Soft selling, is the acceptable face of sales – in fact, when it’s done right it stops looking & feeling like selling and it becomes more like buying.
So, how to do it and do it right? The team here at New Results Training have been training, coaching and consulting on soft selling for more years than we care to remember, but we’re more than happy to share our soft selling tips.
The overarching principle is to add value for your clients or customers, which means you must understand their needs… so no surprise that the first tip is to ask, ask ask! And don’t get hung up on whether you’re asking open or closed questions, simply have a conversation to find out what’s important to your customer.
If you heed the first tip, you need to listen, listen, listen! Seems obvious but there’s still too many sellers who ask a decent range of questions then fail to listen to what their customers tell them! What’s the point in that? Set yourself apart – practice listening (really listening, not just waiting for a gap to dive in with your next question!)
When you sell complex products/services that offer a wide range of features, the temptation is to get comfortable with a set of them and unconsciously focus in on them consistently. The problem then is that the proposition is too narrow – it’s a single generic pitch and not true advice from the full offering.
It’s a long-winded way of saying that all sellers must know the full range of features of products/services that they are selling. Sellers must then know how to translate them into personalised benefits to match, meet and – if possible – exceed their customers’ needs.
Are you struggling with the concept of selling at any level because you think it’s always a hard sell? Don’t worry – you’re not alone! We see this more often than you’d believe. The solution that works well is to discuss the other “s” word instead of sales: service.
Remember the 90’s when Cool Britannia was still cool and football was definitely coming home? It was also the decade that broke down the old school belief that service and sales were opposing forces. Soft selling is much more aligned to service – in some variants, particularly the Hard Helping Seller, the seller actively goes out of their way to offer a service that goes way beyond what the customer expected. They even offer this same service to prospective customers.
Offer it for free. No. Wait! Don’t disappear. If your customers can try before they buy, without being under any obligation to hand over money, they’ll be making an emotional attachment during the trial period. If you can’t offer this free option because of the product or service you sell, the alternative is to offer a no-quibble, fully guaranteed money back option.