The hard sell is dead, Juneau Chamber told

Speaker offers lessons on reaching new customers

International Speaker Paul Weyland gave an animated speech titled “Think Like andAdman and Sell Like a Madman” to the Juneau Chamber of Commerce on Thursday.


Weyland said the days of the hard sell are over and a soft sell doesn’t work.

Weyland gave the example of a television ad he’d heard for a mortuary business. The ad ended with “We want to urn your business.” This is the kind of hard sell Weyland said he wants to get rid of. Insincerity no longer flies with customers, he said.

“It’s this ad speak,” Weyland said, “it’s goofy. Let’s just talk like real people.”

A simple test can help business owners steer clear of the hard sell, Weyland said.

“Use the best friend test,” Weyland said. Read ad copy before it runs, he said, and if you wouldn’t say it to your best friend, get rid of it.

Weyland said he prefers the deep sell to the traditional hard and soft sell. Part of that is staying away from a script.

“It looks forced, it is painful,” Weyland said.

Instead, Weyland said business owners should work to educate their customers. The deep sell taps into customer trust.

“Friends and relatives and professional people in your life,” Weyland said of long-time business associates, family doctors and other professionals a customer comes to trust. “I think they’ve got my back. And there, value supercedes price.”

Business owners should think about ways to solve their customers’ problems, help alleviate fears and anxieties.

“Put yourself in your customers shoes,” Weyland said. “If you can solve a problem,” educate customers about that added value.

“Sell the value and bring up your margin,” Weyland said.

Trust is one way to reduce anxiety, Weyland said. Many people currently do not trust the stock market, he said. This lack of trust causes anxiety about investing.

“Someone, somewhere will fill that need for trust,” Weyland said.

In a humorous way, Weyland left the Chamber members with a parting thought.

“When you own a business,” Weyland said “it is a great thing, isn’t it? I know especially in a tedious economy that the days can be hard and the nights can be long, especially if you are up at night with anxiety, and the work can be emotionally demanding. But it is all worth it isn’t it? Because the rewards are shallow, transparent and meaningless ... just kidding.”

Weyland is a branding, marketing and sales strategist, consultant, trainer, author and university lecturer. He taught media sales at the University of Texas, according to his website, He offers businesses “a break-through in visibility and customer loyalty in an information-cluttered, over-scheduled and constantly changing world.”

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at


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