How many of you cringe when you hear the word ‘sales’? Or hesitate to tell someone you are a salesperson because you are certain they will picture you in fake white leather shoes, plaid pants, butterfly color, and slicked-back hair?

Maybe it is because you once bought a car from ‘Johnny Two-Thumbs’. You know, that guy who walks up to you on the car lot, giving you the two thumbs up that this is just the perfect car for you. He doesn’t care about what you actually want. He puts on the pressure just to get you to buy. His goal is to sell you that car and he’ll use any tactic to make that happen. He pressures, he guilts, he manipulates, he demands. Ick!

Nobody likes to be sold like that! This is the kind of interaction that gives the word “sales” such an icky feel.

But sales doesn’t have to be icky! That high-pressure, impersonal way of selling something is not the way sales should be. In fact, that shouldn’t be considered sales at all. That’s bullying. It’s an intimidating method used to close a deal that doesn’t actually take into account what the other person even needs.

Sales really is and should be a mutually beneficial transaction. The goal is to help another person get what they need. You only sell what you have to someone who needs it. When you help meet the need of a client, it is the ideal scenario!

So, how do you get past the ick factor of sales?

  1. Realize that you sell every day. In fact, you have been doing it your entire life. Granted, you don’t call it “sales”, but it is still selling. You are selling when you get your kid to eat their peas, you sell when you get a colleague to cover a shift for you, you are selling when you interview for a job. And guess what-you’re pretty good at this already!!
  2. Make a plan. When you have a plan, you will be more confident in asking for what you want or selling your idea. Think about it. Have you ever had to give a speech? I know, most people would rather die than give a speech. But chances are, you survived. How? You had a plan. You wrote it out, you practiced – viola!
  3. Reframe sales. I don’t actually think of sales as selling. I know, confusing, right? I think of sales as helping people. I want to only sell people things they really need. I sort of think of myself as a help-a-holic™. I like to help people. It feels good to help others. And sales is a way for me to help others.
  4. No pressure. Don’t feel like you have to make the sale today. Think of it as building relationships. So, before you jump into your spiel, take a step back and get to know the buyer. Find out what they need, what is important to them and how you can best meet them where they are at. Build trust. Take the time to really care about other people. Developing a relationship is far more important than closing a quick deal. If you determine that what you are selling is not the best fit for your client, you have at least sold a reputation of integrity. Who knows? This could benefit you in the future with referrals or when your client does eventually need your product.

A lot of getting over the ick factor of selling is knowing that it doesn’t have to be icky at all. And, by knowing that you sell every day in a non-Johnny Two Thumbs way should be a relief, right? So, embrace your inner help-a-holic and know that is also selling. Once you realize that you sell every day, and you are good at it, that ick factor will lessen and you’ll be more confident to go after what you really want!