Forget sales tips for a moment.
What image does the idea of selling conjure up in your mind?
Do you think of a pushy car salesman? A sleazy guy selling insurance door to door?
When Daniel Pink, author of the book To Sell Is Human, asked people what word first came up in their mind when he mentioned “sales,” he found that the majority of words were negative.
Smarmy. Slimy. Pushy. Manipulative. Aggressive. Yuck.
Having to sell makes many of us feel queasy.
We fidget. We procrastinate. And we wish we weren’t in business. We wish that someone else would do the selling for us!
Perhaps you worry you may come across as pushy. So you water down your messages.
You want to be nice. And the result is that people don’t even realize what you offer. You might miss out on orders because people don’t understand what you can do for them.
Related: Use These 3 Magic Words So You Can Instantly Write Sales Copy That Builds Your Revenue
Want to sell more, and charge more, without feeling pushy? Want to be comfortable when selling your products and services?
Start with these 4 simple and lovable sales tips.
1. Reframe the concept of selling
The old concept of sales is like a one-way street.
The buyer is considered naïve and passive. The seller knows the “secrets,” tells you why you need his product, and shoves it under your nose.
Well, wake up. The world has changed.
Your buyers aren’t stupid. They’re smart. They know their stuff. They google to find information. They compare products. They know what prices are offered elsewhere in the market.
As a seller, you’re not in charge anymore. It’s the buyer who decides whether to buy from you or not.
Your job as a seller is to provide information in an engaging way to allow buyers to make up their minds.
More importantly, your sales information filters out the people who aren’t right for you, and attracts the people who love your product or service offer.
Read on for more sales tips that will make selling easier.
2. Never mention cost without stressing value
Would you like to charge more for your services?
Make sure you point out the value of what you do. A quote or proposal, for instance, should stress the value of your services before revealing the cost of a project.
In the background section of your proposal, explain the project purpose—what the project means for your client. For instance, as a web designer, you might have been asked to design a new home page. But why is your client interested in this? Perhaps they need to increase signups for their email list. Perhaps their current home page doesn’t reflect the brand culture well. Or maybe people have complained the home page is too busy and they can’t find what they’re looking for.
In the project scope of your proposal, highlight the value of your services by listing each step you’ll undertake and explain why these steps are important for your customer. For instance, as a painter you can explain how you sand the wall using two types of sandpaper so the paint will last longer. You can also explain how you clean the wall so the surface will be smooth. Or you can mention the environmentally friendly paint, so your client doesn’t need to worry about toxic smells.
Often clients don’t know what’s involved in your process and why it leads to better results. So don’t be shy. Whether writing a sales email, product description or service page, explain what you do in detail and why your client should care. Show how you transform your buyers’ lives. Align your offer with their goals.
The next two sales tips focus on showing your human side.
3. Let others do the selling for you
I grew up in the Dutch countryside.
A place with a strong work ethic. A place where blowing your own trumpet is frowned upon.
So when I left my corporate job and had to start selling my services and courses, I was stuck. How could I explain I was the right person to help out? How could I explain my skill set without sounding like a windbag?
This is when I discovered the persuasive power of testimonials. I simply let others sell on my behalf.
Related: How to Get Powerful Testimonials that Convince Even the Most Skeptical Prospects
Think of your testimonials as mini case studies demonstrating the transformation your product or service offers. Structure the testimonial like a before-and-after story. Here’s part of a testimonial for my Enchanting Business Blogging course:
The before story:
I knew an engaging blog would attract visitors and promote sales. But boring corporate copy was all I could muster. How could I make manufacturing toilet cubicles interesting?
How the course helped:
The course taught me how to attract customers with enchanting headlines (yes, for a rather dull industry). It helped me engage readers with hypnotic flow, and promote our products using fascinating stories.
And what the result was:
Potential customers now come to us for information and advice. This lifts us above our bigger (but duller) competitors.
