Top Sales Tips for People Who Hate Selling

top tips for people who hate selling for ybkbs magazine for smalll businesses and entrepreneurs and smes
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By Jess Dixon

When I was twenty two and fresh out of University, I went to work in a high street bank. I hated it and I was terrible at it. A big part of the reason for that was because I am not a good salesperson. I’m not particularly comfortable with selling at the best of times, and that was doubly true when I didn’t feel good about the products and services I was supposed to be pushing.

That stage of my career lasted a grand total of nine months, but one thing has stayed the same: I don’t like selling and I’m not very good at it.

I hear similar things from small business owners all the time. They’re amazing at what they do and they believe in their products, but they feel so uncomfortable with the whole process of actually selling it.

Fear not! The hard sell is dead. Most people can see straight through the sleazy tactics people often think of when they hear the word “selling,” and they don’t like it. So I’m not going to tell you to use those methods, partly because I don’t think they’re ethical but also because they don’t even work.

Instead, here are some of my favourite sales tips for small business owners like me who are emphatically not salespeople.

Tell a story

In the introduction to his incredible book The Science of Storytelling, writer Will Storr tells us that “there’s simply no way to understand the human world without stories… stories are everywhere. Stories are us.” Since I’m also a writer, you might be unsurprised to know that I agree!

“Story selling” is all about attracting your target audience through the story you tell them. You might tell that story through social media, email marketing, face-to-face, or some other method entirely. But the trick is this: the customer must be the main character.

Through story selling, you can show that you understand your consumer’s needs, wants, and problems. You can tell a story that allows them to imagine themselves in a specific desirable situation – solving a problem, fulfilling a want, or improving their life in some way. By appealing to emotion, you allow them to see what your product can do for them. This is so much more powerful than just listing off specs or statistics.

For one of the most powerful and effective story selling ad campaigns in recent years, look to Tesco’s “Food Love Stories” series.

Harness the power of the testimonial

Hate selling? Get someone else to do it for you!

A testimonial is a short statement – typically between one sentence and one paragraph – from a happy customer about how your business helped them.

The reviews that you find on sites like Google, Amazon, and Tripadvisor are all forms of testimonials, but you can also use them for your small business. If you sell physical products, consider having a review section on your e-commerce store. If you sell services, ask some of your satisfied clients to write you a short testimonial. Then you can display these on your website, social media, and marketing materials.

But do they work? Yes! According to Strategic Factory, 92% of consumers read reviews or testimonials before buying, and testimonials can increase revenue by around 62%.

(And, let’s be real, it can be good for the ego. We all love it when someone tells us we’re amazing.)

Focus on value

It’s much easier to sell if you really believe in what you’re selling and know that it can help people. Therefore, when you promote your products or services, focus on value. In other words, don’t just tell your prospective customer what your product is, but tell them what it can do for them.

Always stress value before you discuss cost. What does buying your product or hiring your services mean for your client? Whether you’re putting together a project proposal, taking a pitch meeting with a new lead, or sending a marketing email, demonstrate benefits and value at every stage.

This comes back to story selling again. You’re not really selling your customer an item. You’re not even selling them your knowledge or expertise. You’re selling them a vision.

Be yourself

When I was a professional fundraiser, we had a saying: “people give to people.” In other words, it was the relationships we built with prospective donors that won the big gifts. Well, people also buy from people. So be your wonderful self!

Don’t be afraid to inject some personality into your brand. Cold and corporate is out in the vast majority of industries. Be warm, be friendly, don’t be afraid to use humour where it’s appropriate, and treat your current and potential customers like your friends.

Selling seems scary if you’re not used to it, or if you’re envisioning slimy tactics and hard-selling. But it doesn’t have to be! I’m still not entirely comfortable with selling, but using the strategies I’ve outlined here helps me promote by business in a way I feel good about… and a way that works!

Sales, at its heart, is about relationship building. So be yourself and show your target audience why they need exactly what you’re selling.

Remember: your business is amazing and your prospective customers deserve to know about it!

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