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How to sell without “selling”

business sales strategy Nov 06, 2020

5 min read

The ultimate oxymoron - selling without “selling.” When we say without selling, we mean foregoing all of the pushiness that is typically associated with the act.  

Pitching and selling to customers can be especially gut-wrenching for new entrepreneurs. You don’t want to come off as a used car salesman, but yet again you know that a certain amount of assertiveness is needed to make sales and keep your business afloat. No sales = no business.

The Fix: A different approach to selling

There isn’t a magic bullet to building a sales system you feel good about and that your customers actually like. But there are certain truths about human psychology that play a huge role in the art of sales. 

The first thing to understand is that every potential customer that comes in contact with your business goes through a journey that brings them closer to making a purchase or pushes them further away from it.

During these processes, every person has innate psychological biases that are just waiting to be called upon. If you can properly activate these biases, making a purchase becomes almost a “no-brainer” in the customer’s mind. 

We’re wired to move away from discomfort and towards comfort and aim to become the best versions of ourselves. 

Some of the most prevalent and relevant biases are:

Confirmation Bias - We all love the feeling of telling someone “I told you so.” We thrive knowing that we correctly guessed what was coming next and that our expectations were met. This bias is important when it comes to creating copy and content in your marketing efforts. 

You want your content to confirm your customers’ suspicions and beliefs so they’ll feel a sense of alignment and connection with your business. This is where having a defined target audience whose wants, needs, and beliefs you understand thoroughly comes in hand.

Bandwagon Effect - When we see that other people have tried out something before us and had positive experiences, we feel like it’s less of a risk to try it ourselves. If there are negative consequences down the line, we also feel confident knowing that there will be other people in the same boat as us. 

In the business world, the bandwagon effect translates to social proof, or testimonials and reviews. People will rely on reviews to confirm that it’s “safe” to proceed and that others are having positive experiences. 

Zero-Risk Bias - You’re confident in your product or service, otherwise you wouldn’t be selling it. The key is to transfer that same confidence onto potential customers. We’re programmed to seek out safety and comfort, so if we know something will have no risk to us, we are more inclined towards it.  

One of the easiest ways to eliminate risk and increase completed sales is by offering money-back guarantees or any other guarantees that will instill trust on the customer’s end. 

Once you understand how these psychological biases work, keep them in mind when constructing your sales approach. 

4 strategies for positive and pleasant selling

Sell with honesty - We all know that we must represent what we’re selling with integrity and not embellish results or quality or hide anything in the fine print. But selling with honesty also means being authentic and real. When you are “playing a role,” customers will see right through it and be turned away. Also don’t take interest in people just because they’re a prospect. Have conversations with potential customers without the intent of selling to them. The air will change and people will be able to tell you are genuinely taking an interest in their needs without any expectation of getting anything in return. This is the mark of a master saleswoman.

Remove the gimmicks and embrace the art of selling - If phrases like “enroll today” and “limited-time offer” make you cringe, good. They should. There is no room for them in your sales pitches. The words you choose play a major role in whether your sales strategies seem fake and negative or real and positive. 

First and foremost, don’t do the majority of the talking. Listen to what the customer is saying and find the right timing to ask questions and present your product or service. 

Show your value - This doesn’t mean going on and on about how great you and your business are, but rather how what your offering will change the customer’s everyday life. Like we mentioned before, people naturally want more comfort in their lives, so show them how you will solve their current pain points.

Simplify the decision - The simpler the decision is for the customer, the more likely they are to purchase. Stick to one signature product or program you’re selling, and make the purchasing process easy for them, without any extra steps. 

By understanding people’s psychological biases, like seeking comfort and avoiding risk, the path to a great sales strategy becomes clearer. The more honest and straight-forward you are, the less risk people will feel. Demonstrating value and an easy path to it will provide the comfort people seek. With these practices, you won’t have to resort to icky-feeling sales strategies but rather you’ll be selling more without really “selling.”

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