Imagine you’re on the fence about picking between two vehicles from different car dealers. One dealer is aggressive with their approach, convincing you to take action now or this offer will go away, while the other dealer explains the benefits and facts about the car, how it will make your life way more convenient, and how it meets your budget. You would feel more comfortable and compelled to take the offer from the second dealer right?
Well, these are exactly the same tactics used in sales often referred to as a hard sell and a soft sell. Today, we will talk about why the art of a soft sell is a skill preferred more than a hard sell in today's market. First, let’s compare it to the hard sell.
What is A Hard Sell?
A hard sell consists of aggressive and persistent tactics to persuade a potential customer to make a purchase using urgency. For instance, it includes high-pressure sales pitches, repeated follow-ups, and limited-time offers. The ultimate goal of hard selling is to close the sale as quickly as possible, even if it means being pushy or making the customer feel uncomfortable. Salespeople who attempt this may misinform, withhold information, or even lie to the consumer.
An example of hard selling would be a door-to-door salesman who may be selling vacuums. The salesman might focus on how the potential buyer has an outdated vacuum and this new revolutionary vacuum cleans 100x better, that there is only limited stock, and how the price might increase as soon as the salesman walks away.
What is Soft Selling?
Soft selling is a sales technique that focuses on casual language and subtle persuasion that appeals to the consumer's emotions, whilst building relationships and trust with potential customers. The art of soft selling is to delicately persuade the prospect into the sale, using casual language coupled with a low-pressure experience.
Sales professionals often use soft selling to tap into consumers' emotions. It is also important to not mix soft selling with the word “passive”. Yes, they don’t ask for the sale right away, though the salesman must be persistent throughout the process and knowledgeable about the product or service they’re offering.
A Few Benefits of Soft Selling
1. Building Client Relationships
2. Creating Brand Loyalty
3. Improving your Reputation
4. Increase of Returning Customers
Let’s take a look at a few benefits soft selling offers:
Building Client Relationships
Creating positive customer interactions is crucial for the success of soft selling techniques. By consistently fostering welcoming interactions, sales professionals can develop lasting relationships with clients. Developing these connections can result in customers perceiving that a company offers them individualized attention and care when making purchases.
Creating Brand Loyalty
Soft selling techniques can give customers a compelling reason to choose your products or services over those of your rivals, particularly if the market offers similar options. Soft selling techniques can establish an emotional connection between customers and the products you are offering. This emotional link can raise the probability of customers choosing your product over your competition.
Improving Your Reputation
Adopting soft selling can establish a reputation for a business as being friendly and customer-focused. This can raise brand recognition and attract new customers for your product or service.
Increase Repeat Customers
The welcoming nature of soft selling techniques can lead to customers incorporating your products or services into their daily routines. This can increase the demand for replacement products or regular visits to your business. Additionally, it can create positive memories of a business, which can help customers remember you when they need a solution to their problem.
Soft Selling Techniques
To achieve the best results in a soft sell, there are various techniques a salesman could use. It’s also important to note that as sales progress there will always be more ways to entice a soft sell. Let’s check out a couple of soft selling techniques you can start applying to your arsenal today, such as:
Use of storytelling to connect to buyers' emotions
- Invite your customers to ask questions
- Give discounts and free samples
- Give the customers time to consider their options
A common method of soft selling is narrating a tale about your goods or services. A brief narrative centered on your product's practicality can impart information about the advantages of purchasing it for customers. Additionally, it can showcase the intangible aspect of the experience of owning or utilizing your product. This can resonate with the buyer's emotions, demonstrating not only the product's utility but also the potential positive impact it may have on their lives. Elements that can be incorporated into your story include:
- Your product
- Creating an avatar
- A problem your product can solve
- How to use your product
- The result of using your product
- How the avatar feels after using your product
An example would be when selling vacuum cleaners, you could narrate a story of someone preparing for a dinner party. In order to do so, they need to tidy up their home. Using your vacuum cleaner, they are able to transform their home into a spotless space they can showcase with pride when their guests arrive.
Invite your customers to ask questions
Soft selling often involves interacting with buyers directly. Allowing them to inquire about your product allows you to provide firsthand responses about its usefulness. This also enables you to identify the needs and preferences of your customers. With this new knowledge, you can direct them to the goods and services most suitable for their needs. When encouraging customer inquiries, it is best to:
- Be honest about your products
- Answer their questions directly
- Be patient
- Have a positive attitude
- Speak gently
- Focus on the customer instead of the product
Give discounts and free samples
Offering discounts and complimentary samples are subtle ways to entice customers to try your products. These incentives enable buyers to get familiar with your products at minimal or no cost while attracting new customers. This can not only boost sales but also lead to repeat customers.
Providing free samples to reviewers can aid them in generating their own online content about your product. Customers frequently consult these online reviews when making purchasing decisions. Having these reviews accessible can enhance product visibility.
Give the customers time to consider their options
Allowing the customer the autonomy to make their own decision can involve minimal communication or being patient for a sale. By providing a positive customer experience and an emotional connection to a product, you can enhance your chances of becoming the brand they select when making a final decision.
For instance, having a meeting with potential clients to discuss your services and giving them the option to reach out to you when they make a decision is one way to give customers time. That way, they can ponder the information you provided them and match it to their needs and budgets. Since they can do this at their own pace, an indecisive customer may come to appreciate your experience, realize the usefulness of your product, and make the purchase.
Perfecting Your Selling Techniques
Determining the most effective selling method takes time. Skilled sales representatives are able to adapt their sales approach to connect with their potential clients. Once you master this skill, you can close a sale in any situation.