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?
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.
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.
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!