The before-and-after story reassures potential buyers because it demonstrates how your service helped people like them solve the same problems they’re struggling with. That’s a powerful way to sell without feeling like a windbag.
To get persuasive testimonials, interview your customers by phone or face-to-face. Ask them to explain what problem they were facing before they hired you, and then ask how your services helped solve that problem.
4. Maintain your natural voice
You might have come across old-fashioned copywriting examples. You might think sales letters require exclamation marks. Yellow highlights. AND WORDS IN CAPS!!!
But this is not true.
As small business owners, we have a huge advantage. We don’t have to sell to everyone. We can pick the audience that’s right for us. We can work with our raving fans. We can show our personality and be natural.
When writing a sales letter, a proposal or a promotional email, think about your favorite customer. How would you explain your offer to her? Why does she enjoy working with you? What would she like to know?
Write as if you’re having a conversation with your customer. Answer her questions. And don’t change your tone of voice just because you’re selling.
Treat your buyers like friends
Dirty sales tactics are designed for selling to strangers. That’s not what these sales tips are about.
Thanks to the internet, the world is becoming a global village. We make friends across the world. And we buy from people and businesses we know, like, and trust.
Four sales tips to remember:
Treat your buyers like friends.
14 thoughts on “4 Lovable Sales Tips for People Who Hate Selling”
What a GREAT read Pamela!
Having been in Cardiac Surgery Device Sales for 20 years, I know first-hand being a fair consultant to serve customers best interest for their goal, is better than “sales.”
Transitioning into a new career of teaching, coaching and speaking as a radio host, I find honesty, integrity and sincere passion to support and serve always creates a win/win for everyone.
Yep, I agree with you, Deb. Humility is a good ingredient for ethical business practices.
These are really great tips and suggestions. I often feel “iccky” about selling so I will adjust my attitude to helping others.
Yep, there’s no need to feel icky about selling when you see selling simply as explaining your offer so your service (or product) can help buyers improve their lives (or not if they decide it’s not for them).
Too bad you didn’t post this yesterday.
I sent a mid-six figure proposal to a potential client last night. I used the same cover letter and format that I’ve been using for years.
It’s not pushy or salesy,
But it’s boring.
Your article made me think about how my sales letter could be more engaging. Listing our services without showing the benefits and how we add value is like reading the ingredients on a cereal box. Who cares?
Just one more writing project I need to tackle.
I’m so sorry, Bill 😉
Firstly, for posting this too late. And secondly for giving you an extra writing project! But if it helps you win a project or charge a little more next time, then it’s worth it, right?
Henneke, I think, “Align your offer with their goals” is sound advice, and some I can overlook (but not now). Also, “We can show our personality and be natural.”
If we can’t be the people (and writers) we actually are in our work, we’re probably cramping up in our non-work lives as well. Thanks for clear thinking and solid tips.
Yes, it’s easy to cramp up. I used to do this, too. But I realized I was doing readers a disservice by not setting out my offer clearly (people were complaining they didn’t even know I offered a course!). And I also found I can simply maintain the same friendly voice in my sales material as I use in blog posts.
I like the idea of reframing selling. I often say to myself I HATE MARKETING – not a good way to create success.
Perhaps marketing and selling is fun and lets people know how much a I can help change their lives for the better instead.
Thanks for a great article,
I had been working in marketing for many years before I quit my corporate job, so I can’t claim I hated marketing, but still I found it extremely difficult to sell my own services. UNTIL I realized I didn’t need to be pushy to sell. I could simply explain my offer in the same voice I was using in my blog posts.
This is a new way to look at what many of us find hard to do, to upwell ourselves. I think that you have given some things that are achievable. Marketing yourself as a person is difficult but it is a different world and it is necessary. Look fwd to reading more.
Sometimes it helps to see it as marketing our services rather than marketing ourselves.
Always enjoy your posts, Henneke. This is a timely reminder to relax and write in my own voice rather than getting all salesy. =D Thank you.
Thank you, Dana.
Yep, relax and be yourself 🙂
Comments are closed.