You can’t be an entrepreneur without sales, but this is by far the area my clients struggle with the most. So many people have incredible resistance to sales. They’re afraid of rejection, they don’t want to come across as “salesy,” they worry about pushing their clients away, or they have hidden toxic beliefs about money, but how to overcome sales resistance?
You’ll notice I started by talking about your own potential resistance to sales because that’s what often gets mirrored in those we speak to. We’ll also be discussing the natural sales resistance that prospects bring to calls. Whatever the resistance is, the key is to shift the entire sales process and position it so it feels more like an invitation than an ask.
Before we dive in, however, check out this journaling exercise to help you first dig deep and feel into your natural resistances concerning the sales process.
Invitation vs. Sale
When you get on a sales call, are you trying to make a sale, or are you extending an invitation? That might sound like a question about semantics, but it’s really about the energy of your intention.
Think about your last sales call. Recall how you felt physically during the call. What were you thinking about? Did you try to close a sale, get more money, and convince the client? Or were you open and excited to meet the prospect, connect with them, and see where the process took you (even if it wasn’t to a credit card)?
When your intention is to make a sale, subconsciously you lean in and crowd the person. If the prospect has any resistance, they’ll lean way out. You’ve given them all the power in the conversation because you’re asking them to give you something.
But when you extend an invitation, you create a partnership. The call is a shared responsibility because you’re approaching it with the goal of discovery, not money.
Overcome sales resistance with Curiosity
If you want the magic pill to cure resistance, sales or otherwise, it’s curiosity. I’ve trained clients, as well as my own team, to write “BE CURIOUS” on a post-it and stick it somewhere they can see during every sales call. It opens their subconscious to approach the conversation a different way.
Here’s an example. Last week, we had a call with a prospect who said, very early in the conversation, “I never make buying decisions on a call, so I’ll need to think about it.”
A lot of sales training will teach you to push back or challenge this kind of statement, or even borderline bully them. But if you listen with curiosity instead of pushback, you’ll hear this sentence differently. Now, what I heard the client saying was, “I’m asking for space to come to my own conclusion.”
So, instead of pushing, we created that space right there on the call. That very person ended up changing her mind and purchasing then and there. In the end, your job is not to make the sale. Your job is to listen with curiosity and help make the prospect’s decision as easy as possible, so that whenever they make it, whether it’s on the call or later, it’s an easy decision.
Provide an Incentive to overcome sales resistance
Making a decision or commitment is really hard. It requires the changing of identities from stuck to empowered and that’s a scary transformation, especially if you’ve been stuck for a long time. You need to provide an incentive to help your prospect feel empowered to choose to change their life.
To make it easy for our clients, one thing we do as a business is literally pay them. When someone signs up on one of our calls, we take a pay cut and actually pay them back a portion of what we charge. It’s not pressuring them, but offering them something in return to make it easier for them to make that commitment.
The client who comes committed, who is willing to change identities and who won’t fight you every step of the way, is the best client to work with. The work with these committed clients is more joyful and fulfilling and produces better results, which fuels your confidence and provides you with more tools to serve clients down the road. Any money you’ve lost on the front end through your incentive is paid back with the 20-30 other clients you gain due to the transformation you provide.
Decide What the Money Is For
Self-made billionaire Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, has a quote that changed the way I approached money early in my career. She said, “Money makes you more of what you already are. If you’re an asshole, it’s going to make you a bigger asshole. If you’re generous, you just have more with which to give.”
Ask yourself, what is this money for? Are you buying more freedom and time? Are you investing in your family and your future? Many people struggle with asking for money because they’re too focused on the dollars, and not on what that money buys them.
For example, do you feel greedy when you send your client a quote with a large number on it? Imagine if you invoiced by what that money was going towards. You charged the client for a new set of tires, for a vacation with your family, for a certification course you’re taking to improve as a coach. Identify what the money is for, and you allow yourself to feel abundant.
There Is Always a Sale Being Made
We once had a client from an anti-capitalist background. She had so much resistance to charging for her work. She asked me, “What if my prospect says they’re broke. What do I do, refuse to help them?” I told her, “Your prospect is telling you a story. I’m not saying it’s a lie, but she’s embodying ‘I am broke’ as an identity, not a temporary state. If you buy that story, and help her anyway, you won’t really be helping her.”
If your prospect is presenting an identity that is broke, helping them for free confirms their identity, and now two people are broke. Neither of you has benefited from the coaching. So whether the sale you’re making is monetary or you’re selling them hope, or a transformation, or a new perspective, there is always a sale being made. If you’re one of those people who really has no trouble asking for the sale, but you are helping people who don’t have resources, I did a whole other training on how to help people find the money to work with you. <CLICK HERE>
The Call Is a Taste of the Coaching
I’ve been a writer since I was 10. The first rule of good storytelling is “show don’t tell.” If I have to tell you I’m an amazing coach, we’re both wasting our time. How are you supposed to take my word for it? You want to treat your discovery or sales process as a coaching process.
Many of my clients, however, think that this means fixing their client’s problems or giving free advice. That’s like giving a toddler a cupcake and then getting mad when they don’t eat dinner. Instead, the sales call should be about helping the prospect understand and gain a new perspective on the problem itself.
First, you must transform the problem. That buys you permission to transform the person.
Sometimes during this process, you may realize that you’re not meant to work together. Other times, you help them realize they have a bit more work to do before they can come back to you. Either way, the process works because it reveals right away whether working together will be mutually valuable.
If you can ask the right questions, you can transform the problem for your client. Stop giving free advice and start listening deeply to find the gaps in your client’s understanding of their problem. This is the real appetizer that will open their appetite for the main course.
If you want my full, in-depth training on how to overcome your money objections, click here!