Could Your Business Be Better Off Without The Hard Sell?

With consumers now wary of door-to-door salespeople, content marketing can provide your business with better sales opportunities

Could Your Business Be Better Off Without The Hard Sell?

Much to many consumers’ chagrin, the hard sell is commonplace in a lot of industries. But is it still effective in the digital age? And is there a better alternative?

In this article, we’ll show you how your business may be better off without pushy sales tactics.

The stigma of ‘old-school’ sales tactics

Due to the public’s negative perception of pushy sales tactics, customers are often guarded whenever they feel they’re being given the hard sell. This is more the case in industries that are notorious for their ‘cowboy’ firms, as consumers are likely to be even more on guard if you’re trying to push them into a sale. This can make them totally unresponsive to any efforts on your part to get them to hand over their hard-earned cash for your product or service — if the hard sell is your only sales method in this instance, then you’re unlikely to be successful.

Charlie Henley, direct sales advisor at security company Evander, said:

“Door-to-door sales are still very much alive and kicking in this sector, as are visits from flashy sales representatives once a customer’s interest has been noted. Often, these salesmen and women will show up in a nice car and spend a couple of hours with you in your home with a view to agreeing a sale then and there. Their sales pitch can be quite heavy, and, as they work on commission, they’ll tend to offer a higher price initially, which doesn’t always get the customer the best deal.

“In our experience, you can get much better results by sending an engineer to the initial contact with potential customers to take measurements and discuss requirements. As these don’t work on commission, they’re not tempted to rush through numerous surveys a day, nor are they pressured to quote at the time. With the average consumer becoming wise to the tricks of old-school sales tactics, this softer approach can give you great results.”

Content marketing: an alternative to the hard sell?

If the effectiveness of old-school sales tactics is on the wane, then what should your business focus on instead? First, it’s important to look at why the hard sell is losing its effectiveness.

Today, we have access to a wealth of knowledge through the phones we carry around in our back pocket. As little as twenty years ago, consumers would have to invest hours of time and effort to find the best products on the market — now it can be done in minutes. It used to be extremely difficult for consumers to verify the information given to them by a salesperson, whereas today all it takes is a quick Google search.

With this information, customers often prefer to do their own research into a product or service before they buy so they can be sure they’re getting a good deal. Because of this, they’re a lot less likely to buy straight from a cold pitch, so you may be a lot better off investing your resources in ‘soft’ methods that bring in organic sales.

Given the fact that many customers tend to research their options online before they make a purchasing decision, publishing relevant, well written, and thoroughly researched content can drive traffic to your website. If your web design and your sales copy is doing its job, this will lead to sales.

For some businesses, this can be one of the most effective forms of marketing available. In fact, according to Demand Metric, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates approximately three times as many leads. If your business isn’t already implementing a content marketing strategy, then the evidence suggests you should be.

Don’t fear change

This doesn’t mean that you should replace your entire sales staff with copywriters. However, you should consider changing your approach to sales if you’re currently not seeing the results you’d like from pushy tactics.

You can have success in your sales attempts without giving your customers the hard sell, and in a market saturated with salespeople using old-school tactics, this can actually be a breath of fresh air for consumers, yielding excellent results.

Keep this in mind when measuring the success of your own sales and marketing efforts, and consider trying a softer approach in the future to see if it works for your business. No matter whether you choose to stick or twist with your sales methods, take a look at our guide to increasing sales in your business for more tips.

Julian Betts is head of customer services at Evander 

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