determine if you will use hard selling or soft selling. Also, what really matters is the sale and what better way to do this is to have a ‘call to action‘ that motivates your buyer to buy the product or avail of your service.

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