The Art of Soft Selling: A Complete Guide
In today’s market, customers are bombarded with pitches and advertisements wherever they turn. As a result, they’ve become good at tuning out the hard sell and ignoring traditional sales techniques. That’s where soft selling comes in.
With a soft sell approach, businesses focus on building relationships and providing value rather than selling a product or service outright.
By taking the time to understand their customers’ needs and pain points, businesses can create tailor-made solutions that offer real value. In addition, soft-sell advertising cultivates loyalty and goodwill, which are essential for long-term sales success.
Of course, soft selling isn’t always appropriate – sometimes, a hard sell is necessary to close a deal. But for many businesses, adopting a soft sell approach is the best way to build meaningful relationships with their customers.
Table of contents:
- What is Soft Selling?
- What is Hard Selling?
- Hard Sell vs. Soft Sell
- Soft selling strategy
- Soft Sell Technique
- Soft Sell Examples
What is Soft Selling?
Soft selling is a technical term used in marketing and advertising that refers to low-pressure sales techniques. It’s the opposite of hard selling, which employs high-pressure tactics to close a sale as quickly as possible.
With soft selling, the goal is to slowly build rapport and trust with prospects by providing them with valuable information about your products or services.
This type of selling is often used in B2B situations or when selling high-ticket items.
The key to soft selling is avoiding being pushy. Instead, you want to focus on educating your potential customers and helping them see how your product or service can benefit them. By building a relationship and providing value, you’ll be much more likely to close a sale with a satisfied customer who feels like they’ve made the best decision for their needs.
Brand24 is a tool that monitors online mentions of your brand.
What is Hard Selling?
Hard selling is a sales technique that involves pressuring a potential customer into buying a product or service. It is often used by sales professionals trying to make a quick sale, and it can be very effective in getting people to make a purchase.
However, hard selling can also be off-putting and may turn leads away. When using this technique, it is important to strike a balance between being pushy and being assertive. If you come across as too pushy, you may scare potential customers away. But if you are not assertive enough, you may not be able to close the sale.
Hard selling requires finesse and a deep understanding of human psychology. It’s not the easiest sales system, by far. When used correctly, it can be a powerful tool for the sales process. But it must be used carefully, or it can backfire.
Hard Sell vs. Soft Sell
Hard selling is usually associated with certain high-pressure and aggressive sales tactics like:
- Focusing on the features of the product or service rather than the benefits,
- Using high-pressure tactics to get the customer to make a buying decision,
- Making bold claims about the product or service,
- Using scare tactics to try to convince the customer to buy.
Hard selling can be effective in some situations, but it is important to use this approach carefully.
It is also significant to make sure that you are able to back up your claims about the product or service. Otherwise, you could end up damaging your credibility.
Soft selling strategy
A soft sell strategy is less aggressive. It focuses on building relationships, trust, and rapport with potential customers. Soft selling usually takes a longer time to convert a lead into a sale, but the results are more likely to be lasting
Some of the key characteristics of soft selling include:
- Establishing trust and rapport with the customer,
- Focusing on the customer’s needs,
- Using questions to guide the conversation,
- Listening more than talking,
- Avoiding hard selling tactics,
- Building relationships for the long term.
If you are looking to build more meaningful relationships with your customers, soft selling may be the right sales approach for you.
Soft Sell Technique
Now that you’re aware of the differences between hard and soft selling, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty! I’ll give you some tips and tricks regarding soft sales.
01 Do your research
Imagine you’re at a party. You strike up a conversation with a stranger and, after a few minutes, you realize that you have a lot in common. You like the same music, you root for the same sports team, and you even went to the same college. As the conversation progresses, you start to feel more and more comfortable with this person. Eventually, they invite you to join their book club. You eagerly accept, looking forward to meeting new people and discussing your favorite books.
Now imagine that, instead of being invited to a book club, the stranger asks if you’re interested in buying insurance. Would you be as receptive? Probably not. In fact, you might even feel insulted by the hard sell.
This is why it’s so important to do your research before soft-selling someone. If you can find common ground and build rapport, you’re much more likely to make a sale. However, if you come across as pushy or insincere, you’ll quickly lose any chance of making a connection – and a sale.
