Nearly every accountant, lawyer or other professional I know dislikes selling and hates the idea of sounding “salesy”. As a result they often don’t sell as much as they might otherwise do, and may even sound more “salesy”! If you hate sales techniques, want to sell more whilst seeming like a real human being, read on…

Couple holding hands, is being human a sales technique?

When I brought an engagement ring

I wanted to buy an engagement ring (and believe me, that’s not easy for us blokes), I went into five shops. Each time, they asked what they should be looking out for.

I got asked some (technically) very good questions (taste, styles, uses and price range). Some sellers imparted useful knowledge (buyers like to feel they’ve learned something useful). Sometimes “the close” was good, sometimes not – but in each case I turned them down (directly or by saying “I’ll think about it”) and despondently left the store.

I learnt some great stuff, and saw a great range of rings – but didn’t feel like a human being. I’ve seen similar happen to buyers of professional services, haven’t you?

What’s your natural reaction?

Forget trying to sell for a moment, think about your friends. What’s your natural reaction, if somebody told you:

  • they were about to get engaged
  • they’re about to get divorced
  • they’re about to start a new company, won a new contract…
  • they have a financial problem, need legal help over an issue, has just had a fantastic year and wants to invest the proceeds carefully….

I suspect that you’d react with congratulations, or relevant commiseration statement.  That statement (and meaning it) helps you be human and make a connection.

In the last shop, the first words I heard on saying I was looking for an engagement ring were “congratulations”. I felt totally different, the rest of the sales script felt warm and helpful, rather than fake and scripted.

Why do professionals often sound salesy?

The pressure to do something we don’t like doing often means we try to avoid the situation. Then, faced with a need to increase the portfolio, they read about sales techniques or clever questions.

The result, for many, is that their humanity gets subsumed and clever questions take over. Resulting in a more salesy conversation!

Great professionals have discussions by connecting as a human being and convert more clients as a result (did you read “Exposing yourself when selling: Why and how).

The sales script

Many professionals use some form of script (good – within reason). A script is a framework, allowing you to be flexible, yet ensuring you ask the important things. For example, what are the:

  • most common questions your prospects have, even though they don’t realise they have them?
  • things your clients wanted to ask before signing up, but didn’t feel confident enough to ask?

Download our free guide to creating your personalised sales process, , it's free and waiting for you to download right nowClick here for instant access (email address required).

Damned if you do and damned if you don’t

If you use a sales script, you run the risk of sounding pre-planned, salesy and not authentic.
If you don’t use a script, you run the risk of missing out on vital information. Often good questions help clinch the deal.
I’m sure you have seen fellow professionals (if not yourself) fall into one of these traps. What’s to be done?

Being authentic

I hate being told to “be authentic”, it’s become a buzzword lately, without clear meaning. I guess if it’s anything, it’s about being human, being yourself and opening up some a of your personality to the other potential client. That may sound uncomfortable, but it’s something most buyers crave.

What can you do to show some humanity and help your potential clients see you are human?

Written by Jon Baker The 5-50 Coach. I help professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably, profitably and still have fun. Have you got your "next step kitbag yet"? It's stuffed with guides, reports & templates helping you grow from 5 to 50 employees Click here for immediate access

Download our free guide to creating your personalised sales process, , it's free and waiting for you to download right nowClick here for instant access (email address required).

Holding hands, engaged Photo used under creative commons licence. For more information, click here.