Sales Techniques: Types & Applications

Instructor: Tara Schofield

Tara has a PhD in Marketing & Management

Being good at selling requires more than just pressuring someone to give you their money. There are several types of sales techniques that help consumers make a buying decision. This lesson explains how to use those techniques to your advantage.

Sales Techniques

Selling requires skill and knowledge. Understanding different techniques, and appropriate use of those techniques, will help you have a greater impact on your customers.

Hard Sell

You've been invited to listen to a timeshare presentation. For your time, you are offered $250 in gift cards and several other gifts, including a free weekend trip to a lovely timeshare property. It sounds almost too good to be true. You have no interest in buying a timeshare, but want a free trip and gifts for attending a 45-minute presentation. Once you start the presentation, you are shocked at how much pressure it put on you to buy a timeshare. They push you to buy that day, offering incentives for signing the paperwork right then. You feel stressed and overwhelmed because you have to make a quick decision and are being pressed by the sales people.

This is one example of a hard sell, a high-pressure sales technique that tries to push people to make a quick commitment. A hard sell is often used on high-priced items or an impulse item that has a substantial ticket price. Many companies use hard sell techniques to get fast sales and immediate results.

Soft Sell

A soft sell is a low-pressure, non-aggressive form of selling an item. It is based on providing information, giving customers time to consider their purchase, and allowing customers to make a decision. This method is a preference for sales people who don't want to pressure customers. It's a more calm and peaceful way to present products and close sales.

You've been in the market for a new car. After visiting two dealerships and being pressured to buy immediately, you've stopped at a third dealership to see if you can look at cars without being pushed to make a quick decision. At the third dealership, you are met by a friendly, low-key sales person who spends time understanding what you need in a car and what you don't want. After a friendly conversation, he presents several options and explains that he is not on commission and will not put pressure on you to buy. You can relax and look at the cars without feeling overwhelmed to buy today. As a matter of fact, you have such a good experience that you purchase your next car from this dealership and recommend them to three friends who have also purchased cars from the company. The soft sell approach took the pressure and anxiety away, allowing you to make a decision that felt right.

Consultative Selling

Elements of the previous example support consultative selling. A consultative selling approach means a sales person takes time to ask questions, understand the needs of the client, and provide solutions for their needs. This is an effective approach in the business world where purchases must meet business needs and the goals of the organization.

Solution Selling

A solution selling approach focuses on understanding problems and finding a solution. This is common in beauty and weight loss products. Consumers may have a problem of removing wrinkles and look to a company or promotional materials to help understand how to solve the skin problem and understand what the company has to lessen the wrinkles. Solution selling is often a positive and low-stress way of selling products or services because the need already exists. The sales process offers solutions to fix the problem.

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