Hate Selling? How to Get Over It--and Get Good at It
If there's any belief that guarantees failure it's "I hate selling." Nobody ever gets good at something that they hate, and if you can't sell your ideas, yourself, and your products, you'll fail in business. It's as simple as that.
The problem with the "I hate selling" belief is that it confuses the act of selling (which nobody hates) with acting like a salesperson (which everybody hates).
The act of selling means helping other people exchange something they want less for something that they want more. Acting like a salesperson, by contrast, is attempting to manipulate people into buying something that they may not want.
For example, suppose you own a car that you know is worth $10,000. In a conversation with a neighbor, it comes up that you no longer need the car and she offers you $10,000. You say OK. That's the act of selling. Who could hate that?
Now let's suppose you go over to the neighbor's house, interrupt her during dinner, force her to listen to a sales pitch for the great car you're selling, and then reveal you'll sell it for only $9,999 if she buys today. Who wouldn't hate doing that? It's obnoxious!
Ideally, your selling opportunities will emerge from your regular business activities. Your customers will contact you because another customer recommended you or because they got on your website, and so forth. Selling in those cases simply emerges from the conversation. There's nothing to hate.
However, let's suppose that you're doing something that's inherently sales-y--such as making hundreds of cold calls. Even in this case, you can avoid acting like a salesperson:
1. Rather than calling large numbers of people (salesperson behavior), only call people who your research reveals are highly likely to be interested in what you're selling.
2. Rather than thinking of prospects as numbers to make (salesperson behavior), be curious about them as real human beings with real desires and real problems.
3. Rather than using a sales pitch (salesperson behavior), create and use a conversational script. See How to Make a Cold Call That Works.
4. Rather than reading that script in monotone or pumping it up with fake enthusiasm (both salesperson behaviors), rehearse the script so many times that when you actually cold-call prospects, each call sounds like you're making it up on the fly.
In other words, even professional salespeople (who do the bulk of cold calling) should hate selling, if selling means acting like a jerk.
But selling isn't like that.
Think of it this way: Haven't you, at least once in your life, been enthusiastic or even ecstatic at buying something?
Whoever gave you that experience was almost undoubtedly selling rather than acting like a salesperson. So how could you possibly hate giving somebody else that same great experience?
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GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist
Geoffrey James is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he's interviewed over a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works. His most recent book is Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know.