How to Sell Without Feeling Sleazy
"I hate selling! It just feels so sleazy! I don't want to force someone to spend money with me."
Does this sound familiar? Have you ever said something like this? If so, you are not alone!
I've done sales of one kind or another for over 20 years. I've done traditional brick and mortar retail, sold at farmers markets, and been in direct sales. In each of those roles I've been in leadership positions where I had to teach people how to sell.
Nearly everyone felt like they could never be good at sales. But then I taught them how, and they were blown away at how easy and fun it could be.
I blame really obnoxious sales tactics for making it seem like something scary and gross. Good selling isn't the person in the store who won't leave you alone or keeps making suggestion after suggestion of what you should buy. It isn't the annoying person at the car dealership who acts like a hungry shark and makes you feel pressured. And it certainly isn't the person who you haven't spoken with since high school who messages you out of the blue about wanting to chat about their new network marketing business.
The fundamental root of selling is solving someone's "problem."
I put "problem" in quotes because we often think of that word as meaning something more serious than it needs to. Here are some examples of problems that can be solved with selling:
Wanting to get rid of adult acne.
Needing a dress for a fancy gala.
Needing a larger, safer vehicle as you expand your family.
So how do you solve these problems for them in relation to your business? And how do you sell without feeling sleazy? It's simpler than you think.
View them as an equal partner in the equation and build the relationship.
Speaking to them in a relaxed and conversational way helps them know, like, and trust you more. They are a person with a problem, and you are going to help them solve it. In the end, they give you money, you give them a solution, and both of you feel satisfied. You aren't demanding money from them, or forcing them to buy something they don't want. Keep this in mind during the process and it will take a lot of the stress off both of you.
Ask them good questions to get to the heart of the problem, then sit back and listen.
In selling it's really easy to get in your own way. We either talk too much and listen too little, or feel so freaked out by the whole process we rush them through because we just want it to be over. When you can have a dialog to find out what they are really hoping for, it helps you solve their actual problem, without giving them a new one. Let me give you an example...
If you go to your hair stylist and want a fresh look, chances are you've pulled up some example images on your phone. Maybe you want a shorter, more styled cut, and you want to dye it a beautiful shade of red. You don't care what it will cost, you just want it to look like it does in the picture.
But you are not the professional, they are. You trust them and gladly pay them for their skills and expertise.
If you're the stylist, you know some things about that style that they don't. They are going to need special products to maintain that color longer. The angles are a little too severe for their face. The styling is going to take twice as long as the "wash and go" they are used to. If you just simply did the work because you were asked, you could be giving them new problems, instead of finding solutions.
Which leads me to...
Give personalized suggestions to solve their problem.
In the above example, as the stylist you have realized their "problem" is they are bored with their current look and want something fresh and new. You have an idea of the look they are going for, but now you need to tailor your solution just for them.
It's time to ask some clarifying questions and use your expertise to deliver the best solution for them.
What is it about the cut and color they love? Are they willing to spend 10-15 minutes on their hair each day? Do they mind adding in some extra products to support the look? Would they be ok with you adjusting it to better suit their hair texture and facial features? You aren't trying talk them out of anything, but you want to give them the BEST solution.
Remember, they are not the expert, YOU ARE! This is where you get to shine. This is where you work together to create a result that they are ecstatic about.
Plus, this gives you a golden opportunity to make even more money by "upselling." Instead of just paying you for your time, now they are going to buy shampoo, conditioner, and styling products from you. You will teach them how to maintain the color and how to style it each day. And the overall look is going to fit them better than if you just copied the picture exactly.
In this scenario, they will be happy that you knew to suggest the extra products. They won't mind paying the extra money for them, because you solved their problem perfectly, and didn't suddenly give them new, unexpected problems.
You treated them as an equal, let them be heard, and came through like a sales superhero on the other side! When you look at it like that, selling didn't have to be sleazy at all!
What are some places you spend your money where you really feel "heard?" How does that change things for you? I bet you feel good spending money at those places. I'd love to hear your feedback so leave your comments here or in my Facebook group.