Hard Sell – Definition

Cite this article as:"Hard Sell – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated January 10, 2020, last accessed October 28, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/hard-sell-definition/.


Hard Sell Definition

A Hard sell is a forceful or aggressive marketing strategy in which a salesperson mounts pressure on a consumer to purchase a product. When hard selling is used in consumers, it leaves them no option than to buy the product being marketed by the salesperson due to the force or pressure exerted.

A Hard sell can occur in the context of the door to door selling, advertising and other forms of sales. Salespersons that use this approach often use direct language, persistent or insistent tone and overt advertising campaigns. It entails trying hard to sell products and services to consumers.

A Little More on What is a Hard Sell

In the United States, “Hard sell” was first used in the 1950s to explain sales techniques that are forceful or aggressive in nature.

When salespersons or company representatives approach clients in an aggressive and pressurized manner in order to make them purchase a product or service, it is hard selling. Company representatives that use this tactic leave consumers with no option but to purchase a particular product. In recent times, sales experts no longer use hard selling given that it is an overly aggressive technique that robs consumers the ability to make their choices.

Hard Sell Characteristics

A hard sell has some peculiar characteristics, they are;

  • It is an aggressive marketing tactic.
  • A hard sell is provocative in some cases.
  • It uses flattery and direct words that convince consumers to purchase a particular product or service.
  • A hard sell also portrays a product as the best option which is limited. Hence, consumers purchase the product out of fear of not missing out on the offer.
  • Hard sell oftentimes has elements of misinformation, lies and sugarcoating products.

Hard Sell vs. Soft Sell

A soft sell is the opposite of hard sell, this is a mild marketing strategy used by a salesperson to persuade a consumer to purchase a particular product. It uses a subtle and persuasive tone that appeals to consumers, rather than annoy them. Sales experts that use the soft sell approach are interested in helping consumers make informative purchase choices and in the long run choose their products.

Soft sell has low pressure as against hats sell that has high pressure. There are some advantages that hard sell has over soft sell, the major one is that it eliminates the delay in purchase and decision making by consumers. Hard selling compels a consumer to make a choice at the spot without any setback or delay.

Hard Sell Debate

A Hard sell is a marketing technique that has fallen out of the favor of most sales experts. Many sales experts condemn hard sell because it is a tactic that cows a consumer into purchasing a product. Rather than convince consumers, a hard sell frightens them into buying products.

This technique also uses excessive aggression that makes buyers make purchase choices out of fear. Salespersons that use the hard sell tactic are often considered unscrupulous because they do not give consumers the right information and sometimes withhold useful information from them. Soft sell, on the other hand, allows buyers to make their decision based on the information they have received about a particular product or service.

References for “Hard Sell







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