Navigating sales conversations is part of being a business owner. But it’s important to learn how to make them feel non-pushy and good for everyone.

Does this sound familiar to you?

“I don’t want to be pushy.”
“I don’t want to be salesy.”
“I don’t want to put pressure on them.”
“I’m just going to let them think about it.”

These concerns are extremely common among entrepreneurs, and I see it a lot with the coaches I work with, especially those newer in the field who may have worked with less than 100 clients.

As coaches, our natural instinct is to help. However, if we don’t have a positive sales background, we might carry around a lot of judgments and preconceived ideas about what it means to be “salesy,” leading us to avoid the sales conversation altogether.

Let’s explore why harboring these thoughts can harm you, your business, and most importantly, your clients. We’ll look at how you can approach sales without feeling “salesy” and the mindset you should embrace instead.

The Sales Conversation

Interestingly, when it’s time for the sales conversation, coaches often undergo a total personality change. They shift from being helpful and coaching-oriented to adopting a professional, awkward, and somewhat forced sales persona. It’s crucial to understand that you are still the same person and should bring the same energy of helping and coaching into the sales conversation as well.

Many coaches get hung up on how to make this transition smoothly. So, let me share with you how to word this transition in a way that feels natural, conversational, and not awkward or “yucky.” Here are a few transition phrases you can use:

  • “Where we normally go from here is…”
  • “Here are the things I see that I can help you with…”
  • “What I am hearing from you is that you most want help with…”
  • “What normally happens from this point is…”
  • “I am seeing that we have solved X today and given you some clarity on how to do Y, but in the big picture, you have told me you want to achieve Z. That is definitely something I can help you with, but it’s a more complex/long-term/larger process… that I know we can accomplish together.”

Even with a good sales conversation, clients might still feel uncertain or unclear about what the next best step for them is. This usually means that you haven’t yet answered a question they have in their head, or you haven’t made them feel safe to share if they are not interested in further coaching.

If the client feels safe with you, they will be honest about what they want. They will be able to tell you either, “Yes, this is perfect for them,” or “No, I don’t think this is what I need/want right now,” and they will trust that you won’t try to pressure them into changing their mind.

The Goal of the Conversation

The main goal of the sales conversation is to help your client reach a decision – either yes or no – and to not be attached to the outcome. This is one of the hardest things to learn, especially as a newer coach who really wants to have some clients. So, it’s extra important that you have your mindset right going into these conversations. If you enter a sales conversation with the primary motivation of “getting the sale” or “converting the client,” you will carry that energy into the conversation with you.

You might end up feeling salesy, which is exactly what you wanted to avoid. This energy can lead you to either overtalk/oversell, coming on too strong, or undersell/not sell, being too lax in an effort to overcorrect the uncomfortable feeling you are experiencing.

When the Client Isn’t Sure

If the client says they need to think about it, you really want to find out what they need to think about because typically, this means they have a question in their head that feels unanswered/unclear/uncertain.

Of course, some clients may want to go home and sleep on it or discuss a big decision privately with their partner. But you do want to find out what types of things they want to consider, just to ensure you are providing them with adequate information so they can make a decision. You can ask questions like:

  • “What other things can I clarify for you so that you will be able to have a good talk about whether this is right for you?”
  • “What questions or hesitations are you feeling that I might be able to shed some light on?”
  • “If coaching was free or price was not an object, what questions might you still have?”
  • “How long do you think you will need to talk about this and make a decision?”
  • “What do you need to know in order to decide if this is the best thing for you or not?”

Don’t Leave Indecision on the Table

Leaving someone in a state of indecision is detrimental. It can lead to second-guessing, constant researching, and a nagging reminder of an unaddressed or avoided issue, building more shame the longer it’s left unattended. If a client leaves a coaching session in indecision because you haven’t clearly communicated how you can help them, you’ve essentially left them in a worse place than when they came to you.

Indecision is the enemy of progress. It feels awful because it leaves decisions up to circumstances rather than choice. If you decide to do something, you feel more certain; the same is true if you decide not to do something. Certainty comes from making a decision.

One of the best skills you can embrace as a coach is helping your clients make a decision. This skill, essentially, is sales. But it can be done with integrity, empathy, and kindness, stemming from a true desire to help your client.

I hope this perspective helps you when you’re entering sales conversations with your potential clients, allowing you to approach these discussions with the goal of genuinely assisting them in making the best decisions for their lives.