Have you ever talked yourself out of sales conversations?
Believe it or not, at some point, every entrepreneur talks themselves out of a sale.
Sounds crazy, I know. You own your business. If you don’t make sales, you don’t have a business. Simple enough, right?
But trust me, it happens. I see it in my colleagues and clients, I’ve seen it in myself, and it happens to the best of us.
So what is the number one reason that we as salespeople sabotage our own success?
FEAR, of course.
Master Sales Strategist and Coffee Is For Closers contributor Shameca Tankerson agrees.
“You can have a fear of heights or a fear of all sorts of outside things. But as salespeople, I think our fears are mostly internal. Our self-talk, or beliefs, the things that hold us back. The stories we make up in our heads about what a client is going to say.”
When you’re in sales, instead of a fear of heights, water, the dark, or some kind of external thing, our biggest hang-ups come from the inside.
And out of all the fears that plague salespeople, what is the one I hear people mention the most? The fear of being pushy. Sleazy. You know, “salesy.”
Nobody wants to be that entrepreneur. The one who will say anything to make a quick buck. That used car salesman type who cons unsuspecting people out of their hard-earned money.
Fair enough. We all know that the word “sales” has gotten a bad rap over the years. It’s been thought of as everything from lying to scamming to just being disingenuous.
But Shameca offers this fascinating take on the subject of being salesy, and it just might blow your mind…
What if a fear of being too pushy, aggressive, or sleazy in your sales conversations actually means that you’re being…self-centered?
I know that might sound crazy. Maybe even a little bit insulting. But stay with me on this, and let Shameca and me explain why that fear of coming on too strong in the sales conversation might mean that you’re focusing a little bit TOO much on yourself.
You’ve probably heard me say it before, but it bears repeating: the sales process (and its outcome) is NOT about you.
Now, if you’re a part of the Royal Family here at The Pitch Queen, I bet you started your business in the spirit of service. I’m sure you’re in this to help people and make a difference. And you don’t want to be seen as someone who takes advantage of people by preying on their needs. Fair enough.
But there’s a flip side to that fear of being the pushy salesperson that just might shock you.
Shameca puts it like this:
“When you’re worried about whether or not you’re going to be salesy and pushy, you can’t be of service. You’re not paying attention. And at that moment, you become exactly what you DON’T want to be, and that is self-centered. You’re focused only on you.”
Pretty mind-blowing revelation, right?
But think about it for a minute. If you’re living in fear of being seen as that pushy, ruthless salesperson, you’re living in your own head. You’re panicking about what your prospect is going to think about you. You’re freaking out that they’ll judge you for being in it only for the money.
And all this time you’re losing sight of what really matters the most: the client.
Shameca shares another newsflash right here:
“If you’re worried that they think you’re trying to sell them something, well, you ARE! It’s a sales conversation,” says Shameca. “You’re there because you want to help them, and to get your help, they’re going to have to make an investment. So it’s a mutual fit conversation.”
It’s a matter changing the way you see sales conversations.
Sales conversations are simply an opportunity. It’s a chance to find out what your prospect is looking for, where they want to go, and whether or not you are the person to help them. No more, no less.
But when you freak out about the outcome before the conversation starts, that’s when the thing that you feared the most–turning into that pushy, desperate, salesy person–might actually happen.
And the more you focus on what the client is going to think of you, the more likely that you’re going to talk yourself out of the sale.
Tell me if this sounds familiar: you’re about to tell your prospect the price. And just like that, your heart starts pounding. You start to talk as though you’ve had one too many espressos.
You tell them the price, then immediately start throwing in all kinds of extras that you didn’t intend to include. Pretty soon, you’re talking so fast that you don’t have time to breathe. And neither does your prospect.
Now, how well do you think that sales conversation will turn out?
When you focus on your own ego instead of the client, you get nervous. You feel like you’ve got something to prove, you need to convince them of your worth, and it all goes downhill from there.
Before you know it, you’ve talked yourself right out of getting a new client. And even worse, you might leave your client in a state of confusion and indecision.
Recently, I spoke at a live event and shared some of the points of The Pitch Queen System. I met a woman whose business focused on relationship coaching, particularly on helping women make decisions about when to leave a relationship.
She told me that at the end of her sales conversations, she leaves the ball in the client’s court. Sounds rational enough at first, right?
But here’s the part that she was missing: presenting your solution is one part of the sales conversation. But the most important part is helping your prospect make an empowered decision.
And when you don’t help guide your prospect to a decisive YES or NO, you leave them lost, confused, and no better off than they were before the sales conversations.
When someone reaches out to you, they know they need help. Something in their life has to change. And whether they know it or not, they want to make a decision. It’s your job to help them get to a decision. A YES or a NO.
You have the solution they need. And if you don’t help them decide if they’re ready to make a change, they stay stuck in their pain. You lose out on the sale. NOBODY wins.
All because you were afraid of being too pushy.
See how that works?
And to add insult to injury, when you don’t help your clients make a choice, it leaves YOU in uncertain territory, too.
We all know what it feels like after you get off the phone with an indecisive client. Before you know it, those nervous ramblings start running through your head. Things like….
Will they or won’t they be my client someday? Should I follow up? Does the 3-day rule to call again apply here? Are they going to come back?
So indecision doesn’t do anybody any good. It’s no good for the clients who need you. And it’s not any better for YOU.
Here’s the bottom line: as salespeople, it’s our responsibility to guide people to a decision. And it’s a total disservice to leave our people in indecision for the sake of our own comfort.
But if you focus on the client, stop worrying about being pushy, and help them make a decision, EVERYONE wins. Whether it’s a YES or NO, at least you KNOW.
Sales conversations can be pretty uncomfortable, especially for the prospect. It’s part of your job support them through the process. And be willing to get as uncomfortable–if not MORE uncomfortable–than your prospect.
“You’ve got to be willing to take a stand for your clients. I will take a stand for my clients and their bigger future, their vision for themselves. I am willing to be even more uncomfortable than they are in that moment,” says Shameca.
And if your prospect hits you with that age-old brushoff, “I’ve got to think about it,” what do you do?
Shameca offers this: “Be of service to your clients and say, ‘OK, hold on. You took the time to call me. I know you didn’t do this just to NOT make a decision. What’s really going on here?”
Be courteous. Guide them with love. But help them to get to the truth behind their resistance.
As salespeople, this is our job. It’s our duty to guide our prospects to the right choice for THEM. So there’s no room for indecision. No room for fear.
And definitely no room for self-centeredness on your part.
“Sales is love,” says Shameca. “And I’m here for your transformation. I will do everything in my power to get to the other side. And it’s not about me.”
It’s not about whether or not the client buys from you. It’s about your desire to make a difference in the world. Being willing to be even more uncomfortable than the client is in that moment of decision. And not to leave them in INdecision.
So do what you can to take your emotions off the table. Partner with your prospect in the sales conversation. And remember that the outcome is NOT about you.
Do this consistently, and you’ll never fear being “salesy.” And you won’t talk yourself out of the sale again.
Want to hear even MORE steps you can take to STOP talking yourself out of sales conversations? Join me and Shameca as we share how to take the pressure off yourself, drop your fears, and never talk yourself out of the sale again? Catch the FULL episode of “Coffee Is For Closers” right HERE!