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“Soft” sales techniques to get high productivity without high pressure

A soft approach

When I sold books door-to-door in college, my sales manager, Ted Welch, taught me a “soft” approach to a customer. We would always ask who lived next door, so we had a name. We also found out where the kids went to school. (We were selling Webster’s Dictionary and Student Handbook.)

So the approach went like this: “Hi, Mrs. Jones. I’m Steve Savage. I’m calling on the folks whose kids go to Washington Elementary. Do you have a place we could sit down?” (Ted taught me to talk very slowly, which was definitely not my normal speed!)

About half the time we sat down. If not, we just chatted standing up. In either case, we were relaxed.

A soft presentation

Ted also taught me how to make a “soft” presentation. The best way to do that is to ask a lot of questions. That way the customer is engaged. “What grade is Johnny in? What is his best subject? What is his toughest subject? Who is Johnny’s favorite teacher? Do you know Mrs. Smith next door? She liked this section because she thought it would help Susie with her math.”

Ted felt that the salesperson should do only 50% of the talking. Let the customer do the other 50%.

A soft close

When we came to the close, we always gave the customer a choice between “yes” and “yes.” “If it would be more convenient, you can pay for these books today and I’ll leave them with you right now. If it would be easier, you can wait and I’ll deliver them to you at the end of the summer just before I go back to school.”

Use words like “convenient” and “easy” and you will have soft, low-pressure closes.


Steve Savage, 20 West Canal Street, Suite 511, Winooski, VT 05404 Tel 802-355-8533 Fax 877-378-2230
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