In order to successfully soft sell to a person or group, you need to do some research beforehand. This means more than just knowing the product or service you are offering inside and out – you must also be aware of the needs, wants, and pain points of your target market. Only then can you effectively tailor your sales pitch to address these issues in a way that will resonate with your audience.
02 Be genuine and authentic in your interactions with customers
When you’re soft selling, it’s important to be genuine and authentic in your interactions with customers. Otherwise, they will see through your guise, and lose trust in you or your product.
And why would they trust you, in the first place? They don’t know you, so why should they believe what you’re saying?
Being genuine and authentic shows that you’re trustworthy and that you believe in what you’re selling. It’s also important to build rapport with prospects. This way, they’ll feel comfortable with you and be more likely to listen to what you have to say. If they feel like they can trust you, they’re more likely to buy from you. Finally, remember to be patient when soft selling.
Customers may need some time to warm up to you and your product. If you’re too pushy, they’ll feel pressured and are less likely to buy anything from you. But if you take the time to build a relationship with them and show that you care about their needs, they’ll be more likely to make a purchase.
03 Focus on demonstrating how your product or service can benefit the customer, rather than on making a sale
In order to be successful when soft selling, you have to focus on demonstrating how your product or service can benefit the customer, rather than on making a sale alone.
This is because people are generally more receptive to messages that focus on their benefits rather than on the offer itself.
When you’re able to show the customer how your product or service can make their life better, they’re more likely to be interested in learning more about it. And once you have their attention, you’ll be in a much better position to make a sale.
04 Use questions to assess needs and tailor your pitch appropriately
The best way to assess your customers’ needs is to ask them questions. By asking the right questions, you can get a sense of what they’re looking for and what they need help with.
That way, you can make sure that your pitch is focused on solving their specific problem. If you just go in with a generic pitch, they’re likely to tune you out pretty quickly. But if you show that you understand their needs and have a solution that will help them, they’ll be much more receptive to what you have to say.
Sales representatives who use a soft selling approach tailor their sales pitch to the needs of the customer. They do this by asking questions about the customer’s situation and then using the information gathered to customize their sales message.
For example, a salesperson selling office supplies might ask a prospect about the size of their team, what type of work they do, and how often they need to restock supplies. With this information, the salesperson can then make recommendations about which products would be best for the customer.
05 Don’t be pushy
To be successful when soft selling, it is important to be patient and respectful of the customer’s time and space.
This means that you should not try to force the customer to make a decision or take action before they are ready. Instead, you should patiently answer their questions and provide them with information about your product or service.
06 Follow up after the sale to ensure satisfaction and address any concerns
A successful sale is only the beginning of a successful relationship with a customer. Following up after the sale can help to ensure customer satisfaction and address any concerns that may have arisen since the purchase was made.
By following up, businesses can build trust and credibility with their customers, showing they are interested in more than just making a one-time sale. Additionally, following up provides an opportunity to upsell or cross-sell complementary products. Done correctly, following up after a sale can help to solidify the relationship between customer and business, opening the door for future sales.
Brand24 is a tool that monitors online mentions of your brand.
Soft Sell Examples
Here are three soft selling examples:
An e-commerce company specializing in high-quality, customized stationery could use soft selling by creating a visually appealing social media campaign. The campaign might showcase aesthetically pleasing images of the stationery being used in various settings, such as a cozy home office or a creative workspace. The posts would emphasize the emotions and atmosphere the stationery evokes, such as productivity, creativity, and inspiration, without directly mentioning product features or urging a purchase.
A SaaS company offering project management software could use soft sell marketing by producing a series of informative webinars or video tutorials that address common challenges faced by project managers. The content would focus on providing practical tips, industry best practices, and expert insights without overtly promoting the company’s software.
An NGO focused on wildlife conservation could use soft selling techniques by sharing heartwarming stories and captivating images of rescued animals on their social media platforms and newsletters. The content would emphasize the positive impact of their work on individual animals and their natural habitats, without explicitly asking for donations.
Soft selling may be the answer if you’re looking for a new selling technique that doesn’t rely on high-pressure tactics.
This method is all about developing relationships and providing value to potential customers.
The best part?
It’s an effective way to get people interested in a product or service without putting them on the spot.