I didn’t even have the free webinar link I requested in my email’s inbox for more than 5 minutes before my phone was ringing. “Hi, this is ____ with ____ company. I see you are interested in our new service?” Dang, this is a company I really liked but now I want to avoid them! Nothing bothers me more than a pushy salesperson serving up some good old fashion hard sell with a side of ABC (always be closing).
A salesperson who’s trying to hard-sell makes a buyer feel like he’s not really looking out for their interests but in closing the deal. Even if you make the one deal is it worth burning a bridge?
Why hard sell is becoming part of the past
Overcoming objections has been a standard part of sales training for years. If you have to work really hard to get the sale, it is a sign you haven’t put out enough information on your product or your marketing team needs to put in more effort or you are not front of mind and a trusted resource for your clients.
Good companies get to know their audience, but is that possible in a hard-sell situation? Are you actively listening if you are constantly trying to close the deal?
Hard selling has been defined as a technique in which the salesperson exerts pressure upon the customer, using inducements and psychological pressure to gain a fast sale, it has even been called a predatory sales tactic.
A high-pressure approach often makes clients feel uncomfortable. Buyers want to be courted without feeling the pressure from constant phone calls and sales pitches. Sales expert Bob Burg believes “a low-pressure—even no-pressure—approach will ultimately result in far more sales (not to mention greater career satisfaction for its practitioners).” Furthermore, Edward C. Bursk, a former editor of Harvard Business Review, describes low-pressure selling as “not driving the prospect into a buying decision, but letting him reach the decision himself.”
Don’t focus on the one sale you’re trying to make, focus on creating a repeat customer or customers with referrals from your initial contact. Would you recommend us to someone else if we made the conversation about getting the sale/closing the sale or would you spend most of the conversation trying to figure out how to end the call?
Benefits of soft sell and social selling
The soft sell is a sales approach focused on subtle persuasion and casual language. A soft sell technique creates a low-pressure sales experience for the client while providing product information. Soft sellers are masters at keeping prospects engaged for the long haul without turning them off with aggressive sales tactics.
Put yourself in the position of a prospect. Do you want to work with someone who is busying pitching, or do you want to work with someone who is listening to what you are saying and for what you need in a product or service?
How to implement soft selling techniques
This is difficult for salespeople, who often face quotas or their income is commission driven. Balancing low-pressure pitches with a healthy career is important. Here are ways to establish buy-in and close sales without making leads feel pressured or intimidated.
When anyone in my company talks to a client it is for the purpose to see if we are both the right fit to work together. We want to provide all the information for you to come to the decision if this is right for you. If it’s not, that’s okay but we want to leave the conversation in a good place because we might not be a good fit for you, but you may know someone who could use our services.
Client-focused introduction calls are what works for us. When talking with prospective clients we like to keep the following in mind:
- Be personable and ask thoughtful questions.
- Focus on relationship-building.
- Actively listen to your prospects.
- Provide information about your product without asking for the sale.
- Give your prospects space to decide.
- Leave prospective clients wanting to do business with you in the future or wanting to pass on your information to a friend.
Exhibit more traits that appeal to buyers, act as a consultant instead of a sales representative, the value of your product will be much more apparent to the prospect, sometimes without even a need for a pitch.
Negative consequences in the digital age
Who doesn’t love to brag to their friends that they got this amazing deal or how great a company was to work with? You WANT people to talk about you in a good way–particularly in the age of social media.
I had to resist the urge to go on social media and let people know not to request the webinar from the company that launched a hard sell once I gave them my information because it felt like a trap. Instead, I did tell the salesperson that I prefer to check thinks out and request the information for myself. I believe if we all responded that way the best goods and services would rise to the top of the food chain.
Business is always changing. Sell accordingly!
There is a new movement called no pressure selling which is complementary to social selling. Overuse of hard-selling has caused a large portion of the market to shut down to the approach. Tap into this movement and reap the benefits.