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Sales: Avoid the Hard Sell!

Is there anything worse than being pushed too hard by a salesperson?

Before Mother’s Day my daughters and I went shopping in a tea store in a nearby mall. But instead of entering the Zen-like atmosphere one would expect, it was if we had walked into the boiler room of Earl Grey.

No, that sampler is not good enough, the $100 one is what you want! That tea you just chose will “spoil” in 10 days if you don’t buy this $40 tin to put it in! Buy more, buy now!

It was a strange experience, and yes, we left without purchasing a thing. But plenty of others remained.

It’s easy to see why a manager would push hard sell tactics on his or her staff: It’s easy and can get short-term results. But in actuality it is a very shortsighted strategy. Consider all of the downsides to the hard sell:

Poorer quality sales: When you force someone into buying something they may not really want, what you are really doing is setting the business up for failure. What often happens is that later, when the pressure is off and customers consider the interaction and the products they purchased, they decide that they do not really want or like the product.

They will return it. It’s a fake sale.

Disgruntled customers: Customers who get products or services crammed down their throat don’t usually stay customers for long. Feeling used and abused, they rightfully take their money elsewhere.

Unhappy employees: Aside from fake sales and unhappy customers, forcing the hard sell strategy on your staff often leads to low morale and high turnover.

People will only work in a high-pressure sales environment for a few reasons:

  • They really need the job
  • They like the money
  • They thrive under pressure

Most people however, when forced to sell something they do not believe in, or sell something to people who are only marginally interested, will look for a new job that is not so morally compromising.

Bad morale: Between the high turnover rate, and selling stuff in questionable ways, the overall staff mood at the hard sell workplace is typically very poor. Employees in such places don’t believe in the company or the product and they often conspire against management, whom they perceive to be the enemy.

And finally, this all in turn creates

A bad brand: It is hard to create a positive brand and stellar reputation when your employees don’t like you and your customers resent you.

All in all, the hard sell is a bad sell.

Steve StraussFounder, and
Steven is one of the world’s leading entrepreneurship and small business experts. He is a lawyer, public speaker and author, speaking around the world about entrepreneurship. He has been seen on CNN, CNBC, The O’Reilly Factor, and his column, Ask an Expert, appears weekly on | | @stevestrauss | More from Steve

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