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Is hard sell a good or a bad thing?

Depends.

What is hard sell? Hard sell means insistence people buy. Most dictionary definitions also include the words “aggressive” and “high-pressure.”

That said, the definitions that I’ve read are woefully incomplete, particularly from the perspective of the business and the sales person. If you’re selling a good product or service that the customer legitimately needs, then the definition above needs to be extended. The definition should be “Insistence people buy and getting the person the product or service they need.”

Here is an example of when hard sell is good: Prospects are a couple who have two children and no life insurance. Product is life insurance – it doesn’t matter which company – the policy provides the family with adequate protection. Here, insisting the customer buys the policy is good. It’s something the family needs to have. If you soft sell it and accept whatever excuse the customers throw out for not moving ahead, you do them a disservice. Fatal accidents happen all the time. What if you left the clients without coverage and they got involved in a car accident? Wouldn’t that be a horrible disservice to the family? In this case high-pressure is a good thing. In the end, that family will thank you.

Here is an example of when hard sell is bad: Prospects are a couple who have two children and no life insurance. Product is life insurance – this time it’s a far more expensive policy with a benefit that was much higher than the couple needs to replace their income in the event of their deaths. Here, insisting the customer buys the policy is bad. The family doesn’t need that much insurance and the only purpose the salesman has for selling it is the higher commission. This sale is for the benefit of the salesman, not the customer.

The last sentence above is the key. Hard sell is good when the sale is for the benefit of the customer, bad when the sale is solely for the benefit of the salesman or company.

Anyone with a lick of personal integrity knows the difference.

If your product or service will benefit your prospect, be as hard sell as you want in your marketing materials and your sales talks.