Have you ever said to yourself, “I don’t like selling because it leaves me feeling pushy, sleazy, or manipulative”? This is very common, and it’s one of the main reasons that I teach sales.
Sales conversations do not need to be manipulative — in fact, they really shouldn’t be. Instead, high-quality sales conversations can come from a pure place — the desire to serve others.
Your job as a salesperson is not to get someone to buy what you’re selling, it’s to help them make a clear decision about what’s next for them. And if that aligns with what you’re offering, it is your duty to sell to them. You would be doing them a disservice if you didn’t let them know about your offer.
As with any learned belief or deeply ingrained thought pattern, the more consciousness you bring to it, the more you can shift, grow, and improve your results.
Here are four paradigm-shifting truths about sales to reflect on:
- Sales are Happening All the Time
When you go to the grocery store and put a certain cereal in your cart, you choose it for a reason. Somehow you got the idea that this cereal was the one for you. That’s a sale.
When you were 12 years old, and you convinced your parents to let you have a sleepover at your friend’s house, that was a sale.
When you eat with a friend and they insist on paying for dinner, and you let them, that’s a sale.
Sales are everywhere — and this truth can support you in normalizing sales and relating to it in a new way. Get curious — where else do you see sales happening in your life? How do you experience each sale? Which ones do you like, and which do you dislike? Which are explicit and which are more implicit? Look through this lens that sales are happening all the time, and notice how this concept shifts your mindset.
2. Everyone is a Spender
In our society, everyone is a spender. There is a financial component to literally everything in our lives. Everything we do, everything we eat, everywhere we go, there is a financial component. Even those who mindfully decide not to handle money for spiritual or religious reasons, such as nuns or monks, are financially supported by a person or organization who is handling the money.
The truth is, most of us LOVE to buy stuff. The “right” stuff. We put our money where we have a sense of urgency and authentic desire.
All of this means one thing: We love being sold to. We love being sold the product, service, or solution that we truly desire. We just like it done skillfully, in a way that feels good to us.
When we master the art of sales we are learning to do it skillfully, and therefore up-leveling our ability to serve.
3. Sales is only BAD when it’s done BADLY
We don’t even notice most of the sales in our lives — but the ones we notice are often the ones that don’t feel good, the ones that feel pushy, the ones where we end up buying something we don’t even want. These are “bad” sales. Unconscious sales. Manipulative sales. Immature sales.
The important distinction? “Bad” sales are not ALL sales.
As in Truth #1, sales are happening all the time, and when the sale is useful, effective, and efficient, we don’t even notice it. We don’t blame the guy at Old Navy who tells us the pink looks better than the green — as long as we like the pink. We don’t ridicule our friend who we order doTERRA through — as long as we enjoy using the oils.
Too often, we tend to think of sales as limited to the experiences we’ve had with people who are not that good at it. Or, people who are using sales to manipulate, such as the telemarketer who isn’t interested in who we are before asking us to buy, or the cheesy TV ad with the low budget production.
If you’re worrying about coming off as pushy, salesy, or manipulative, what you’re really worried about is being BAD at sales — not the sales themselves. When people sell to us in a way that makes us feel good, however, we’re happy. We feel we’ve been helped, not sold.
Really generous, simple, loving, powerful and empowering sales happen all the time. They feel so good we don’t even think of them as transactional. And guess what: spiritual entrepreneurs are often some of the most masterful at “good” sales because they are so dedicated to helping others. Their consciousness turns the sale into a service.
4. Sales is Not a Script
The first thing I tell people when I’m teaching sales is, “Sales is not a script, sales is a score.”
A score, such as a dance score, is a framework or guideline that provides structure, but consciously leaves space for improvisation. Before I was a math teacher, I was a dancer, so I have an embodied understanding of this balance of structure and improvisation.
A script, on the other hand, is used to describe things that are traditionally fixed (like sheet music or a written theater play). A script defines what is going to happen from moment to moment, as well as fixes the interpretation of the conversation. But, since sales is a relationship between two people, it requires improvisation. You simply cannot script a conversation with another person.
This “dance” of structured improvisation is a communication skill that can be learned, and a key aspect of my teaching to become masterful at sales.
Learning the “Sales Score” requires a heightened sense of patience, motivation, confidence, risk taking, a willingness to fail as well as a willingness to succeed. You cannot know all the facts beforehand, and you must ask a lot of questions. You must trust your intuition and be willing to speak the truth in the moment — which requires that your inner critic settle down enough for you to relax and become present.
When we stay open, pay close attention, and search for the deeper meaning during our sales calls, we can bring curiosity to whatever transpires in the conversation rather than being attached to a certain outcome. With this level of presence, we become fascinated by the myriad of perspectives we get to engage with — the maybe’s and no’s, the fears and hesitations, the truths and lies, the vulnerabilities and the full-body “yes’s”. These conversations, regardless of the outcome, reveal the richness of humanity and are what we fall in love with as salespeople.