hard sell


Definition of hard sell

: aggressive high-pressure salesmanship — compare soft sell

Examples of hard sell in a Sentence

Such an expensive project will be a hard sell during these slow economic times.

Recent Examples on the Web

But people used to other forms of public transport might be a harder sell. Doug Ferrar, baltimoresun.com, "Uber business booming at Delaware beaches," 9 July 2017 Facebook hardware chief Andrew Bosworth gives Sarah Frier the hard sell for Portal. Casey Newton, The Verge, "The fake video era of US politics has arrived on Twitter," 9 Nov. 2018 For now, bringing major productions to Washington remains a hard sell. Ashraf Khalil, The Seattle Times, "Anywhere but Washington: Why DC stories rarely film in DC," 23 Oct. 2018 Throughout history Christian teachings about the limits and purposes of human sexuality have often proved a hard sell. William Mcgurn, WSJ, "When the Cardinal Sins," 30 July 2018 One policy change many thought would be non-controversial turned out to be a harder sell: banning bump stocks. Ryan J. Foley, Fox News, "AP: Despite shootings, states return to familiar patterns," 26 Sep. 2018 Media: Daily Press RELATED: Companies, needing Permian workers, find West Texas a hard sellBoth the Permian and the U.S. as a whole are currently producing oil at record rates. Jordan Blum, Houston Chronicle, "Permian will outpace all OPEC nations except Saudis," 13 June 2018 Simply swapping out Russell for a more conventional liberal Democrat (Ted Kennedy, say) would be a hard sell in a polarized environment. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "The fight over renaming the Russell Senate Office Building after John McCain, explained," 29 Aug. 2018 The President will need their votes because free-trade Republicans and U.S. businesses are likely to be a hard sell. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Half a Nafta," 27 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hard sell.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hard sell

1945, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

1 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for hard sell

The first known use of hard sell was in 1945

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More Definitions for hard sell

hard sell


Financial Definition of hard sell

What It Is

A hard sell is an aggressive sales tactic used to persuade customers to make an immediate purchase. It is the opposite of a soft sell.

How It Works

In a hard sell, a salesperson tries to sell a product or service by applying pressure that suggests a sense of urgency to the buyer. A hard sell is closely associated with short-term advertising and the assumption that consumers are inherently indecisive. For this reason, many rationalize hard selling as a way to ensure that a buyer benefits and does not miss an opportunity.

For example, someone selling a mattress may engage in hard selling by explaining its long-term orthopedic and health benefits while telling the customer that he or she will get an especially great price if the mattress is purchased that day.

Why It Matters

Salespersons must take great care when conducting a hard sell as excessive pressure may appear to customers as a dishonest attempt to make money quickly and manipulate customers.

Source: Investing Answers

hard sell


English Language Learners Definition of hard sell

: an aggressive way of selling something
US : something that is difficult to sell : something that others are not willing or likely to accept

More from Merriam-Webster on hard sell

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hard sell

Comments on hard sell

What made you want to look up hard sell? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to corrupt or become corrupted

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