It’s time for a perspective on selling and a way of approaching your sales conversations that removes a lot of the ick you might be feeling around the topic.

Learning how to sell has been quite a journey for me personally. So if you sort of roll your eyes or get a stomach ache or want to turn away because you hate sales and want to pretend like you’re not selling your coaching everyday, I get it. I really do.

Selling is probably the skill that I had to invest the most time, money and energy into, in order to feel like I could not just do it but enjoy it.

And I can honestly say that almost all of the money I spent on programs or coaches who supposedly taught sales ended up just showing me how NOT to do it. Things like:

After you quote your price, say nothing and sit in awkward silence and
Follow up with a prospect a minimum of 8 times (in other words chase them)

I tried those things and you won’t hear me say that those things don’t work. What I will say is they did not feel good to me. Those things made me hate sales even more.

Similar to my philosophy with my clients—where buy-in is ultimately the most important thing when it comes to their results and the trajectory of their progress and performance—the same is true for us with our business. The more we enjoy something, the more we’ll want to do it and not shy away from it.

So I stayed committed to adopting an approach to sales that not only feels good but also works well for me.

Inside the Financial Coach Academy®, we teach selling in one of our modules. But I want to share them with you, too. Here are the five ingredients I try to infuse into my own sales conversations…and the last one is the most important one.

Ingredient 1: Belief

First things first, I need you to believe that sales does not have to feel like ick. It really doesn’t. Every time a coach in one of our programs makes a sale or gets a new client, we ask them to share how the sales conversation went. That’s because we coach them real-time on how to improve those conversations so sales get easier and easier but also feel better and better.

And one of the things we will see in these updates is a coach who will say “oh my gosh, this conversation just flowed and it was so easy and I can’t believe it went the way it did…” The good thing is that once you experience it, it’s easier to believe it’s possible because now you have proof.

It’s also easier to understand what a good sales conversation feels like—and once you know what it feels like, the better you will be at paying attention to your own innate guard rails as you do it.

If you’re reading this and the only sales conversations you’ve had up until now are awkward and you have yet to experience a really positive sales conversation, I need you to believe that it’s possible.

And then, even as you are approaching a sales call or while you are in one, I need you to continue believing that it can be enjoyable, it can feel good and it doesn’t have to be awkward or feel icky at all.

The feeling of ick is an indicator you’re probably off track and need to get back on course. The feeling of ick isn’t something to ignore because we’ve all been told “sales is just awkward, it’s just the way it is.” That’s not true. That’s a lie we’ve been told by people who sell in a way that IS ICKY period.

Ingredient 2: An Invitation

I want you to think of sales as simply inviting someone to take the next step in their journey with you. It doesn’t matter where in the client journey we are with our clients, at each step when we invite someone to take the next step, that’s a sales conversation because it’s an invitation to do the next thing.

Money does not have to exchange hands for it to be a sales conversation.

The reason it’s important to think of sales in this way, simply as an invitation, is because I want you to think of all the times you invite someone to do something with you or for themselves, where money isn’t exchanging hands or it’s not something tied to you specifically:

  • hey check out this podcast episode,
  • hey you should read this book, I found it fascinating,
  • what about talking to your husband about that gripe you have?,
  • do you want to grab coffee tomorrow morning…

Think about how good it feels to extend those invitations. That’s ideally how you’ll feel when extending an invitation to work with you and receive coaching.

You’re inviting them to get support. You’re inviting them to get the results you’ve probably been talking with them about. You’re inviting them to solve their problem. You’re inviting them to receive guidance from an expert.

Another reason I think this is critical is because one mistake a lot of us make early on in sales is that we fail to actually invite the client to take the next step. We think they know what the next step is, we don’t know what to say, we feel awkward, we assume they can’t afford it—lots of reasons that we don’t extend the invitation. So it’s an important ingredient.

Ingredient 3: Education

For me, when it comes to inviting clients to take the next step, the perspective I keep is to educate and invite, but not convince. As soon as I start to feel convincing energy, that’s a sign that I probably need to take a step back and focus on the client and what they’re saying or not saying. Again, my innate guardrails are more clear to me now. When I get into convincing them of something, that feels icky to me, and because I believe sales conversations do not have to feel icky, that is my cue that I probably need to adjust.

By educating and inviting, not pressuring, not convincing, the goal becomes to help the client now or in the future, whenever they are ready, and to simply let them know that.

Sometimes clients ask questions and it’s not because they are stating an objection, which is how we can take it when we’re nervous or already in our own head about sales. The next time someone asks a question during a sales conversation, think of it as an opportunity to educate them on the decision so they can make a more informed, clear and confident buying decision.

We can’t possibly tell them everything they need to know about our programs on the first pass. We pick 1-2 main results we know they’ll get and share those with them. We kind of guess as to which key points are most important to them. We don’t always get it right. So they may have questions or want clarity. I love questions during sales conversations because they help me to articulate the value of what I think I can do but without the guesswork.

