I Have Never Liked Sales or Salespeople

Mar 23, 2017, Written by Jim Miley


Many of my clients have boldly made this proclamation while explaining their struggle with business growth.  Overcoming anxieties associated with one-on-one selling situations can be daunting for small business owners, so I wanted to provide some quick tips to help those that don’t like sales.

Change your perspective.  Don’t like the sales process or having to sell?  Just don’t do it.

Most of the business owners I’ve encountered can be quite persuasive on matters where their passion runs high or their expertise is strong.  I was reminded of a common struggle for business owners last week when a client boasted of “hating sales” in the middle of a marketing strategy meeting.

While most business leaders are quite eager and willing to motivate people to action on subjects outside of traditional sales, many allow themselves to struggle with being the best sales resource they can be for the company.  Whether you have the benefit of delegating responsibility for sales to other staff or not, most business leaders have both the opportunity and capability to be a strong contributor to sales revenue.

Would you want any other member of your team to step up if they had both the opportunity and the ability to grow sales?  Of course you would.

Business leaders who don’t like to sell may benefit from some skills and perspectives I developed early in my career that helped me launch a very effective approach to sales.

  • Stop fighting it and accept that we all need to contribute to sales in any way we can; including ways that may stretch our comfort zone.

Any business owner or leader expects the same from their employees, so grab a bat and step up to the plate.  Imagine a Service Manager in your business who tells you they “don’t like offering additional potential products or services to customers because it makes them feel uncomfortable; that’s the salesman’s job.” WHAT?!

  • Don’t let tired, old stereotypes of sales hold you down. You don’t have to sell anything, but you must be interested in sharing helpful insights and information about the subject matter of your business.

There is a subtle, yet critical, difference between having “selling something” as the primary tactic that drives any prospective client engagement versus an objective of having a client prospect see you as a valuable resource.  Help the client with the solutions-based insights and information you and your business can provide.  Just serve as a resource and you are well on your way to understanding if there is an opportunity for your company to provide a solution.   Be valuable and the value to your business will come.

  • A prospective client meeting or sales call is just like an existing client meeting.

Similar to the prior point, the details of how you approach potential clients can feel very similar to meetings with your existing customers.  You have a job to do, a product to support or a service to provide, and the conversation moves to execute those deliverables to have a happy customer.

Engaging prospective clients in the same way where you confirm you understand what they are trying to accomplish and assure they apply your product solution effectively to solve the problem is the same basic approach.

I can’t recall a business owner telling me they avoid resolving customer satisfaction issues because they “hate doing that.”  Your business will benefit greatly if you give sales and customer growth the same priority as customer satisfaction.

You already have the skills, and probably exercise them regularly, but I encourage you to see the sales application in a different light.

Try making this minor shift in perspective and you will find, as I did, that you don’t really hate sales or salespeople.

You hated an image of what sales can be to some people.

Thankfully, that’s not you.

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Jim Miley

As a Business Coach, Jim brings a broad background of operational and sales management skills and expertise to help small business owners grow their business and reach their highest potential. He has 30 years of field-proven professional experience.

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