Some entrepreneurs think selling is a dirty word and will do anything to avoid it. Sales is not a dirty word and successfully selling yourself is critical to selling your services.
A business owner told me, “I don’t want to push products on customers.” I said, “It’s a shame you have products you don’t believe in.” Grant Cardone
If you aren’t out selling, you better be hiring someone who is if you want to be a successful entrepreneur.
If you want to increase your sales, then adopt a positive attitude towards selling. If you aren’t proud to promote or sell your products or services, then you should not expect anyone else to!
AND stop using the words “How to sell without being salesy!”
- Do people look to train nurses on “How to be a nurse without being nursey!”
- Do business lecturers go around saying “How to be an accountant without being accountanty!”
- Are teachers taught to teach without being teachy?
So why do people say, “How to sell without being salesy?”
What is meant by the word salesy?
What’s wrong with being proud to sell your products and services? Are you ashamed? What you think about selling as an honorable profession is all in your mind. It comes down to your attitude. If you think learning how to sell isn’t important, how long would your business last without sales? If you don’t drive your business, you will go out of business.
Be proud of what you do
I was recently sent a series of emails trying to get me interested in signing up to a course on “How to sell from the stage without being salesy!”
The first thing that came to my mind was, they are trying to sell a course on how to trick an audience into buying products and services from a stage using what I call emotional blackmail. This not only seems underhanded, it tells me they were not proud of the products and services they offer. These words immediately put me off and I pushed the delete, delete, delete buttons on all their emails and immediately unsubscribed. The sad thing, there are people who buy into such programs believing it’s suddenly their magic formula to instant wealth.
How more powerful would it have been if they had named their course, “How to confidently present from a stage and help others achieve their goals.” Semantics I know. Wow, one title sounds like you are being underhanded ‘without being salesy’ the other sounds like you are being empowered. I believe integrity is critical if you want to build a sustainable business and that means selling with integrity, believing in what you are selling, and being proud of what you do.
There are people in any industry who give their profession a bad name and do the wrong thing, including salespeople. There are also many people out there who do the right thing and give their profession a good name, including salespeople. It all comes back to building trust and rapport, truly helping people buy what is right for them, and delivering on your promises. Then why do salespeople get such a bad rap for being a salesperson?
Rejection is not fun – so make it fun
I have a tremendous amount of respect for salespeople who put themselves on the line every day, often receiving rejection after rejection and still manage to bounce back. Rejection is not fun regardless of whether it’s applying for a job, asking someone for a date, or being turned down for a promotion. Most people are afraid of selling because of possible rejection. Like anything, if you are well trained in how to sell, then you are far less likely to receive too many objections.
If you don’t like being rejected in the sales arena – I suggest you turn it around and make it fun!
Remember the first time you started to walk as a baby (of course you don’t) you are walking today because you kept trying until you mastered it. You didn’t quit! What about when you first learned to ride a bike, it was the same. You kept trying until you got the hang of it. The same with first dates, job interviews, and the like, you keep trying until you get the hang of it. Same with selling, you need to learn the skills and keep trying until you get the hang of it. Making it fun is an attitude. The more positive your attitude, the more positive your results.
If you don’t have customers, would you even be in business or even have a job? Of course not. Sales are the lifeblood of any business, (profitable sales that is). Whether you believe it not, everyone in your business is in sales from the receptionist to the accountant to the delivery man. Every single employee is an ambassador for the business. The way they treat their customers, co-workers, superiors, and subordinates represents how they feel about the business.
The way people talk about their job or business with their family and friends outside work is a representation of the products and services you provide. You hope that what they have to say about your products and services is positive leaving others wanting to know more.
The critical question is, “What is wrong with being proud to sell your products and services especially if you genuinely believe in helping others resolve a problem they are having or help them achieve their dreams and goals.” It all comes down to attitude. If you don’t like selling and don’t believe in how prospective customers will benefit from your products and services, then no, you will fail. If don’t like selling and wholeheartedly believe your products and services will help others then yes, you will be successful.
It’s commonly known as the attitude cycle or a self-fulfilling prophecy.
