Most people fall into one of two groups when it comes to selling:
- “Yuck! I hate to sell – anything but that!”
- “Oh, good – more money” or “Oh, good – more people I can help.”
Granted, Group 1 has a much bigger membership.
You might even be in the ‘hate to sell’ group. But there is a way to switch groups if you really want to.
Change Your View of Selling
But why would you want to change your view of selling?
Well, if you’re in Group 1, (The Yuck Group) I have a serious question for you: how much are you letting your anti–sales bias put your business at risk?
If you are thinking you’re not at risk, please think again. Experts as diverse as Michael Gerber (E Myth series), Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich), and Tom Peters (everything he writes) have the same message for you.
Namely, as solopreneurs or small business owners, you have one mission: you must continue to sell and market your service each day. Failure to do so puts you squarely in the group of businesses likely to go out of business. How long you can hang on without effectively selling? 18 months? Two years? Five years of struggle and low income?
So why do we hate to sell? Well, most of us have some heavy ballast when it comes to selling. We’ve had negative experiences with clumsy or malevolent salespeople (I call them the “Salespeople from Hell”). They are iconic in movies and on television. They are clichés.
But on the other hand, I bet you’ve also had good experiences with a salesperson – someone who really listened and took the time to understand the problem you wanted solved, and why it was important to you. The stories are legion:
- The salesperson who helped you find a killer suit in 15 minutes and had it altered and waiting for you in two hours
- The real estate agent who helped you finally unload Aunt Sally’s white elephant house after two years on the market
- The coach/consultant who helped turn a business around in just weeks
The Myth of the Natural Salesperson
Most of us look at selling as an innate gift – you’ve either got it or you don’t. Would it surprise you to learn that 90% of the top salespeople in any industry are just like you? They started with little or no sales experience and few skills – but with a strong desire to solve a problem, to make a difference for their clients, to put food on the table.
Top salespeople view their profession as one of the most honorable a person could choose – not something to be ashamed of, resent or loathe. They continue to work on improving their skills every year, like a doctor, an attorney, a chiropractor, a real estate agent, or a financial advisor.
Hate to Sell? Here’s Your Anchor
Selling is just one more skill you can add to your arsenal. And you definitely can learn to do it well – without being pushy, manipulative or obnoxious.
Think about other skills you’ve learned over the decades. How many of them looked overwhelming or unlikely when you first stared at them? How many were easier in three months? Effortless in six to nine months? Now you do them in your sleep.
The same can be true of selling, and true for you.
My questions to you:
- Do you want your business to succeed badly enough to add a new skill?
- Are you willing to get out of your comfort zone a little?
- Would you like to learn this new way of talking to your prospects that is respectful, natural and effective, for you and for them?
You’ve already taken the first step – and the hardest one: you’ve started to change your thinking about selling.
If you said “yes” to the last three questions, then it can happen to you.
Take Action: Make This Your Own
- Share in the comments below a good experience you’ve had with a salesperson, and why it was good.
- As you prepare (or resist preparing) to have a selling conversation with prospects this week, tune in to your self-talk.
- Listen to what you say to yourself about the selling conversation, about the process, and about the need to have the conversation in order to convert them to a paying client.
You can also check out this related post:
Share a comment – what was the best experience you’ve had with a salesperson, and what made it great?