Forbes: The Secrets To Soft Selling

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If you haven’t had a bad experience with a salesperson, consider yourself among the blessed few. There is a reason why many people have a negative connotation associated with the word “salesman”: most of us have had bad encounters with salespeople. Those of us who work in sales -- not only direct salespeople and sales managers but any person in business who spends time or energy trying to persuade others to engage in a commercial relationship -- recognize that we have the capacity to be the very people we disdain. The challenge we face is figuring out how to effectively sell without becoming one of the bad guys.

So how can salespeople excel without turning to the kind of off-putting tactics that have made “sales” a dirty word? Here are my tips on how to sell with being going overboard:

Be Yourself

I am a big believer in the power of soft selling -- “to push a product without coming off as pushy” -- which, according to Investopedia, is “designed to avoid angering potential customers and pushing them away.” I have worked in environments that all but outlawed soft selling, essentially force-feeding hard-selling across all levels of the organization. I came to learn quickly that I was better off working elsewhere. Life is too short to be anyone but yourself. People hate frauds and you will hate yourself if you become one. If you are turned off by hard selling, understand that you can get to yes while still being yourself. In fact, it will probably be easier, as you can focus on closing the sale instead of trying to be someone you are not.

One of my core beliefs in business is that people do business with people they like. You may have a great product or service, but so does your competitor, and often being stubborn can be the most appealing option of all. But if the person you are talking to likes you, he or she will be more likely to give you the time of day, to listen to you and to genuinely consider buying whatever you are selling (assuming it is at least reasonably suitable). Regardless of who you are selling to, remember the importance of developing a connection and building rapport. Take a genuine interest in the person you are speaking to, discuss topics that they find interesting and establish trust by representing yourself and what you are selling honestly and honorably.

Adam Mendler