Don’t Hard Sell

Don’t ever use the hard sell.

You read that right. I fly in the face of all of the career/personal success gurus, websites, articles, and books that teach you otherwise. Those that would tell me I am not ahead today because I don’t use a hard sell. I am not as far ahead as I should be, but I will not use a hard sell. Neither should you. I repeat. Do not use a hard sell tactic to get something you want. Never. Not one time, ever.

Why do I utter such marketing sacrilege? It’s simple; people who engage in hard selling are obnoxious pricks and are forever remembered as such. Period, end of discussion.

Here’s an example. I’m sure you know this guy.

I was at a networking event a few weeks ago. An alleged internet “website optimizer”, with a stack of business cards the size of his head cornered some poor woman, his card out before he even reached for her hand or asked her name. I never heard her name, and neither did he, because he was too busy selling, and spouting off at lightening speed:

Your goal is to make money…You need a website…My goal is to make a website…but not just any website…an optimized website…a website that knows how to work the internet…and what’s the internet…the internet is exposure…and what’s exposure…exposure is money…and what’s money…money is whatever you want it to be and I’m going to help you get more of it…more than you thought you could have…what I want to do for you is…

Recognize this jackass now? That is the hard sell. If you are like me you are far Too XYZ to fall for that as a customer, so don’t employ it yourself. Even if you haven’t yet found solid business relationships, you can’t bring yourself to be this guy.

Yet, shouldn’t you? Isn’t that the way to get ahead? No.

Hard sells are only of use when dealing with the gullible, the desperate, or the impulsive. It is those groups that give the false impression that the hard sell is effective. Yet, such people are going to buy something from somewhere anyway no matter what the pitch is. You may get to the front of the line by being an ass, but the line has nobody of worth in it.

And of course that is not truly building a relationship. It’s just selling. There is a difference. If you want to build business, talk to people like they are people, not like they owe you a living. Be remembered by a potential employer, or customer, or client, or network connection as a person they may actually want to talk to over and over again, not as “the asshole who sold me my air conditioner.” For while the latter may be someone who makes a string of single sales, the former is making an investment in people.

Be an investor. Don’t hard sell.

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