Developing Your Salesmanship without Sounding Like a Used Car Salesman

“Salesmanship, too, is an art—the perfection of its technique requires study and practice.” – James Cash Penney

Have you ever heard the term “You’re a natural-born salesperson?” Someone born with a natural style of selling that isn’t annoying or pushy? But is being a likable salesperson something you are born with or is it something you can learn?

Personally, I believe it’s a mixture of both.

It’s true that some people can naturally sell ice to a polar bear. But, for most of us, selling brings to mind the days of going to buy a used car and being pressed into buying a certain one by an annoying, pushy salesman.

Does selling make you feel dirty?

Does the idea of putting a smile on your face, pretending strangers are your best friends, and sweet-talking them into spending money on your books make you want to hide?

So how can you sell your books without feeling like you have to become someone else to do it? What does it take to develop your salesmanship skills so that people will like you?

Salesmanship is both an art and a science. It’s a human activity that involves human interaction. Although a natural affinity to selling is helpful, it can be learned.

Here are some surprising statistics:

  • 75% of buyers want marketers to curb the sales-speak in their content. (Source: DemandGen Report)
  • Only 2% of sales occur at a first meeting. (Source: Marketing Donut)
  • Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. (Source: The Annuitas Group)
  • 63% of people requesting information today won’t buy for at least three months. (Source: Marketing Donut)
  • Companies that nurture leads make 50% more sales at a cost 33% less than non-nurtured leads. (Source: Forrester Research)

These statistics show that selling takes more than being pushy and aggressive. It takes time to build a relationship with your potential reader with repeated exposure in a good way.

Throughout this post you’ll find tips and examples of what it takes to be a natural salesperson without being pushy and aggressive.

What Is a Natural, Likeable Salesperson?

Let’s first decide what a natural-born salesperson actually is. You’ve no doubt said to someone they were a natural-born salesman, often using it as a dig. It implies you either have it or you don’t, like being born left-handed or short or double-jointed.

In this instance, it means that selling is a talent the person doesn’t have to work at. But in reality, a good salesperson works very hard at being natural. They are constantly developing their ability to read people, their storytelling and conversational habits, and how they interact with others.

A natural-born salesperson isn’t pushy. They are confident and have a lot of enthusiasm, but they aren’t aggressive when getting people to listen to them.

A skilled, natural-born salesperson has traits that include:

  • Conscientiousness: Top salespeople carry a strong sense of duty, making them reliable and committed to what they sell.
  • Humility: A humble salesperson gets the support of their team and other company members.
  • Confidence: Good salespeople don’t worry about what others think of them. They are confident and not easily embarrassed.
  • Curiosity: Willing to absorb information and having inquisitiveness improves the salesperson’s knowledge of the book and company they represent.

A salesperson that is likeable and naturally likes people is less likely to be pushy and aggressive to the people they are trying to convince to buy. They are confident with a natural curiosity that prevents them from being brash.

7 Secrets about Non-Pushy Salespeople Revealed

Some people just naturally know how to sell without getting into your face. They seem to be able to gently coax you into a buying decision even before you know what is happening. What is their secret?

I’m about to reveal 7 secrets of a non-pushy salesperson.

Are you ready?

Here they are:

  1. They care about the customer. They care about what the customer thinks, how he feels, and if the product is a good fit for him. They take the time to learn about each customer and what their needs are.
  2. They love the product they are selling. It’s been proven that those who love the product they are selling have an easier time doing so. They talk about the product from a place of caring and genuine like.
  3. Humor is a big part of their sales pitch. Adding a bit of humor to their sales pitch keeps things light between the salesperson and the buyer.
  4. They are great communicators. A salesperson must be able to communicate effectively with others. You have to be on the same wavelength as those you are selling to.
  5. They are a solutionist making effective business decisions. They find all the facts of a situation and learn to make effective business decisions based on that information, making them better at convincing people to listen to you.
  6. They are good conversationalists. A good salesperson knows how to hold a conversation. They ask the right questions and keep the conversation flowing by listening and giving compliments. They speak clearly and with confidence but add in a hint of humor when needed.
  7. They know how to take control of the situation. They are leaders guiding their customers to the desired result.

Potential buyers will often tuck tail and run when they are approached by a pushy salesperson. On the other hand, when a natural salesperson is doing it correctly, the buyer doesn’t even realize they are being sold to.

Don’t worry if you haven’t been blessed with a natural sales ability. We’re going to learn how to develop that next.

Developing Your Natural Sales Ability

There are a few things you need to develop in order to become natural with selling. You won’t have to spend hours in a classroom learning them, though. I’ve rounded up what you need to know right here.

