4 Ways Sell With More Soul + Less Sleaze

Looking for sales tips and marketing advice? Want to sell more without being gross? Click through for 4 tips that will help you do just that!

Is it possible to NOT hate selling? To NOT feel pushy/awkward/sleazy when you’re trying to convince your people to buy stuff? Is it possible to sell with, well, soul?

My friend Maria thinks so. In fact, she literally wrote a free book about it. Read on for her tips on how to make selling suck less.

If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you love being creative, dynamic, bold, innovative.

But there is one thing that you probably hate with the white-hot passion of a thousand suns: SELLING.

Which is unfortunate, seeing as how that generates revenue. Women business owners especially struggle with what they perceive to be “annoying” or “sleazy.”  You see those kinds of pitches every day.

And so you think, “I hate sales. I hate talking about myself.”

Well, good. Because it’s not about you. It’s about them.

The best sales pitches are conversations. Click To Tweet

Listen and engage so you can show them how your offerings solve their problems, make their lives better or help them achieve their goals.

I’ve been in business for almost a decade. I’ve never once had to “pitch” a client. I’ve lost out on proposals, sure, but I’ve never had to do a “sales” presentation. Always, they are conversations.

Pushy salespeople are the ones who are all about their own agenda: “Take my business card! Buy my product! Here’s why I’m so great.”

Ick. It so does not have to be like that.

Think about it: You successfully sell all the time in “real life.. When you recommend a new restaurant or can’t stop talking about a spine-tingling new mystery novel, you convince your friends with energy, humor and grace about why they “absolutely, positively have GOT to try this!”

Here are four tips to sell without “selling

1. Be consultative

Stop pitching. Simply discuss their goals. Be generous with guidance, resources or connections. Don’t work for free, but offer simple “teaser” advice. Believe me, if they see value, they will pay you for more of it.

2. Ask questions

 Like a good date, don’t just brag about yourself the whole time. Find out about them. What are they struggling with? What do they value? You can then organically sprinkle your value and experience into the conversation.

3. Show empathy

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes, addressing their pains and offering solutions. A past Harvard research study found that “empathy” was the #1 trait for a successful salesperson.

4. Network

I can see you rolling your eyes from here! Get out there and network with people, either in-person or online. Let others get to know your value without ever making a sales pitch. Make connections. You never know who knows who. Warm introductions are always the best (and easiest) sales opportunities.

Related: Networking For Introverts: A Primer.

Here’s the cold, hard truth: You have to clearly and confidently talk about the value you provide at some point. Why?

If you are not your own biggest fan, if you don’t believe in the value of your own work, why should you expect your prospective clients to care or get excited either?

Promotion can be classy, stylish and, dare I say, fun. Promise!

Thanks so much for sharing your tips, Maria! How do you guys navigate selling without feeling weird? Share your best tips in the comments so we can learn from you!

P.S. Everything I use + recommend for running my business

Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash

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  1. Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    My Mum is the best example of a good salesperson. She really hits all four of the points you mentioned and was so good at her job. Unfortunately, I didn’t inherit her social skills. But reading this post makes me admire those who are “street-smart” so much more. I’ve got to train up myself to be more confident, network more and become my own fan!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  2. Amber

    I love this. So helpful. I struggle so hard with self-promotion, but I’m learning and getting better in this area all the time!

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      So glad to hear it! I know it can be hard but it doesn’t have to feel gross! <3

  3. Aubrey Tauer

    I struggle with this, not so much for sales as for fundraising for the nonprofit I co-founded. As an introvert from Minnesota, asking for money, even for a very worthy cause, has been excruciating. I might have to read your friend’s ebook and practice some of these tips on my friends and family to get more comfortable with it before using it when I’m networking and talking to potential donors.

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      My friend founded a successful non-profit and has some great insights here!

  4. Maria Ross

    Thanks for featuring my guest post on the blog, Sarah! And thrilled it’s helping folks. I have seen way too many brilliant, compassionate, valuable people hide their light because they think “sales” has to be done a certain, icky way. No way. If you have something honest, valuable and authentic to offer the world, please share it with us! You owe it to the world to do so. This is why mapping out your brand strategy and ideal audience first is so important – this way, you are only promoting your work to the people who really want or need it. And Aubrey, I’ve worked with many non-profit leaders on their brand messaging, promotion and content strategy as well – and it’s just about solving their problems and tapping into the benefits of what they get by becoming a donor. Same principles apply. You CAN sell in a way that feels good. Just have empathy, target the right people so there’re no “convincing” and let your true, honest value shine through. The world needs what you have to give. 🙂

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