Commercials 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:

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

In the Soft sell:

  • Marvel at how amazing this is.
  • Whisper, almost like, “have I got a deal for you.”
  • 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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