As I’ve often discussed in my writings and podcasts, entrepreneurship always involves sales. All business owners rely on selling in some way. You must persuade someone to give you time, money, or both, and that act of persuasion is a type of sale.
Unfortunately, salespeople often get a bad rap. The good ones are often overshadowed by the pushy ones. And that’s why many entrepreneurs struggle to pitch to stakeholders or grow their enterprise: they don’t consider themselves salespeople, and they’re afraid to seem pushy or negative.
I am in no way saying that salespeople are not good people — simply that entrepreneurs are often wary of selling. The truth is, if you are a good human, you’ll be better at sales. Here’s what that might look like.
Cultivating a Money Mindset
If you want to run your own business, money is probably a motivating factor, because it can make it easier for you to have a better life and future. We know that money can’t buy happiness, but it can certainly make certain things easier. And yet some entrepreneurs get uncomfortable about money. They don’t want to seem money-hungry. They’re not sure how to ask for money in exchange for the value they provide. They may even be apprehensive about getting rich.
These attitudes lead business owners to play it safe. They lower their prices in hopes of attracting customers. They’re nervous about charging too much because it seems “greedy.” These are characteristics of the scarcity mindset: that you need to enjoy what you have and make every effort to avoid losing it.
Add in the common belief that selling is morally questionable, and many entrepreneurs leave money on the table.
What you need is an abundance mindset: that you have something valuable to offer and that money is one of several rewards you can receive for it. Once you adopt this mindset, selling because much easier. You’re not taking someone’s money, you’re exchanging your offering for their funds — and that’s a good thing you can both celebrate. You’re selling them a better future, that’s what everyone wants, and people are willing to pay for that!
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
Think you’re not a salesperson? That may be because pop culture has handed us a very rigid idea of selling: often, a door-to-door salesman who lies and manipulates people to make a buck. While there are salespeople like that, most selling is much different. It’s a way to show off your valuable offering and connecting it to your prospect’s interests and desires.
If you’re familiar with the StoryBrand concept, you know that many marketers consider the customer to be on a hero’s journey. They have a problem or quest, and they need the right solutions to achieve their goal. Your role as the salesperson isn’t to lead them astray or manipulate them: it’s to give them resources to solve the problem at hand!
However, many entrepreneurs don’t consider themselves salespeople in the traditional image. The good news is that entrepreneurs are already in the business of solving problems. So, to be a good, responsible salesperson, all you need to do is present that solution to your hero!
The most effective selling is a natural extension of the entrepreneurial spirit. So don’t let your imposter syndrome prevent you from pitching to prospects. As a good human, you are their wise guide on their epic journeys.
Embracing Your Role
Ever found yourself saying “I’m just following up” or “I was wondering if” when talking to a prospect? These polite phrases are a telltale sign of selling insecurity. Again, if you perceive negative connotations about salespeople, you may try to distance yourself from the act of selling.
But these weasel words do more harm than good. Shift your mindset from “I don’t want to bother them” to “I have something of value to them.” Once you stop apologizing, you’ll feel more comfortable selling. And the best part is that your prospect will feel more comfortable talking to you.
Think of selling as a conversation. Yes, you’re trying to persuade someone to buy from you, join your team, fund your startup, etc., but you’re mostly learning what makes them tick. Then, you can connect that to what you’re offering. Selling is more than a transaction: it’s a relationship, ideally one that can grow into something lasting! Now that’s a great way to be a good human.
Once you embrace your role in cultivating those relationships, sales will seem not only natural but also crucial to your business’s growth. You’re helping them create a better future and that feels awesome! Embrace being a salesperson. Good Humans Sell!
This article is based on an episode of the Simplifying Entrepreneurship podcast featuring Catherine Brown, author of How Good Humans Sell. You can listen to the full podcast here. You can watch the full interview below.