Don’t Sell to Sell

Confused by the title of my post today? Don’t be. The Tao of Selling is simple – if you want to sell, be it a product or service, your first aim is NOT to sell.

I am sure you have come across pushy sales people. Their aim is to sell you something, anything. Even something useless. And you resisted.

Oh, the more they tried to convince you, the more you disliked it and the more you said no. You said no because you hated being sold to. You hated the idea of buying from that sales person although you may have initially wanted to buy the product. But those initial feelings wore off as the sales person kept bugging you.

This reminds me of many stories of my campus friends. We graduated back in the late 90s (during the dreaded recession) and a good number of my friends were afraid they would not get jobs so they grabbed whatever job that came their way. Many ended up as insurance agents. Insurance agents sell first to their circle of family, then friends, then acquaintances.

Many “friends” whom I had not spoken to, or even considered friends, started knocking on my door. They called my landline (in those days, handphones were a luxury and only very few people had them!) and they often wanted to “have a cup of coffee” with me. These people were so eager to close a deal (or any deal for that matter) that they became increasingly pushy, which in turn made me angry and cheated.

After 8 years (and now coming to 9 soon) of running my own business, I believe that in order to sell, one should stop ‘selling’. And that is why Tessa Stowe’s article on  “How to Overcome Sales Resistance Forever” gets the thumbs-up from me. She is absolutely right when she says that to sell, one has to forget about selling. A contradiction? Not at all.

Read and enjoy her insightful article. And remember: don’t sell, if you want to sell.

How To Overcome Sales Resistance Forever

©Tessa Stowe, Sales Conversation, 2006

When you’re speaking to someone about your services do you sometimes feel as if a barrier is coming up from them? The person may resist listening to you, they may resist opening up to you and they possibly might not trust you right from the beginning. These are all signs of sales resistance. Sales resistance is virtually an automatic reaction we all have. To understand this, put yourself in their shoes.

Put yourself in their shoes and think about your own reaction when someone is trying to sell you something. How does it make you feel? Do you feel resistant? Do you feel tense? Do you feel that all the seller cares about is making a sale instead of caring about you? Do you want to leave the conversation as soon as possible? If you feel like this, it is only natural that the person you are talking to will also feel like this if you are trying to sell them something.

The key to overcoming sales resistance is to forget about selling! When you’re having a conversation with someone, it’s best not to have the intention of selling him or her anything. Forget about selling. Instead have the intention of having a conversation to explore whether you can help the person get what they want. If it turns out that they have a want or need for your service, they will decide to buy.

If someone is having a conversation with you and you feel they sincerely want to help you, how does that make you feel? Relaxed? Interested? Keen to know more? Again, this is an automatic reaction we all have. Notice there is no “sales” resistance with this approach.

Please note you can’t fake sincerity. You can’t pretend you really want to help someone and at the same time be thinking that you really want to make a sale no matter what. What you are “really” thinking will be picked up by the person you’re talking to. They’ll know right away if you’re sincere.

There is another way to overcome sales resistance: get yourself known.

If people don’t know you, they may perceive you and what you’re selling as a possible high risk, and people naturally and automatically tend to resist what they perceive as high risk.

When you are well known in your niche and positioned as an expert, people will automatically and naturally perceive you as low risk. People rightly or wrongly automatically think that if you are well known and positioned as an expert, you must be good at what you do otherwise you would not have achieved this status.

When you are well known people will be attracted to you and will be open to what you have to offer and say. There will be very little resistance – provided of course your intention is not to sell them something!

In summary, if you want to overcome sales resistance forever there are two things you need to do. The first is don’t have the intention of making a sale when you’re talking to someone. Instead, have a conversation with the intention of helping them. Trust that those who have a need or desire for your services will buy them. The second is to get known fast as this will, amongst other things, overcome the risk perception of doing business with you.

Tessa Stowe works with Coaches, Consultants and Service Professionals who are resisting selling their services as they don’t want to be seen as pushy or sales-y. Her FREE monthly Sales Conversation newsletter is full of tips on how to sell your services by just being yourself. Sign up now at

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