If they are asking a question, they care about that thing so now I know and can educate them on how that particular part of the program works.

If people ask questions, they’re interested. That’s a good sign. Educating the person on the decision they’re facing is a tasty ingredient.

Ingredient 4: Patience

Yes, patience. I don’t know about you, but most often when we think of sales, there’s this frenzied, rushed or impatient sort of mindset that goes along with it. Do you know what I mean?

Adding patience as an ingredient to my sales conversations has really helped me over the years and yet it’s one of the ingredients that is missed MOST by sales trainings and coaches out there.

Just like when people hear the word budget they think sacrifice or restriction, when people hear the word sales or selling, they think pressure or pushy or decide now. I believe this puts so much unnecessary pressure on both you, the coach, and the client and creates a win-lose situation.

This idea that we have to get a “Yes” right now and anything other than a “Yes” is a failure ends up creating this “now-or-never,” or “ultimatum-like” energy around the conversation. This “gotta make the sale” mentality has never sat right with me.

I remind myself that I am in this for the long haul. This – financial coaching – is my life’s work and I am going to be doing it for a very long time. So do I need this client right in front of me to say “Yes” immediately or will I be here when they’re ready? I’ll be here when they’re ready… and I want to make sure they know that.

My sales philosophy doesn’t need to have a sense of urgency to it because this isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme for me.

I want to be here to help people.
I want to offer them my help.
I want to educate or articulate the value of what I can do for them so they know the decision they’re ultimately facing.

And I want to help them make a clear and confident decision – whatever that decision may be.

If you’ve ever done a call with me for The Academy® or one of our Specialty Toolkits, all too often a coach will say “This was so nice, I know what I want to do and I don’t feel pressured at all. Thank you.” And that’s exactly the outcome I’m shooting for. I’m not shooting for a yes or a no specifically, I’m shooting for a clear and confident decision, whatever that may.

Think about every “No” you get as simply a “Not yet.” At some point, when this conversation is done right, this prospect will come back around and when they are ready, they’ll come to me because of how this conversation was done. They know the door is open, that we would love to help them, we know we can help them and as soon as they’re ready, we’re here to do just that.

Ingredient 5: Respect

The fifth and final ingredient in sales conversations is respect. I really felt like most of the methods I learned early on lacked a genuine level of respect – both for the client and for myself.

You can be persuasive and still give folks agency in their buying decision. In fact, I would argue that doing so instills trust and it’s this trust, respect and patience that makes it so they do come back when they’re ready.

Oftentimes sales people will argue that you have to close the deal right then and there because most people once they walk out or end the call, they’re gone forever. So then the design of the sales conversation is then built to FORCE a decision.

But if you instead build trust and respect with the person, what I have seen is that they DO come back. It might be a month later, or a year later or sometimes even five years later, but they come back because of how you treated them and how they felt. And guess what, if you’re in this for the long haul then it doesn’t matter when they say yes, just that they do.

The typical sales approach is built around triggering the stress response – all for the sake of making a sale. Think about it. You’ve probably heard sales experts say that when you quote your price, you should stay quiet and not say anything, because that awkward silence is uncomfortable for the client and that’s what you want. There’s literally a saying in sales that says “Whoever speaks first, loses.” (Again, there’s that win/loss dynamic again right?)

Triggering a person’s stress response intentionally… triggering a nervous system response for the sake of a sale… can we just stop and think about that for a second?

My philosophy on business is people over profits. That is not to say profits don’t matter, I just think people matter first. I will not put a person on edge to make a sale.

Triggering a person’s stress response, Putting a person on edge is not a sign of respect in my opinion.

The 5 ingredients you need in your sales conversations are: Belief, Invitation, Education, Patience and Respect. But what should you leave out of those conversations altogether?

What NOT to Do

Here’s what NOT to do when having a sales conversation:

  • Don’t pressure them on timelines, that’s risky.
  • Don’t try to move them forward too quickly, that’s risky.
  • Don’t treat them like every other sales person, that’s risky.

Do these things and your credibility is shot.

Be a partner, not a salesperson. You’re there with them to make decisions, not against them.

The end result is people who buy or people who come back to buy. Either way, instead of a win-loss scenario, you’ve created a win-win scenario.

This approach feels really good for me and the coaches on my team, and not only do we have a terrific conversion rate to point to but time and time again, we have clients come back a month, a year and sometimes five years later and say “okay, I’m ready now.” And in that meantime, they’re thinking positively about us and their experience. They’re probably telling others about it. And when they’re ready, they do come back.

It truly takes the pressure off these types of conversations.

You’ll be amazed at how the entire energy of the conversation changes when YOU bring these five ingredients to your sales conversations. The client feels more calm, they aren’t afraid to ask clarifying questions or show interest because they know it’s not going to be like a shark circling around them just waiting… and it feels more collaborative.

So it feels good and it works. Sales can feel good. Believe it Coach.