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The Soft Sell Of The Hard Sell: Relationship Marketing For Tough Times

By Terry L. Brock

It is time to take Relationship Marketing To the Next Level. Terry Brock

Tough times call for tough marketing. The tough marketing is being tough on yourself, not on others. Today’s marketplace calls for understanding and empathy on the part of marketers towards prospects and others in your supply team. However, you have to be tougher than ever — on yourself.

The idea of the Hard Sell doesn’t sit well with many people, including this journalist. I don’t like someone pushing his or her product, service or even ideas off on me. You probably feel the same way. However, I enjoy conversing with people about new ideas and new products which can benefit me and help me do my job better.


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See the difference? I like to have a conversation — a relationship — with someone who cares about me and my needs. Hey, if they are selling something that’s fine with me. I’m a die-hard, free market libertarian. I believe everyone is in sales and has the right to — at least initially — present their case. However, if it is not done in the right way and they start pestering me, I also have the right to walk away.

Bonus For You

Discover how Relationship Marketing, and what I call “R-Commerce, Relationship Commerce” can help you establish, build and maintain quality, profitable relationships in business, get your no-cost Special Report entitled, “Brock’s Business Building Boosters.” In this complimentary Special Report you’ll get articles that illustrate simple, yet powerfully profitable strategies other successful companies are using today in Relationship Marketing.

In addition to the articles you’ll get some of my best videos that you can use to help others in your office and share with your clients. These videos bring to life the concepts of R-Commerce and how Relationship Marketing is the best way to grow your business.

And if that weren’t enough, you’ll also get audio reports as part of the package that can be downloaded and carried with you on your MP3 player of choice to learn about implementing practical, real-world strategies and technologies.

If you’re interested in building your business based on quality relationships and not on a 1950’s style lung-power and coercion, this is something you’ve got to get. I’ve made arrangements for you, as a reader of my Ezine, to get it at no charge. It is part of Achievement Update, a regular newsletter that will come your way giving you ideas on building relationships, leveraging technology to help others and how to build the better you that you want. The Special Report will come to you as part of your no-charge subscription to Achievement Update.

Get both by entering your name and email in the upper right sign-up box on this page at Don’t let this opportunity get away from you. In today’s environment you know you need to build quality relationships in business. This will give you what you need on a regular basis with both inspiration and simple how-to guides to make it work. You’ll see, “Sign Up for Terry’s E-Zine” in the upper-right corner and that is the place. Do it today and get the benefits coming to you.

I look forward to hearing from you.


The key for you and me is to up our persuasion skills. Make your products, services and ideas very attractive — even compelling — without using that old 1950’s hard sell approach. Besides, the soft sell approach brings in more to the bottom line so even the bean counters like it!

Today’s economic environment calls for a different approach. The world is different today and will never go back to what it was in the 2004-2007 era. We have to change and adapt. Yet, in the midst of that changing and adapting, we embrace time-honored principles that have worked through the centuries.

Here are some specifics to help you in this economic environment:

Specific Steps To Implement Today

1. Get A Strong Dose Of Empathy. This means you’re seeing things from the other person’s point of view. Listen to them. The old saying still applies today: You have two ears, two eyes and one mouth. That’s the proportion you need to use them. Really listen and care for the other person and ask probing questions to help with their pain. Only after active listening will you be able to offer better suggestions to solve their problems.

2. Connect Through Social Networking And Marketing. This is where the world not only is going, but is today. The world has changed (yes, again!). Social Networking is not just a passing fade. You need to get familiar with services like FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn and a few others. Find the 2-3 Must-Have social networks where you can connect with people as people. Don’t be a Twitter-Snob and ask everyone to follow you without reciprocity. Be part of the community and don’t just push your stuff. Soft sell in Relationship Marketing means you listen to them and offer your services only where appropriate and not with every post. Be hard on yourself with this. Be soft on others by caring for them.

3. Make Your Offer Fact-Based Packed With Value. One of the best ways to sell hard in a soft way is to pack lots of value into your offer. Demonstrate exactly why your product is superior to the competition. Don’t just use vague generalities. Cite specific benefits of your product. Show testimonials of those who’ve used your service and liked it. Be hard on yourself in creating the copy and make it easy (soft) for prospects to get involved with you. Start them in a small way and gradually build the relationship. Listen to their needs and tailor your demo in a way that answers their questions, not just what you think is nifty and groovy. After all, YOU are not the one buying your product — they are! The one buying the product is the one that matters most in any selling relationship.

4. Get With The Program “ Use Video For Crying Out Loud!” Welcome to the 21st Century! If you’re not using video in some way to promote, you’re already behind. Video is NOT the wave of the future. It is NOW. Demonstrating customer-valued benefits on video is an excellent way to sell hard while being soft on the prospect. Be hard on yourself to do a good job with good production quality, graphics, subtitles, cuts and more. If you can’t do it yourself, get help from someone else. This is why God invented high school kids! Video on the Net and/or over a delivered DVD, gives you a competitive advantage to show specific, real-world benefits of your product. Leverage it and use it. You can check out some examples at my website, and see how you could creatively blend these ideas into your own products and services.

5. Think Hard Sell In A Soft Way. Emphasize the relationship and be there as more than just another pesky salesperson. Listen more carefully than ever to their need. Use software like CardScan. I’m using CardScan for my Mac now — still use it on my Windows-based systems for my staff — and it is marvelous. CardScan is not just about getting business cards. It is about building quality relationships in business. ( – about $250 for their best version) Stay in touch with people and learn how you can feel their pain to borrow from a well-known politician. Sincerely listen to where they are hurting then find ways you can solve the pain or bring in others from your network who can.

Being hard on yourself and soft on others is a time-honored principle that works. It is now time to move Relationship Marketing to the next level and these steps can help begin that process.

Copyright © 2009, Terry Brock and Achievement Systems, Inc. Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and professional speaker who helps businesses generate profitable results. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at or through his website at Join the Twitter adventure with Terry through his Twitter address: TerryBrock.

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