A natural salesperson will use niche specific language. This means you need to become a student of your profession. Listen to others in your niche to really understand the niche. Read top industry blogs and books. Listen to feedback from others and work on changing the weak areas.

Experience and practice are the top way to develop your sales ability. Take your training seriously. Learn from your experiences.

Educate yourself and put into practice what you learn in front of your peers in real-life situations. Make use of e-learning to educate yourself if you are constantly on the go. E-learning allows you to brush up on book knowledge through videos and modules.

Be prepared. Whether you’re selling an idea, a book, your services, or a new project, you have to begin by understanding who your audience is and what they care about. To do that, follow this process:

  • Identify your target audience. Who are you speaking to?
  • Identify what drives your audience. How will your book help them?
  • Identify the language. For example, if it’s a technical audience, use technical language and ideas.
  • Determine what you’re selling. Is it a new feature or a product idea?
  • Distinguish between the features and the benefits. Features are what the product does, for example the new software is fast and easy. Benefits are what it does for your customer. So your new software benefits them by giving them more time to do other tasks.

During the “pitch” connect with your audience by having a conversation. Talk enthusiastically about your book or service. You can do that by:

  • Asking questions and involving your customers.
  • Focusing on helping them instead of selling to them.
  • Paying attention to their body language.

No matter what you're selling, you don’t want to come off as aggressive. That’s why it’s important to develop your natural sales ability. Developing your own conversational style and asking questions will help you appear more natural.

Tips for Selling Naturally When You Hate Selling

All right, then. So, you know that if you aren’t a natural-born salesperson you can develop the skills, even if you hate selling. The most effective salespeople are the ones who aren’t focused on making a sale.

And with practice, it will come more naturally.

What else do you need so you can have good salesmanship skill? Here are some tips to help you:

  • Don’t focus on making the sale. Instead, focus on the people. People can tell if you care about them. It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing an in-person pitch, doing video, or writing a sales letter, your potential customer is watching to see where your loyalties are. When they see that you care more about your book or service than you do them, they immediately stop trusting you.
  • Stop trying so hard to make the sale. Forget about the money you’ll make if they buy, or your sales goal, or your own objectives for the time being. Instead, focus on helping your customer. It’s important that you be honest and show you care about them. Tell them the truth, no matter how it affects your bottom line.
  • For the first few minutes, listen to your customers. This way you can learn what their needs are before you even mention what you’re selling. People will be more likely to buy from you because you’ve built trust with them.
  • Throw away the yellow highlighter and big red headlines. They turn most people off. Instead, try teaching them. Get them on your email list. Begin giving them something for free. Give them free reports and interviews showing the results others got from your books. Once you’ve built a relationship, then you can begin selling.
  • Don’t get lost after the sale. Be available with great customer service after you make the sale.
  • Make your customers feel special. Make them feel like they are part of an exclusive club. Send hand-written thank-you cards, a special gift for loyal clients, or an exclusive bonus.
  • Share your secrets with them. When you tell people how to do something, you’re building their trust. Figure out which secrets you can share that will boost your authority and bring in more clients.
  • Tell them something they don’t know about your book, service, or company. Early in the conversation, tell them something they didn’t know. This adds value before they buy and shows the salesperson is able to deliver something new to them.
  • Tap into their deeper desires. What is it they truly desire? Survival? More enjoyment of life? Longer life? Freedom from pain, danger, or fear? Social approval? When you sell your book or service, how does it make your clients feel—better, happier, safer, or in control?
  • Tell stories, but be sure to listen as well. Stories help us visualize a specific experience or scene. They can be compelling and entertaining. Sales messages get mixed in without anyone noticing. After a presentation, 63% of attendees remember stories. Only 5% remember statistics. (Source: Dan & Chip Heath)
  • Be lovable or at least likable. Get rid of clichéd stock photographs and use images of real people. Add your signature to your sales copy. Forget the flashy words and the gibberish. Be yourself.
  • Raise objections before your customer does. Be brave during the sales pitch, and raise any objections the customer might have first.
  • Be willing to offer options. Don’t just offer a yes/no option. Instead offer three options for them to choose from. This gives the salesperson and the customer the chance to choose something they can both be happy with.

If you follow these tips for being a natural salesperson, you can see that it’s not that difficult. A lot of it is common sense and being who you really are. It boils down to building relationships and having conversations.

Avoid These Annoying Sales Behaviors

Have you ever sat in a seminar where the speaker constantly talked about himself, bragged, and was just downright aggressive in his pursuit of the sale? Didn’t it make you feel dirty? Good salespeople want to avoid annoying sales behaviors if they want to get the sale.

