Need to Sell and Feeling Freaked? Hate to Sell? Grab This Anchor!

hate-to-sell-feeling-freaked--stressed-woman-gripping-chair-arm

Most people fall into one of two groups when it comes to selling:

  1. “Yuck!  I hate to sell – anything but that!”
  2. “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:

  1. Do you want your business to succeed badly enough to add a new skill?
  2. Are you willing to get out of your comfort zone a little?
  3. 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:

Is Fear Devouring Your Business?

Share a comment – what was the best experience you’ve had with a salesperson, and what made it great?

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Comments

  1. says

    Before I knew all this great stuff, I would call prospects (about 50-50 cold calling vs. relationship building) convinced that I was somehow bothering them. That took me a long time to get over, and I missed a lot of chances to help people with their needs. Things started to change when I took a job as a deejay for parties, weddings, etc., where I would be doing the music. It took me very little time to realize how good a deejay I was, which translated into what a great service I was selling the customers. Even though that job only lasted a few years, the benefits were indelible. So now, I can call people about my resume writing service and know what a valuable service I’m providing, how happy they’re going to be, and how much their lives will change for the better because I brought out all their accomplishments.

    • Pat Schuler says

      Jack, I love this comment. What changed was inside your head! It sounds like you are now looking forward contacting people instead of dreading it. Knowing the difference you can make in someone’s life, and being able to have a real conversation based on how you can help – what a difference! Thanks for sharing.

  2. says

    Changing how we think about sales is the BIGGEST obstacle. I have learned to see it this way: If I have something that can help someone get the results they want – why would I not offer it to them. As a matter of fact, letting my fear of rejection get in the way of helping them solve their problem is selfish.

    • Pat Schuler says

      Tai, I agree with you on your insightful comment. I always feel like not asking the important (and sometimes challenging) questions, and letting my fears get in the way is actually doing a disservice to the prospective client. The whole prospect conversation needs to be about them and the problem they hope I can solve – not me.

  3. says

    Best sales experience ever: a car salesman at Mazda who totally backed-off, and was not pushy!

    Worst sales experience ever: a car salesman at Hyundai trying to push us into buying.

    • Pat Schuler says

      Tim, every time I ask this question, I am amazed at how many of the horror stories are about car salesmen!
      Also amazing to me is how many of the BEST experiences are also about buying a vehicle.

      One client (mature female professional) shared how the salesman told her to come back with a brother, father or boyfriend to help her make a decision.

      Another client had the transmission go out of his pickup in the Rockies on the way home to South Dakota. While the parts and service people at the dealership were trying to find a rebuilt tran for that particular model, one of the salesmen offered my client a cup of coffee. They started talking about important events they’d both missed in their kids lives because of business requirements. Two hours later, my client left the dealership in a brand new pickup. He was the one who brought up the idea of considering something the dealer had in stock, not the salesman. The dealership had taken his to-be-repaired truck as a trade – and my client was home in time for his son’s football game.

  4. says

    When you say “no” to a person that you’re not a good match for, you’re coming from a position of strength and even compassion – for the prospect, who deserves the best help they can get, and for yourself, who deserves to work with people who may your heart sing.

    • Pat Schuler says

      Kathleen, I love your recognition that it’s a good decision for the client, AND for you!
      And I love your phrasing “deserves to work with people who make your heart sing.” There must be another blog topic there. Thanks!

  5. Barbara Charlton says

    Well written, sound advice. I try to frame it not as “selling,” but as helping people buy. People need things, and my job is to help them find the best answer for them (and, if I am NOT the best answer, I want to uncover that ASAP to benefit all parties).

    • Pat Schuler says

      Barb, you and I agree on this completely. There’s an upcoming blog on “What Problem Do You Solve?” that is totally on your point. If they’re not a fit (if they have a problem we can’t solve), the sooner we find out the better.

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