4 Ways Of Increasing Sales Without Being Salesy

Sales has always been my forte. My earliest memories of the entrepreneurial spirit living in me was hunting for crystals and rocks in my apartment complex and selling them from our apartment window sill. Presentation was everything as a 7 year old! I strung them up on a wire, hung them from the window and presented them in a way that I thought people passing by would stop and take a look. They were rocks! Heck if I could sell rocks, I could sell anything. Many pop up jewelry stores and kool-aid stands later, I still enjoy the art of sales.

One of the greatest challenges sales professionals have is over-selling. I define over-selling as pitching your product or service in a way that sounds “salesy” or high pressure. This is a horrible way to get someone to buy into what your selling. Everyone likes to buy, but no one likes to be sold. 

Here are a few suggestions, coming from someone who has personally struggled with selling without sounding salesy: 

1. Think of what’s in it for them
I think this is the hardest part for any commissioned sales person. You have a bottom line to meet. You have a quota to make. You have sales goals to reach. All these numbers are typically at the forefront of your mind which will come across in your communication. You’ll need to shift your thinking to keep “what’s in it for them” in the front of your mind. If people get the feeling you’re trying to sell them so you can make a quick buck, you’ll sabotage your deal. We are in the business of helping people find solutions to their problems. If you look at it from that perspective, you won’t worry about making the sale. 

2. Focus on relationship building
Trust is the deciding factor if people will do business with you. Building a trusted connection within the first few connections with someone is a skill that needs to be developed. Trying to find something in common or mentioning a mutual friend or interest is a good place to start. Ultimately, people will buy you. Likeability is a huge factor in someone deciding who to buy from. If you focus on building a strong relationship and a connection with that person or group of people, you are more likely to get the sale. Don’t get stuck in the friends zone though! Make sure your close and eventually ask for the business. 

3. Don’t read from a script
I’m not against scripts, but the script is there to help guide you in the sales process not to sound robotic. Sales people who use scripts should be focused on trying to memorize them instead of reading from them. Sometimes you’ve been doing this so long, you default back to a script without realizing it with your customers. I’ve been guilty of this way to often. Scripts provide canned responses that remove the human elements to the exchange. Try to understand the natural progression of the sales process and make the discussion sound as much like a conversation as possible. 

4. Listen
The problem with most sales people is that they talk too much. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been called on by sales people who talk forever about how their product is awesome, we need their service or they are “the best” only to find out they didn’t even research our company and they are so far out in left field they don’t even realize it. We are a digital marketing company that works out of a shared co-working space. We don’t have copy machines, nor do we need office supplies in bulk. You will only know what the customer needs by asking relevant questions and listening. 

Sales is part of the territory as a business owner and you must always be selling to keep the business cash flow coming in. However, if you force it or sell from a high pressure position, you are going to shoot yourself in the foot and put a plateau on your sales. I’ll leave you with a quote from a great book called “People Buy You” by Jeb Blount:

“The key to connecting and winning others over is, therefore, extremely simple: make them feel important . The real secret to making others feel important is something you have at your disposal right now. It’s listening” ― Jeb Blount, People Buy You: The Real Secret to what Matters Most in Business

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Russell is the founder and owner of Severity Design. Severity Design is a digital marketing studio located in Elgin, Illinois, a Northwest Suburb of Chicago. We help small businesses get the word out and gain attention.
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