If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me how to sell without selling, I wouldn’t have to coach salespeople anymore for a living. I’d be too busy buying yachts and private islands with all that cash. But alas, here I am, still coaching salespeople and trying to answer the age-old question of how to sell without selling.
Let’s face it, nobody wants to be pushy, aggressive, or seen as that typical used car sales guy from the ’80s. Prospects can smell that a mile away, and it’s repelling in today’s day and age. It’s like trying to sell a steak to a vegan – they’ll see right through you and run in the opposite direction.
Back in the ’90s, when I started my sales training, coaching, and consulting business, the techniques used to move prospects to the next phase of the sales process were revolutionary… at the time. Sales professionals were true resources, the “Google” or “ChatGPT” of the sales process. But things have changed. Nowadays, prospects are more informed, overwhelmed, and skeptical, so if you use the techniques of the past to sell in today’s world, you probably won’t win that sales incentive trip.
So, how to sell without selling? It’s like trying to ride a unicycle without falling off – it takes some practice, but it’s not impossible, ask my friend Jeff Civillic (pictured above)! It comes down to four things:
- Stop acting and start asking. Stop acting like what you have to sell is the answer to any problem and start asking what problems people have that your product or service might be the appropriate solution for. By shifting the focus to the prospect and their needs, you can provide solutions that genuinely benefit them. It’s like being a detective, but without the trench coat and fedora.
- Stop selling and start getting SELLected (that’s not a spelling error, it’s a clever pun and the name of my sales development company, SELLect Sales). Remember that for a sale to stick and not get returned due to buyers’ remorse, both parties have to feel like they made the right selection. Your focus should be on helping the prospect make the best selection for themselves, not just on making the sale. It’s like being a matchmaker, but without the awkward first date.
- Remember that sales are all about relationships. If you keep this in mind, you’ll do what is required to nurture a relationship that feels quite different from the prospect’s perspective than being on the receiving end of a hard sell. By building a relationship with your prospects, you’ll be there when they are ready to say yes. Be valuable, not just because it might nudge the sale but because it’s the right thing to do. It’s like being a best friend, but without the sleepovers and secrets.
- Lighten up a little! Hey, it’s sales, it’s not really that heavy… even if it is. Infuse some humor into the sales process because it is a universal truth that people who are pleasant to be around are more successful in a sales role. By using humor appropriately, you can make the sales process more enjoyable for both you and your prospects. It’s like being a stand-up comedian, but without the hecklers and rotten tomatoes.
In conclusion, knowing how to sell without selling is crucial in today’s world. It’s like being a ninja, but without the stealth and weapons. By focusing on the prospect’s needs, building relationships, and injecting some humor into the process, you can create a more effective and enjoyable sales experience. So, if you want to improve your sales game, learn how to sell without selling.
Photo: My good friend and fantastic emcee & corporate entertainer, Jeff Civillico, entertaining kids at a school in Cambodia on our journey through SE Asia raising money and awareness for non-profit, Together We Can Change The World