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The Soft Sell Of The Hard Sell – Relationship Marketing For Tough Times

The Soft Sell Of The Hard Sell – Relationship Marketing For Tough Times

Tough times call for tough marketing. The “tough marketing” is being tough on yourself, not on others. Today’s marketplace calls for understanding and empathy on the part of marketers towards prospects and others in your supply team. However, you have to be tougher than ever – on yourself.

The idea of the “Hard Sell” doesn’t sit well with many people, including this journalist. I don’t like someone “pushing” his or her product, service or even ideas off on me. You probably feel the same way. However, I enjoy conversing with people about new ideas and new products which can benefit me and help me do my job better.

See the difference? I like to have a conversation – a relationship – with someone who cares about me and my needs. Hey, if they are selling something that’s fine with me. I’m a die-hard, free market libertarian. I believe everyone is in sales and has the right to – at least initially – present their case. However, if it is not done in the right way and they start pestering me, I also have the right to walk away.

The key for you and me is to up our persuasion skills. Make your products, services and ideas very attractive – even compelling – without using that old 1950’s “hard sell” approach. Besides, the soft sell approach brings in more to the bottom line so even the bean counters like it!

Today’s economic environment calls for a different approach. The world is different today and will never go back to what it was in the 2004-2007 era. We have to change and adapt. Yet, in the midst of that changing and adapting, we embrace time-honored principles that have worked through the centuries.

Here are some specifics to help you in this economic environment:

Specific Steps To Implement Today

1. Get A Strong Dose Of Empathy. This means you’re seeing things from the other person’s point of view. Listen to them. The old saying still applies today: “You have two ears, two eyes and one mouth. That’s the proportion you need to use them.” Really listen and care for the other person and ask probing questions to help with their pain. Only after active listening will you be able to offer better suggestions to solve their problems.

2. Connect Through Social Networking And Marketing. This is where the world not only is going, but is today. The world has changed (yes, again!). Social Networking is not just a passing fade. You need to get familiar with services like FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn and a few others. Find the 2-3 “Must-Have” social networks where you can connect with people as people. Don’t be a Twitter-Snob and ask everyone to follow you without reciprocity. Be part of the community and don’t just push your stuff. Soft sell in Relationship Marketing means you listen to them and offer your services only where appropriate and not with every post. Be hard on yourself with this. Be soft on others by caring for them.


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