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What does the word “Selling” mean to you?

Business owners continue to astound me with their enthusiasm for their business. They are massively passionate about what they do and they work mighty hard to build or maintain their business. Whether it’s a brilliant new concept, or they’ve bought a franchise, or inherited the family firm, generally they love it and throw themselves into it.

Apart from one bit.

The selling bit! What is it about selling?

Many businesses owners and entrepreneurs have the most wonderful 3 year business plans. I’ve been shown some superb brochures. I’ve witnessed some incredible inventions. But their businesses are reaching nowhere near their potential – because of a reluctance to go out and sell.

The result being I’ve also seen the tidiest desks. And lots of social media activity. And some of the most thorough research on the planet.

But if you’re a business owner you have to master the necessary selling skills – or you won’t be owning a business for all that long. And if you’re responsible for increasing sales at a larger company, you have to sell too, or you’ll soon be selling yourself to an HR manager at a future job interview.

Many sell but their heart is not really in it. And how will this come across to the buyers they deal with? We all know any lack of enthusiasm for selling will show.

Why do people dislike selling? Why the reluctance to approach and engage?

Let me explain that there are two main underlying reasons why people don’t achieve the sales results they need.

Firstly - they are living in “The Valley of Reasons and Excuses”. That means blaming something or someone else for where they find themselves. Not taking responsibility. It’s the economy, nobody is spending etc etc etc. This is a massive subject in its own right but one for another day – as the thing I want to home in on today is the other reason people don’t sell well...

Secondly...what you believe about yourself – and your ability to sell, will severely impact on your results.

So what do you believe about your selling ability? What do you believe about yourself? What ‘sales’ language are you using to yourself? What do you believe about the sales profession?

If you’re a reluctant seller the odds are that you’ll display negative language when thinking or talking about your sales ability or the sales profession in general (“I’m rubbish at cold calling”, “ I hate following up quotes”, “selling is hard”, “sales people are snakes”, “sales success is impossible” )

No one thinking or talking like this is likely to jump into selling. Why would they? It sounds so scary.

The issue here is that many, no most, of your thoughts are unconscious, so your unconscious thinking has a major effect on your beliefs and actions. Your unconscious mind backs up your belief that you aren’t very hot at selling by thrusting the negative examples at you where you weren’t too hot.

But – if you dig deeper, you’ll find examples where you were great at selling – you’ve just previously dismissed them as your unconscious mind backs up your embedded beliefs.

These embedded beliefs go back a long time – probably your early childhood!  An example comes to mind where someone I have worked with had extremely negative thoughts about selling. These beliefs went back to her own childhood when any doorstep salesmen were ritually abused by her mother. Sales people were slated long after each short sales visit. No wonder she developed these unconscious beliefs that all sales people were bad – which didn’t serve her well when it came to doing her own selling years later.

So what seeds have you – or others planted about sales? What are you allowing to impact your beliefs and actions? How are selling terms like ‘cold calling’ ‘objection handling’, ‘sales presentation’, ‘closing’ affecting your beliefs. One person at a recent workshop I presented suggested that every time she heard the word ‘closing’ in a sales context she felt a lump in her throat that was choking her! – such was her unease surrounding that word.

Everyone can be outstanding at selling. Sales people are not born. Selling is a set of learned behaviours and learned thinking – once you know the necessary successful behaviours and thinking you can emulate it.

So think about those limiting beliefs that are stopping you being outstanding at selling. Bring them into your consciousness and choose to accept them or reject them. For the ones you want to reject, a quick way is to think of three powerful examples where the opposite of this limiting belief was true. You’ll start to de-stabilise that negative belief and pave the way for an empowering belief in its wake.

I’m on a mission to crack this fear of selling and reluctance to sell. Hence my thoughts here and my event on 19th April where we’ll be identifying conscious and unconscious beliefs around selling – and banishing them to the ‘deleted bin’.

More details of my event “Love Your Business…Hate Selling?” here

Leigh Ashton
020 7903 5426