An employee’s self-image, just like your own, is built up from the beliefs you have about yourself. These beliefs have been unconsciously formed from your past experiences, especially in early childhood. They are a result of past successes, failures, triumphs, and humiliations coupled with the way others reacted to you. Your actions and feelings are always consistent with the image you have of yourself. In other words, you act in a way that is consistent with your beliefs. If you have a positive self-image, you will act in ways that are consistent with the image and belief you have in yourself. If you have a negative self-image, you will find a way to fail and live up to the expectations of others.
The beliefs you have about selling, both positive or negative, will lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy. You will succeed or fail depending on what your beliefs are, which is why positive management and reinforcement is so powerful.
Attitudes are the spectacles or glasses through which you see yourself, others, events, experiences, the future, and the world around you. We all wear attitude glasses that are unique to each of us. What you see can be light, dark, rosy, clear, distorted, or otherwise. The way you view things is very real to you even if it’s not the truth, especially how you feel about selling as a profession.
Your attitude affects your behavior. You think and behave in a way that is consistent with your attitude, which then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The attitude cycle starts with what you think, what you see, how you feel, how you act which all culminates in a result which is what you actually end up achieving, which can be a positive or negative outcome.
Here’s how the Attitude Cycle works.
- You tell yourself that you could never be a successful salesperson (self-belief)
- Because you think of yourself as being unworthy (perception)
- Therefore, you feel like you are a loser (feelings)
- Which affects your attitude
- So you act like a loser and self-sabotage yourself (behavior)
- And the result is, you are not successful, you don’t sell anything! (outcome)
- Which reinforces your original thoughts that you could never be successful at selling your products and services (self-belief)
This is a continuous cycle of behavior, which is repeated time and time again. You end up getting stuck in a subconscious loop of negative thinking unless you change your attitude.
Attitude is a choice
If you have a negative attitude and believe yourself to be unworthy or will fail at selling your products and services, you will subconsciously engage in behaviors that will reconfirm this belief you have of yourself. The cycle repeats itself unless you change your attitude towards yourself.
In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl relates what he learned during his time as a prisoner in Auschwitz, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Many researchers believe it is always better to hire on attitude rather than on skills and knowledge. Skills and knowledge can be taught. A famous thought from Charles Swindoll describes attitude like this.
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude in life. Attitude to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is that we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past, we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way, we cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% of what we do and 90% of how we react to it. – Charles Swindoll
Growing Your Sales
Successfully growing your sales depends on your mindset. It also depends on changing your thought patterns from selling to a prospect, to helping them buy and going about it in a sincere and authentic manner.
Authentic selling is not about manipulating people to buy your products and services, it’s about helping people buy. The way to do this is firstly to build trust and rapport because people will not buy from people they don’t trust. It’s also about being able to make connections with others.
Dale Carnegie, author of the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” developed the best sales tools I have ever come across. The one thing you must do above anything else, is to communicate effectively with others. By practicing Dale Carnegie’s principles in human relations, you will quickly build a team of people who are committed to working together for a common objective, and that is to build a sustainable business where shareholders receive a return on their investment and employee stakeholders are rewarded accordingly.
Not every business has the luxury of being able to employ professional sales person especially if they are a small business with few employees. So who gets to grow your sales? You all do. As I mentioned above, the smaller the business, the more vital it is to train all your people in sales even if it’s the part-time accountant or a receptionist.
This is not as hard as you think. There are some FREE resources on this website where you can download the Bi-Sell-Cycle™ which is all about the buying and selling process and also the Elevator Pitch toolkit. If nothing else, develop an elevator pitch for your business and teach it to all your people so that whenever they are asked “what do you do?” they know how to answer this in a compelling way that promotes your business.
If you are unsure how to develop the skills you need to be a successful entrepreneur and small business owner, consider hiring a business coach or life coach. They take you to places where you wouldn’t go on your own where you get to thrive, not just survive.
Above all, change your attitude and you change your results! It’s hard to live a positive life with a negative mind. Be proud to sell yourself and your products. Having a positive attitude will directly bring you more sales.
On a final note
Prevention is always better than cure, and with a life or business coach at your side, you are far more likely to become even more successful as an entrepreneur than you already are.
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