Last week a client said something to me that stopped me in my tracks:
“I don’t want to become the type of salesperson I used to hate dealing with.”
She is a former human resources leader turned executive coach who came to me to learn how to sell her services.
In her many years as an HR exec, she had seen it all — her inbox clogged with cold call emails for services she didn’t need, pushy salespeople who wouldn’t take “no” for an answer, and enterprising vendors who would go to great lengths to get her attention (sending gifts, extending invitations to sporting events and dinners that she had no interest in attending).
In that moment, I could feel her fear. She was so worried that she’d become one of those people who, instead of inspiring and energizing her ideal clients, would bother and annoy them.
If you can relate, I want to tell you two things:
- You could never be that person. It’s just not you — if you’re here, in my community, you’ve got too much care, empathy and good sense to become a problematic salesperson.
- Don’t let this fear stop you from proactively selling your services. The world needs what you have to offer, and there are ways to sell that feel authentic, human and helpful.
Now, let me tell you my biggest fear.
I worry that you’re letting these concerns hold you back. That you’re not actively pursuing business for fear that you’ll be perceived as pushy and annoying.
When I work with clients, we think about how they want to feel when selling. Have you ever considered this question?
When you’re selling — meeting potential clients, leading sales conversations, sending proposals, closing — how do you want to feel?
Grab your journal and pen, pour a cup of coffee (or wine, whatever gets the job done) and think about it. Make no mistake — you are your salesforce. So when you’re working with potential clients, how do you want to feel?
Jot down all your thoughts, and when you’ve tapped your brain, select up to three words or phrases that most capture how you want to feel. Write these on a post-it note and stick it where you’re most likely to see it when you’re speaking with potential clients.
When we know how we want to feel, we can more easily avoid the ways in which we don’t want to operate.
If you need some inspiration, my current desired feelings are:
- Of service
Once you’ve sussed out your own, share them in the comments below!