The Difference Between Hard and Soft Sell Commercials

radio-commercialsCommercials can be funny, they can be heart wrenching, and they can be … let’s face it, obnoxious! But no matter what the content, they have something in common…they are all selling something. It’s just a matter of degree. Here’s a look at the difference between hard and soft sell.

I got this note about a commercial I was recording in my home studio:

“…And of course you know one of the most important words in any ad is the word FREE, so it should be emphasized in both places.

Here’s the Copy:

“Try Diabetes Defense for a limited time, risk FREE and you will also receive a FREE blood testing kit.”

While I agree with my client that FREE could be the most important word, I think if I read it with the emphasis he’s asking for with those CAPITAL LETTERS…I might not be the best talent I can be. So I provided him with a couple of options. The first was a hard sell. Take a listen:

But, I also gave him a version of that line with a softer sell. Here’s that one.

Ok, here’s the interactive part. Listen to the differences between the two reads – they’re together this time. What made one a harder sell, and what did I do to make the softer sell work?

You may have heard things in the reads that I didn’t even know I was doing…but here’s what I did on purpose…and you can do too. In the Hard Sell:

  1. Emphasize words like “risk-free” “free” “limited time”
  2. Make your read urgent or important. The calls for louder tone.
  3. Add excitement to your read by varying your pitch.
  4. Feel the worth of what you’re selling.

In the Soft sell:

  1. Marvel at how amazing this is.
  2. Whisper, almost like, “have I got a deal for you.”
  3. Don’t care so much whether the audience acts on the opportunity. It’s “just a suggestion…

Which read did you like better? I don’t know myself, and I don’t know which read the client chose. But giving them options is good customer service, I do know that.

That’s one of the nice things about having a home studio…you can offer choices to your customers. So, learn to do both hard and soft sell reads, and you’ll be selling your expert services as well!

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