Have you ever made a sale you didn’t feel good about where you got your sale just because you could, not because your customer would get the help they needed? I remember one employer in particular where that was true. I didn’t last long there – despite being on the fast track for rewards and promotion. I didn’t feel right about selling their product when I stopped believing it delivered what we claimed it did. Today I met a client who once quit sales for the same type of reason.
Ralph (not his real name) and I started out by going over some of the questions I sent him about his sales and marketing activity. I learned that Ralph had prior sales experience selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door. He excelled at it for awhile. He was aggressive, and he was good at it but found he hated himself for what he was doing. He had one of those moments many in hard sell sales have. It was an experience where he knew he could get the sale, but his prospect had no need for the product. In danger of losing his self respect, he quit sales.
Interestingly, he’s a small manufacturer now and the only one in his company at the moment who is doing sales. But today, he sells in an entirely different way. He talks to people and asks them what they need and what problems they are having. He listens. And he sincerely cares. He also relates to the problems they have because he’s run a manufacturing line himself. His present approach to sales is soft sell sales.
We talked then about figuring out basing his actions on his ideal customer profile. Just as in my recent series of blog posts, I showed him how using that profile, you build outwards. You figure out what their problems or desires are then find out what they want and feel they need. Only after you have this knowledge about your prospect do you begin to talk benefits and solutions. By using this approach to writing copy, you become a soft sell marketer.
I love it when clients catch onto an idea, when I can see the light come on that they just realized something at a deeper level, that they had an “Ah ha” moment. When I asked what he got out of the session, he said that he appreciated how I conveyed a sincere interest I helping him. I did everything I was telling him to do with his customers: ask questions, listen, care about helping, and offer assistance. Ralph’s response confirmed that we made that person-to-person connection.
It’s that relationship with our prospects that takes soft sell sales and marketing beyond just the money. To get your self respect back – and grow it – focus on contributing to another’s life and helping make their road easier with your selling activities. These kinds of sales we feel good about. Moreover, the customer feels good about them. This is what it means to “help customers buy.”
Does this feel right to you? Join the discussion by adding a comment about your experience with hard sell versus soft sell.
And if you want to join a community of people dedicated to soft sell sales and soft sell marketing, check out the Soft Sell Marketers Association because “it’s in the connection.”
May your sales be fun and mutually rewarding,
My first Kindle eBook, How Relationship Selling Rewards Small Businesses, went live on April 24, 2012. https://amzn.to/2BaP2AH I've lived a lifetime of service and spiritual search so it's natural for me to incorporate these attitudes into my work. I believe that selling and marketing are spiritual service when done with a heart-centered, relationship selling approach. All of business success comes down to building strong relationships.
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