Soft Sell Vs Hard Sell

Difference between Soft Sell and Hard Sell


Teams in sales and marketing adjust to the circumstances of their respective sectors. In industries where immediate sales are necessary, they utilize hard selling, and in those where repeat business is necessary, they use soft selling. Soft selling focuses on building relationships and consultative selling whereas hard selling aims in closing deals.


Hard selling is a forceful and direct method of selling in which the salesman applies pressure to the customer to make a purchase. This method frequently entails applying high-pressure techniques, such as presenting a compelling pitch or highlighting the drawbacks of not purchasing the goods. Fast transaction closure is the main goal of hard selling, frequently at the price of cultivating a connection with the client.

Soft selling, on the other hand, is a more covert and consultative style to sales, where the salesperson aims to develop a rapport with the client and comprehend their needs before making a product or service recommendation. This strategy is mainly about educating the consumer and assisting them in making an informed decision. It is centered on developing trust and relationship with the customer. In order to establish a connection with the customer, soft selling uses open-ended inquiries, active listening, and empathy.


Overall, the degree of aggression and directness used in the sales strategy is the primary distinction between hard selling and soft selling. Soft selling is generally regarded as a more effective and sustainable approach to sales because it focuses on establishing long-term relationships with customers. Hard selling is only effective in certain circumstances, like when the customer is already interested in the product and needs one last push to make a decision.


Let’s take the example of a salesperson trying to convince a customer to purchase a new smartphone. Saying something like, “This smartphone is the best on the market. There is no other place you can get a better phone. You must purchase it right away to avoid regret. This is the phone you want, I promise” would be considered a hard sell.

However, if you were to take a soft selling approach, you might say something like, “I know you’re shopping for a new smartphone. Could you elaborate on the features you’re searching for in a phone? What qualities matter to you? I believe this smartphone might be a good fit for you based on what you’ve told me. It boasts an excellent camera and a lengthy battery life. Would you be interested in finding out more?”

Education and Persuasion

Soft selling focuses on educating and benefiting customers by providing information and assisting them in their purchasing decision. Soft sell emphasizes an interactive approach to make conclusions by the customers. In hard selling, business or representatives focus on persuading customers to buy by explaining the features, benefits and other sales tactics. The purpose in hard sell is to seal the deal i.e. make customers buy the products by any means.

Time frame and Sales Cycle

Hard sell demands the transaction. In hard sell, focus is more on closing the sale or converting the conversation into a sale. Hard sell is quick and prompt. Meanwhile, soft sell is a relaxed approach. Building relationships takes time. Soft sell has a longer sales cycle. It focuses more on communication, nurturing and building trust over time. Soft sell educates and allows customers to make decisions in their time. There is no push factor in soft sell. 

Due to such reasons, soft sell strategies are designed for long term sustainability. The aim is to cultivate a loyal customer for the business for long-term benefits. But hard sell strategies are quick and always look for short-term gains.

Customer Autonomy and Customer Experience

Soft sell focuses on customer’s freedom to make choices. This approach respects the autonomy decision making process of the customers and helps the customers by providing them information and guidance to make the decision. The objective behind this approach is to enrich the customer experience and provide them with personalized and tailored service according to their needs and preferences.

On the contrary, hard sell exerts a more controlling and direct approach in the decision making process of the customers. Hard sell influences the customers through various persuasive techniques. Such influencing techniques may not be conceived well by the customer from their experience perspective. No customer wants an aggressive and controlling experience.

As you can see, the soft selling method is more consultative and emphasizes developing a relationship with the customer, whereas the hard selling strategy is more direct and aggressive. While the hard selling strategy might come across as forceful and may alienate the buyer, the soft selling strategy enables the salesperson to comprehend the customer’s demands and customize their pitch accordingly.

Leave a Comment