Hard Sell vs. Soft Sell

by georgetc

One of the key concerns raised by prospective clients is that of representation by their Account Manager, i.e. the individual we select to work on their campaign. They are worried that business development callers will push or persuade marketing prospects to meet their clients when they don’t actually want to or don’t have a genuine need.

Our response to this is that a consultative approach to prospects is far more effective in the long term and that pushing a prospect into a meeting will almost certainly result in it either being cancelled or, even worse, a poor quality meeting. Thus, our offer is based on the quality of meetings that we set for our clients – this does mean however, that we don’t set that many, but in our experience marketing agencies prefer quality to quantity!

Selling is all about making it easy for people to buy; therefore you have to find out what they want to buy rather than try and shove something down their throat that they don’t want and never have any intention of buying.

At this stage in the sales cycle this need may only be implied (e.g. ‘I’m slightly concerned that my current agency isn’t always giving me value for money’) but this doubt is nearly always sufficient reason to set an appointment. We then work with our clients to help them turn this implied need into an explicit need during the meeting itself (e.g. ‘I’d like you to come back in and show me how you would improve my customer retention rates’)

So… the hard sell (aka the transactional sell) does not and never will work in any service based market. The hard sell can work in a product based call or when there is a single transaction involved but a consultative or relationship based sell is the only way in our market.