Effective Selling without that Icky Feeling

in growth., success.

Below is a guest post by Mike Weinberg, author of New Sales. Simplified. I chose to publish this one because the reality is that sales is a part of our careers, whether we work for ourselves, or for a larger company as a part of a team. We are all always seeking buy in, for new products, new ideas, new projects, etc. We even seek buy in when we’re looking for employment opportunities. Sales is a universal thing that each of us needs to understand and perfect in order to move forward in our lives and careers.

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Effective Selling

I’ve worked with many business owners, professional services executives, and even salespeople who have a bad taste in their mouths when it comes to selling. You read that right – there are even salespeople that don’t like to sell. Really. And that discomfort is magnified many times over when selling means the need to acquire new customers, not simply managing existing relationships.

The icky feeling is understandable. There are a whole lot of awful and inappropriate salespeople out there who give selling a bad name. We’ve all been witness to or victims of poor and embarrassing sales efforts. We’ve been pestered; had our time wasted; sat through boring self-focused presentations; felt manipulated, or even led down paths we did not intend to go.

As you read this, bad experiences you’ve had with pathetic salespeople are probably coming to mind. And it is likely that you’re saying to yourself, “I don’t want to be that gal.”

I have good news for you. You don’t need be that gal. Sales does not have to be a dirty word and we shouldn’t feel sick every time we find ourselves forced to look for more business. Top-producing professional business developers are not over-the-top pushy. And they’re the farthest thing from insincere and cheesy. In my experience, those most successful at sales see behave very differently.

Our attitude about selling and how we view ourselves in a sales role have a huge impact on the way potential customers perceive us, and the sales results we will achieve. Successful salespeople see themselves as value creators and professional problem solvers. Deep inside, they do truly believe that the customer is better off working with them versus the alternative. They are driven to improve their client’s condition, and are motivated by the opportunity to deliver great value. You can imagine how this proper mindset affects how they approach prospective clients, the words they choose, their demeanor, and most importantly, how they come across to prospects.

Everything changes when we see selling in a different light.

A client recently asked me to study their top producers in an attempt to identify why two individuals were outselling the pack by a factor of three. After several months observing and interviewing the entire sales team, the conclusion was clear and undeniable.

  • The biggest difference between the top-producers and everyone else was their view of their role and their view of the potential client.
  • The top performers saw themselves as consultants and problem solvers who believed they could help the prospect.
  • They also assumed their prospect had a need and possibly was even “stuck” and looking for help.

This was in stark contrast to the balance of the producers who went into a sales situation assuming that the prospect wasn’t serious, likely only “price shopping,” and viewed their job as simply to provide pricing. Do you think that maybe, just maybe, these very different attitudes influenced  how these producers came across to prospects? You know they did! And that difference altered the entire dynamic of the sales dance and is what drove the tremendous results achieved by the two whose attitude set them up to win big.

When we see ourselves in the proper light, that icky feeling fades away and is replaced with a healthy desire to deliver tremendous value to customers – to improve their businesses or make their lives easier. And when that is our motivation, we will not only want to sell, but we will be excellent when we do! 


Mike Weinberg, a top-performing sales hunter and former sales executive, is co-founder and president of The New Sales Coach, a consultancy specializing in new business development sales strategies. Author of New Sales. Simplified, and nationally known for his popular blog, he lives in St. Louis, Missouri.  www.newsalescoach.com . Follow on twitter @mike_weinberg.

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Image Credit: Sharon Mollerus

Neno November 2, 2012 at 7:10 pm

I used to work in sales.

I think that you can only get rid of that icky feeling by exposing yourself to great number of rejections. This is painful truth with most things in life that people don’t want to hear.

Whether you are learning how to ski, approaching women starting business or trying to sell something.

Get used to rejection.

Oh and I don’t know how to get that damn gravatar

Tia Peterson November 3, 2012 at 2:50 pm

LOL Go to gravatar.com. It’s very easy. Sign up with the email you use for commenting, upload an image, crop it if you want, mark it G, and then you’re all set.

Shandi Tan October 27, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Great post, Mike! I’m fairly familiar with that icky feeling and as we’ve all been taught in business school – the only real way you can wash it off is by coming around on what you think of your lead or prospect.

The most successful sellers are those who don’t sell to make a sale. They’re the people who solve problems or help others troubleshoot their way around a situation.

Great reminder for those battle-hardened snake oil salespeople!

Zainil October 27, 2012 at 1:59 pm

I feel that the entire business depends on the efficiency of the sales team, because in every business, the only source of major income is sales.. But I think that, now a days every 1 is getting soo very professional that, everyone is doing well in the sales, but still there is someone always better than the other to compete with! 🙂

Jill Tooley October 22, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Oh boy, do I know all about that “icky” feeling. Sales has never been my forte (luckily, I found a job better suited to my interests), and I always felt sort of sleazy trying to make recommendations to customers. However, like the commenter before me, the most successful salespeople I know all have one thing in common: They’re genuine. It’s amazing how far honesty and empathy can go, isn’t it? There’s no substitute for that!

Tia Peterson October 29, 2012 at 3:21 am

Thanks for your comment, Jill. I sent you an email requesting your address so I can forward you a copy of the book!

Coversure October 22, 2012 at 11:40 am

That definitely applies to inbound sales calls. One of our best sellers, does precisely this, he just tries to be as helpful as possible, and more often than not, without any particular sales techniques, he gets the business done.
It makes him more likeable, and people trust him, without him having to try and convince people he is likeable and trustworthy! And so, customers buy from him, and refer their friends and family too.

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