I’m not a sales trainer. I’m not even an expert in sales. So what makes me qualified to talk to you about sales?

Well, for one thing, I’ve come a long way: I used to hate everything to do with selling. I regularly declared myself terrible at it. The very term, “sales”, sounded sleazy to me. But today, I can hold my own in sales situations, which I’ve come to almost enjoy.

The difference, I’ve realized, has nothing to do with any skills I’ve picked up along the way. The difference, as silly as it sounds, came from a shift in mindset. If selling makes you uncomfortable, I’m hoping to offer you a new perspective that will help you sell with confidence.

My early experiences with sales

There was a time when I would have avoided any type of sales situation at all costs.

My “allergy” to sales began when I was only 16 years old and I got my first summer job working at a clothing store. The manager required us to pounce on shoppers the second they entered the store. We were trained to use a series of sales techniques, which felt manipulative and deceptive, in order to sell them as much merchandise as possible.

I felt like a predator, and I didn’t like it.

My suspicion of sales persisted for years. Over the course of my career, I turned down several lucrative job offers simply because they touched on sales.

Common misconceptions around selling

The reason that selling used to feel smarmy to me was that I had several misguided notions about what selling is. Here are a few common myths around selling that you may have bought into.

Myth: You have to have “the gift of the gab”.
Reality: You have to be a great listener. (More on this later.)

Myth: You have to be willing to mislead or exaggerate.
Reality: You have to be open and transparent, in order to build a long-term relationship that is rooted in trust.

Myth: You have to be pushy and pressure people into buying things that may not be right for them.
Reality: There’s no reason to pressure when you focus on the needs of your customers.

Myth: Selling is manipulative.
Reality: Done right, selling is helping.