The world of sales can be intimidating. You may constantly feel under pressure to beat your targets. However, soft selling can be a more flexible and effective approach than hard selling, enabling you to build lasting customer relationships.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at hard selling vs soft selling, and discuss the benefits of the latter. Then, we’ll explore five tips to help you master the art of soft selling. Let’s get started!
Soft Selling vs Hard Selling
Hard selling is probably what you think of when you envision a salesperson. All that matters is scoring the sale as quickly as possible. As such, hard selling can often come off as aggressive, putting pressure on the customer to make a purchase.
On the other hand, soft selling prioritizes building quality relationships over selling products. While this may sound counterintuitive, it tends to have more long-term rewards.
The subtle persuasion in soft selling can win you favor with customers since it gives them time and space to make a thoughtful purchasing decision. It also creates more awareness about your brand, enabling you to educate people about your products and mission.
Since soft selling is much gentler and customer-focused, it can lead to better client relationships. With a focus on educating prospects and taking their needs into consideration, consumers can feel more appreciated.
This strategy can therefore help you build trust with clients and establish brand loyalty. In the long run, it may lead to increased retention rates, since customers will have no reason to look toward your competitors.
5 Tips to Master the Art of Soft Selling
Now that you know a bit more about soft selling, let’s take a look at five tips to help you master this technique.
1. Establish Positive Customer Relationships
Taking the time to get to know your customers can help you cater to their needs more accurately. Although it may not seem directly sales-related, you can work on increasing engagement across your social media channels to establish positive relationships.
It’s also a good idea to implement an effective customer support channel on your site so that shoppers can quickly get in touch when they need help. LiveChat is a good option, as it helps you interact with customers in real-time:
Additionally, you could reach out to leads that have enquired about your services. Rather than providing a sales pitch, you may want to try keeping it casual. Your customer shouldn’t feel under any pressure to buy from you.
You can inform the prospect about your business and establish the meeting as an opportunity to decide whether the partnership is a good fit for both parties. You can do this by asking thoughtful questions and showing that you’ve listened to their concerns.
2. Understand Your Customer’s Needs
It will be easier to soft sell to a customer when you understand their pain points and needs. Therefore, you’ll want to set aside time to craft your ideal customer persona.
Think about the challenges your prospects may face in their everyday lives. Then, you can reflect on the ways that your product or service can solve these problems.
One of the easiest ways to understand your shoppers is to conduct customer research. You can do this by asking visitors to complete short forms on your site.
Alternatively, you might send follow-up surveys to users after they’ve engaged with your support channels or purchased a product:
You can also interact with your followers on social media and reply to comments on your blog posts. This way, you can find out more about your customers’ needs and identify ways to improve your service.
3. Provide Value Without Expectation
It can be a good idea to show customers that your product offers value before expecting them to commit to a sale. For instance, you may offer a free trial or provide free samples.
Baymard Institute found that 58.6% of U.S. shoppers abandoned their carts in the last three months because they were “just browsing.” This shows that some customers decline the sale simply because they aren’t yet ready to make a purchase.
This creates an opportunity to interact with potential customers and show them why they should complete their purchases. For example, you can educate shoppers about your brand and ethos, and provide quality content to help them make a more informed decision.
It’s also important to alter the way you close the exchange. Rather than securing the sale, you could provide different ways that customers can stay in touch with your business. For example, you can point them toward your website or social media pages, and encourage them to sign up for your newsletter.
4. Send Follow-Up Emails
One of the biggest differences between hard selling and soft selling is that the latter gives you more time to secure a sale. Therefore, you don’t need to rush customers into making a purchase.
For this reason, you may want to consider using email marketing to increase your sales. This can help you build a loyal customer base and encourage reluctant customers to make a purchase. Plus, it’s a popular channel, with nearly 80% of U.S. millennials stating that they like being contacted by brands via email.
Using a tool like MailChimp, you can create automated email sequences that can be delivered to your subscribers in stages:
Rather than leading with a sale right away, you might provide information about your products, share your brand story, or introduce your team. This way, you can focus on building a relationship with your audience before you position your offer.
Additionally, email marketing enables you to nurture leads and frequently touch base with subscribers. For instance, you can send surveys to find out what your customers liked (or didn’t like) about your website. You can also announce sales and deliver coupon codes via email.
5. Utilize Case Studies and Testimonials
Another way to employ soft selling is to harness the power of existing customers. Adding customer reviews to your site can help you attract new customers. In fact, 38% of customers say that they look at reviews before making a purchasing decision.
With this strategy, you don’t need to employ any sales tactics. Your loyal customers can do the work for you:
You can feature testimonials on your website that highlight the benefits of your products. For service-based companies, you can dedicate entire pages to case studies. This enables potential clients to see the benefit of employing your services.
Hard selling can be intimidating for both the buyer and the seller. However, you can master the art of soft selling to build longer-lasting relationships while increasing sales. For example, you could send follow-up emails, add testimonials to your site, and provide free samples or trials.
Do you have any questions about implementing soft selling in your sales strategy? Let us know in the comments section below!
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