Category Archives: persuasion

The soft sell

I went to a direct selling evening that was hosted by one of the parents from my children’s school.

It was an interesting evening and we were lucky to have an expert sales woman presenting the evening. My intention was to stick to a budget and I was surprised that I ended up more than doubling this figure. I don’t want to go into the details of the business but I’d like to explore a number of the techniques that were very successfully demonstrated through out the evening.

Even before the evening had begun there was a sense of how nice it was to have been invited to this event.

All guest were offered wine and a simple meal was prepared, cooked and shared. Giving people a small gift often comes with the feeling of being slightly indebted, inspiring the need to reciprocate. Often if you give people a small gift and then ask them to do something they feel obliged to say yes.

Personal recommendations

Most of the people in the group were encouraged to talk about items that they’d bought previously and how successful they were. This form of personal recommendation is very powerful; when people recommend a product it validates the product and encourages other people to ‘like’ the products. We also like to be consistent, if you’ve said you believe in a product, chances are you’ll want to be consistent with your belief and continue to interact with the business or product.

Our consultant had a great sense of humour and through out the evening she had us in fits of giggles. Laughter is a fantastic way of getting people to trust you, like you and ideally want to buy from you.

Story telling
Our rep told stories from her experience. This worked successfully in a couple of ways. Firstly telling stories can be a great way of engaging people and getting people to listen. She talked about her experiences, highlighted the similarities between herself and her audience. By aligning herself to her audience she encouraged us to trust her and identify with her.

Story telling can be a great selling tool; People are more likely to listen, engage and take on board what is being said when stories are used to sell the benefits of a product.

Celebrity endorsement
There was also a good smattering of celebrity endorsement, ‘so and so also has this item’ and a little of ‘Did you see x on her TV show, she used these through out’.

Good cause
The company supports a well-known charity and agreed to dedicate a percentage of its profits from that month to this charity. This had the added benefit of making customers feel even better about their purchase.

Hard sell
Most people move away from hard selling techniques as we’re more seduced by the soft sell. Hard selling moments through out the evening were rare. However our consultant didn’t miss an opportunity to push home a sale and there were a couple of moments in the evening when she seized the opportunity and casually asked, ‘Shall I add one of those to your order’?

All in all it was a brilliant evening, very entertaining and engaging and it was fascinating to witness first hand some great selling techniques.