SellerCredit: have probably been harassed by a salesperson at least once in your life. Perhaps harass is too strong a word. Maybe the salesperson is simply trying to coax you into buying his products. Nevertheless, we usually feel uncomfortable when someone tries to make us spend our hard-earned cash.

Hard selling is a method of advertising products or services in a more direct, forceful, and overt manner.[1] This approach can make potential clients feel uneasy, irritated, or harassed. I personally know a marketing manager who is very aggressive in his marketing. He has a very bad reputation in the industry. People avoid him in social events and sometimes, he embarrasses himself by being completely ignored by high-status people.

On the flipside, there are instances when hard selling is effective. We tend to remember things when we are frequently exposed to or being reminded of them (Law of Frequency). As we become more familiar with the product, it increases our likelihood of buying it. However, most of us still find this method downright annoying. Imagine yourself being worried about some issues in your life when suddenly, a saleslady aggressively waves a product into your face. Most of the time, it just doesn't work.

What method works?
I have come up with tips on being an effective seller. This is coming from someone who has always been hesitant to make a purchase. Whether you're a salesperson, a real estate agent, a marketing staff, or an eBay seller, you will find these tips useful.

Your are an Ally

Make your clients feel that you are an ally instead of someone who is trying to make money off them. I met a saleslady who was really good. She made me spend more money that I had originally intended. The funny thing was I did not feel bad at all. She made me feel like I got a really good bargain.

I was checking out a cute wallet that cost around $30. I liked it but I had to put it down since it was out of my budget. When I went to the cashier to pay for the other items, the saleslady asked me why I didn't take the wallet. I told her that it was too expensive. She said it was made in Italy and made of good materials. She leaned over and whispered that she would give it to me for a special price - for only $22. Then she added that she found the green one really pretty. I was totally sold. I took the wallet. The green one.

Share Your Personal Favorites Even Without Being Asked

My sister and I were looking for a cute top to buy. One of the stores we visited had a wide selection of clothes. I had already picked a blouse for myself, but my sister was still undecided. The clerk noticed my sister's indecisiveness and pointed at a nice-looking blouse which was the clerk's favorite. My sister tried it on and liked it. My sister would have walked away empty-handed had the clerk shied away from giving a suggestion.

Do Your Best to Communicate with Customers

This includes your foreign customers. Do not be shy to foreigners who don't speak your language. When I travel to other countries, I would always hesitate to approach salespersons who don't speak English. Some of them are also shy and would not dare to speak in English to avoid embarrassing themselves. On the other hand, I have encountered effective sellers who would do whatever it takes to make me understand them. They would use sign languages, charades, or would try to speak in broken English. I appreciate their efforts and I would always enjoy buying things from such people.

Know Your Products

I usually don't buy stuff from sellers who don't know much about their products. One time, I decided to buy a new digital camera. I went into a store with a cool-looking camera. I hadn't done my research yet but I would love to see the products in person. I asked a clerk about the camera that caught my interest. He simply told me the megapixels it had, which I already knew because it was written beside the item. He just kept quiet the whole time as I stared at the product. That was awkward. Needless to say, I did not buy anything from that store.

Make Your Clients Feel Special

Most sellers are nice because they want to sell something to you. Your clients know this and they won't easily shell out money for your products and services. That said, being sincerely nice makes a huge difference. Make your clients feel special.

Once, I bought a newly released tablet. Since it was a little expensive, I thought that there was nothing to lose if I tried asking for some perks. I asked this saleslady if they had any free gifts for me. She handed me a cute bunny cellphone holder and said that they had no free gifts for purchasing that item but she would gladly give me her bunny. I didn't know if the bunny was really hers or if it was merely her strategy to stop me from asking, but I appreciated her gesture. Instead of making me feel like a fussy customer for asking too much, she made me feel extra special. I thought this saleslady could easily turn a new customer into a repeat customer.

Don't Be Too Greedy

As much as we'd like to, for the lack of a better word, extract money from our clients, we should try not to be blatant about it. No one likes the feeling of spending much more than what is necessary. Don't be too greedy. Giving some perks and discounts may earn you less money now, but it will benefit you in the long run.

Be Honest When Asked

My dad had a habit of asking salespersons for their opinion when he couldn't decide which product to buy. Quite predictably, a majority of salespeople he had asked suggested the most expensive items. However, there were a few seemingly honest sellers who recommended the mid-range products. I felt much more comfortable buying from these salespeople as they seemed to be more truthful and trustworthy.

Don't Get Irritated If a Customer Doesn't Buy Anything

It's normal for clients to look interested and end up not buying anything. Even if such clients are your pet peeves, do not let your irritation show. They are free to look or ask questions and it is not their obligation to buy your products. Some clients prefer to go home first and think about whether or not to make a purchase. Showing your irritation could lose you a potential buyer.

I had encountered a few salespersons who were like that. One salesperson in a cosmetics store approached me and started hard selling his products. He did not stop talking and I felt obliged to buy something. It made me really uncomfortable. The products were a bit more expensive than the ones I would normally buy. I left as soon as I could. The guy looked irritated for having wasted his time on me. After seeing the guy like that, I had no intention of going back there again.

“The definition of salesmanship is the gentle art of letting the customer have it your way.” – Ray Kroc, Entrepreneur

© Rainy Kua 2016