A soft sell is an approach to sales and promotion that emphasizes building a relationship and reputation with customers, rather than using direct, pushy tactics. This approach is often more subtle and indirect, and focuses on providing valuable information and creating a positive experience for the customer, rather than simply trying to make a sale. By taking a softer, more customer-focused approach, a company or salesperson may be able to build trust and establish long-term relationships with customers, ultimately leading to more successful sales.
A hard sell is a direct and aggressive approach to promotion and sales. It typically involves making strong claims and using persuasive language to convince potential customers to take a specific action, such as making a purchase. In a hard sell, the salesperson or company may use various tactics, such as repeating calls to action, addressing common objections, and making bold promises, in order to persuade the customer to take the desired action. This approach is often more direct and pushy than a soft sell, and may be more effective in certain situations, such as when a customer is hesitant or needs more convincing to make a purchase. However, it can also be off-putting to some customers and may not always be the best approach to building long-term relationships with them.
Salespeople often adopt one of two approaches: the “farmer” approach, which focuses on nurturing long-term relationships with customers, and the “hunter” approach, which focuses on making short-term sales. The “farmer” approach is often associated with soft selling, where a salesperson seeks to build a loyal and profitable customer base through building relationships and providing valuable information and experiences.
In terms of advertising and promotion, a soft sell may simply associate a positive emotion or idea with a brand, without directly promoting a specific product or service. This approach can be particularly effective for large firms that have a wide presence, as it can help to build brand recognition and a positive image, which can boost sales in the long run. A soft sell can also act as a form of countersignaling, demonstrating confidence and status without appearing desperate for a sale.
Hard selling is a “hunting” approach to sales, where a salesperson aggressively pursues an immediate sale. This approach typically involves using dramatic and direct sales pitches, addressing potential objections with promises, such as guarantees or customer references, and presenting the price early in the conversation, often with a discount already applied. Hard selling often involves using strong calls to action, such as “buy now,” “call now,” or “can I wrap this up for you,” in order to push the customer to take the desired action.
Hard selling is a skill that not all salespeople possess, and those who are good at it can be a valuable resource for firms that need to drive sales. However, this approach can also be off-putting to some customers, and may not always be the most effective way to build long-term relationships with them. As such, it is important for salespeople and firms to strike the right balance between hard selling and building relationships with customers.