  • Not listening. This annoying behavior is a stereotypical no-no in sales. Incessant talking and focusing only on your own needs. Listen to your client and what they need and want.
  • Good salespeople don’t lie. Those that do are often looking to win the sale for the short-term gain.
  • Not knowing your audience. Salespeople need to be able to adapt to any type of personality and buying style. It’s annoying when the salesperson disregards who their audience is and presents a generic sales pitch.
  • Closing on a customer when they aren’t ready is mean. Pushing them to the sale shows that you, the salesperson, are only looking out for yourself.
  • Maybe you think you’re keeping in front of your customer when you call or email without anything new. Instead, you’re keeping in front of them as that annoying salesperson who won’t stop calling. Don’t reach out unless you have something new to share.
  • Know-it-all. A know-it-all can be seen as not caring. Using language that subconsciously makes the prospect feel uninformed or slow can be annoying to the buyer. Words like “obviously,” “evidently,” “clearly,” “without a doubt,” and “you should” can make the client feel dumb or being told what to do. Change one small word to change the tone of the conversation.
  • Talking jargon. This is almost as bad as being a know-it-all. You do want to know your niche and industry, but talking over your prospect’s head with techno babble is a quick way to lose them.
  • Not taking “no” for an answer. Being disrespectful in their persistence when the client has already said no. Calling over and over again, or sending harassing emails after the salesperson has already gotten a hard no crosses the line to inappropriate behavior.
  • Not paying attention and not answering direct questions. Some salespeople ignore direct questions or simply don’t pay attention to what the customer is asking. Salespeople focus on the benefits instead of the price, but when a customer asks about something, you should answer in a diplomatic way.
  • This is one of the most annoying behaviors, not only in salespeople, but among just about anyone. Salespeople who interrupt customers when they are talking often come off as pushy and not caring about what the client wants.
  • Being too pushy or aggressive. There are some people who do respond well to aggressive sales tactics, but most don’t. Being assertive and action-oriented is fine, but being aggressive or pushy is another thing.
  • Being inauthentic and not caring about the client or the book. Customers sense either when someone cares about making them happy or when they don’t care.
  • Being forgetful. Forgetting their names or some important benefit of the book you’re selling can be a turn-off to many prospects.
  • Asking leading questions or open-ended questions. No one wants to talk about the weather for 30 minutes. Ask questions that are grounded in things you know about the person you’re attempting to sell to.
  • Asking the same question over and over again. The prospect has already answered the question. Try rephrasing the question or come at it from a different angle.
  • Immediately jumping into your book features. Leading by talking about your book’s features doesn’t let the prospect see the value it brings them or how it will change their business or needs.
  • Using a lot of declarative words or phrases. Telling your customer what they “should” or “have to” or “need to” do comes off as pushy and condescending. Instead, use phrases such as “Others like you have seen success….“

Please, salespeople, if you are guilty of doing any of these annoying behaviors, STOP IT. You’re making prospects crazy and losing sales. Learn what these behaviors are and avoid them. Even a simple change in phrasing can make a big difference.

What You Need to Do Next

We’ve all been victims of the aggressive, pushy salesman who won’t shut up and doesn’t take no for an answer. Anyone who’s been on the receiving end of a bad sales call knows how painful and annoying they can be.

The awkward pauses, the poorly-phrased questions, the wrong names, and the flustered behavior are tough for everyone involved. Throw in a pushy, overly aggressive manner and the client becomes annoyed and frustrated.

As you’ve seen throughout this post, you can sell without being pushy and selling your soul.

Let’s recap a few of the ways, shall we?

Begin by making your customers feel special. Give them an exclusive bonus. Send them handwritten thank-you cards. Or put them on a waiting list to work with you.

Don’t be afraid to share some of your secrets. When you tell people how to do something, you aren’t damaging your position. Instead you’re building your authority and trust.

Your book should make your client feel safer, happier, or more in control. Make your books more desirable to your prospects. Tap into one of the 8 basic human desires:

  1. Survival, enjoyment of life, life extension
  2. Enjoyment of food and beverages
  3. Freedom from fear, pain, and danger
  4. Sexual companionship
  5. Comfortable living conditions
  6. To be superior, winning, keeping up with the Joneses
  7. Care and protection of loved ones
  8. Social approval

Tell stories to visualize a specific scene or an experience. Facts tell—stories sell. Stories are entertaining, making it easier to fit the sales message in. You can tell your facts within a story.

Want to know the real secret to successful salespeople? They align their selling techniques with the natural laws of selling. In other words, they use both learned and natural skills.

They use a natural conversational style, humor, and being approachable in their tool kit. They leave the aggressive, pushy, “I-won’t-take-no-for-an-answer” attitude out of the sales pitch.