When you’re selling a product or service, you have two main options to choose from. You need to decide whether you want to use the hard-sell method or a softer approach. Both tactics have pros and cons. Let’s take a look at the difference between soft selling and hard selling to determine which one is right for your business:
What Is Soft Selling?
First, let’s talk about a gentler approach to making a sale. Nearly every good business employs the soft sell in some way. With this strategy, a company can encourage an individual to buy a product or service without seeming too pushy or overbearing. The idea is to show the benefits of making a purchase while putting the customer at ease. Here are some of the pros of soft selling:
You’ll earn the trust of your customers
Soft selling often involves promotions like money-back guarantees and free-trial periods. By promising your customers that they’ll be happy with their purchase, you can convince them to give you a chance. When you follow through on your promise, you’ll earn their trust and gain repeat buyers. That can keep your financial goals on track.
It will help you build a good reputation
Building a solid reputation is a crucial part of your company’s success. Choosing to soft sell your products or services will help people know that your business is reliable and easy to work with. You can definitely create positive buzz by using a gentler sales pitch. Sometimes good word of mouth can make all the difference in how many sales you make.
Soft selling is generally the preferred strategy for most businesses, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. There are a couple of disadvantages to selling with subtlety. Check out some cons associated with the soft sell:
It might not be enough to convince certain people
Some individuals just won’t be convinced by a soft sell. Soft selling doesn’t make your offer seem quite as urgent or necessary. Unfortunately, that means many people won’t get around to making a purchase until much later or they may skip it entirely.
You may lose out to the competition
If your competitors are employing a hard-sell tactic, their aggression could bully customers into buying from them instead of you. While some people will be turned off by a pushy approach, there will always be those who succumb to the pressure. It’s important to take that into consideration if you plan to rely solely on soft selling.
What Is Hard Selling?
You may not know it, but you’ve probably been on the receiving end of a hard sell many times. Cold calls from telemarketers generally fit into this category. A hard sell is typically a more aggressive way of making a sale. For example, a salesperson might forcefully say “Buy this now! What are you waiting for?” Here are some of the pros of using hard selling:
It might help indecisive customers
If a customer is on the fence about making a purchase, the hard-sell approach could be just enough to convince him or her. This is especially true if you’re dealing with an individual who doesn’t like confrontation. He or she will be likely to give in to avoid further discussion. You may also get more sales from people who are prone to buy impulsively. When you push hard, it might convince them to make a quick purchase without really thinking it through.
It may result in more short-term sales
The hard-selling strategy could result in more short-term sales in some cases. Certain customers can feel a sense of urgency from a harsher tone and they could close the deal faster. Someone may feel pressured to immediately act based on a salesperson’s demeanor. This isn’t always the case, but it can be an advantage of hard selling.
Hard selling might have a couple of minor benefits like the ones listed above, but it’s usually regarded as a negative tactic in the sales world. In other words, hard selling may be a little too hard. There are definitely some disadvantages when it comes to the hard sell. Let’s examine some of the cons of using it:
It could shut down a sale entirely
The hard sell can be rather off-putting and irritating. Some people are so offended by brash sales techniques that they’ll instantly hang up the phone or walk out of a store. Hard selling may prove to be too much for timid individuals and it could provoke an “I’ll show you” mentality in bolder people. Someone can easily get pushed too far and move on to another company that provides a similar offer without the aggressive presentation. If that happens regularly, it could really hurt your total sales. Your business could even end up going under if you keep losing all your customers to the competition.
It’s not usually good for long-term goals
Repeat customers and word of mouth are often very important for sales. Hard selling may score an initial sale, but an individual may have such a negative experience that he or she avoids buying from your company in the future. That means you could lose out on repeat business from an otherwise satisfied customer. Plus, irritated people may vent on social media or tell their friends and family what a horrible experience they had. No one wants to deal with a business that’s known for having employees that are rude and confrontational.
When it comes down to it, most businesses are focused on doing whatever it takes to get more sales. Soft selling and hard selling are two very different strategies to achieve that goal. The results may vary depending on what type of product or service you’re offering, but both options have positive and negative qualities. Ultimately, you have to decide which one is right for you. Just remember that your customers are real people will real wants and needs. You may find that being kind can go a long way toward improving your bottom line.