What Is High-Pressure Selling?

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High-pressure selling, also called hard selling, is a traditional sales technique characterized by emotional pitches and aggressive sales approaches. Hard selling is a technique that was once used by salespeople commonly in a variety of sales positions, including automobiles and residential services. This method is losing ground to the technique of soft selling, which is characterized by a rational and level-headed approach.

Hard selling is still used in some sales areas, including automobile and motorcycle stores as well as some retail outlets and large chain stores. Historically, most hard sells were accomplished by traveling salespeople who went door to door promoting and advertising their company's products. Although salespeople using both hard-and soft-selling techniques try to sell as many products as possible to a wide audience, they vary in their approaches and philosophies to win over customers.

Hard sellers typically use aggressive physical gestures, including finger pointing, forceful language and emotional appeal to convince others to purchase their products. Salespeople using soft selling techniques, contrarily, use a softer voice to rationally inform customers of their products and exhibit more courteous mannerisms, such as smiling, giving others a chance to ask questions and providing information via brochures and pamphlets to give consumers time to digest information.