How to sell when you hate sales

I used to hate selling.

Until I realised that my perception of what sales meant came from all the bad sales experiences I'd had. Y'know cold callers, pushy door-to-door salespeople or relentless sales assistants? The guys who never actually made the sale.

But, what about all the times I'd had a great purchasing experience? Where I'd bought from a brand and loved it? Or I didn't even realise I was being sold to?

The good kind of sales experiences feel helpful and genuine, not scammy. We all have plenty of these too, we just tend to focus on those who are doing it all wrong.

If you're a business owner, making sales is a part of the gig. And, if you're hung up on sales being a dirty word, that's going to kill your profitability and success.

So, today, I'm sharing some ways to sell like the pros, even if you *think* you hate selling.

Start with something they want.

Before you can sell them what they need, you have to know what they want. Selling will always be hard if you have a product or service that people don’t care about. This is why you need to know your customer. Get familiar with what they say they want and what they struggle with by asking them and listening to them.

Be a problem solver.

Sales isn’t about pushing your offer down people’s throats. It’s about listening to your customers and giving them all the data they need to make an informed decision.

I don't go into any client meeting with the intention of selling. My goal is always to help them to solve their problem and achieve their goals. If something I sell can help them, I’ll tell them. If not, I’ll tell them that too. That approach feels way more genuine to me, and maybe it will for you too. You can't solve anyone's problems if you don't make an offer, so don't forget to ask!

Give them a story, not a sales pitch.

Imagine you're struggling with sticking to a new running habit. I can tell you I made an awesome app with lots of cool features that will make you a pro runner. Or, I can tell you a story about my friend Cassie who recently finished a 42km marathon. Only 12 months ago, she was struggling to stay motivated too. She couldn't run more than two kilometres at a time and was always making excuses to skip her morning run. Then she bought this new app that keeps her accountable and motivates her to improve with every run.

The story puts the emphasis on Cassie and her transformation, rather than on the product. And, it allows the listener to imagine the same results for themselves.

No one likes being sold to. We like to make decisions of our own accord. But we do love stories. We're engaged by them and we learn from them. That's why telling your own story, or a customer's story is a lot more effective than just telling people how awesome your offer is. 

Let your website do the talking.

You can bet that your customer is scoping out your website well before they start talking to you. That means the sales process begins  with your online home. This is where they're going to decide whether they like and trust you enough to take things to the next level. If you get this right, by the time a potential customer knocks on your door, they've already decided you could be the perfect fit.

Embrace the rejection.

Rejection is a part of selling. Despite what my mum says, not everyone is going to like me and what I do. I am a recovering people pleaser, but I can't control how others perceive me. Especially those negative people who love to hate. So, for every person who thinks I'm awesome and trustworthy, there's another who doesn't. And, the more offers I make, the more of both types of people I encounter.

Like me, you are not for everyone. Some people will say yes, and others will say no. Expect to hear both. And remember, the no's are actually a good thing. They'll help you to learn and give you time to take on other, better opportunities in the future. 

Get familiar with their common objections.

Customer objections come in a couple of different flavours. You customer might have objections about your brand and whether you're the right fit for them. They might wonder whether they have the know-how to actually get the results they want. Or they might worry about external circumstances interfering with their success. 

Anticipating these objections can help you to address them head on, either on your website or in a conversation. Remember, you're here to help them solve their problem and that includes any hurdles they're facing en-route to success.

Want to learn more about tackling customer objections? We talked about the customer beliefs that are derailing your sales over here.

So, tell me—

  • Do you feel less sleezy about selling after reading this?
  • Did you find these tips helpful?
  • What would it look like if selling was easy or even fun for you?

Let me know in the comments. I love hearing your thoughts, so drop them below! And if you have people in your life who are sales-phobes too, don't forget to share this article with them too.

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