Selling: The Elephant In The Room

You have a great idea for an online business. The product or service you have is a wonderful solution for a lot of people out there. Just one thing. You absolutely hate the idea of selling it. Your logical side tells you it won’t sell itself, no matter how good it is (yep!) but your hopeful side thinks just maybe….(nope!). You are afraid, you don’t want to be “salesy”, you’ve invested so much time and effort into this. Now what? How can you solve this conundrum? That, my friends is the “elephant in the room” for a lot of us.

Selling gets a pretty bad rap in our society. I’m not sure why. But like everything else, I suppose part of it is well earned.

  • Loud-mouthed guys in plaid jackets trying to sell you a car you may not want
  • Timeshare “representatives” subjecting you to hours of BS when you took them up on that inexpensive weekend getaway.
  • Late night “infomercials”

Somehow the image of a strong personality “forcing” you to buy something you don’t want has draped over the reputation of sales like a cheap coat.

Maybe we should turn the tables. What you are really interested in is someone buying your product. Not you selling it. Yes?

Often when a newly minted entrepreneur has everything in place except how they are going to get people to buy their product or service the whole dream gets stuck in the mud.

Now what? “Oh crap! I didn’t realize I was going to have to sell!” It is such a good idea people should just flock to it and buy it in droves. Ummm….no.

Sound familiar?

Why don’t we stand back and take a deep breath and see if we can figure this out?

Let me ask you a few questions.

When is the last time you bought something from a pushy person in a plaid sports coat? Do you actually have a timeshare? Is your closet full of purchases from late-night TV?

I’m guessing your answers are “no” but I am also guessing that over the course of the last twelve months you have made a lot of purchases. I am also guessing that someone or something influenced you to make those purchases. I’m also going to guess that very few of them resulted in buyers remorse. Am I right?

So. Let’s think about that.

My last 5 purchases (not making this up LOL) were:

  1. A telescopic pole to use for washing some unreachable windows
  2. A book. “The China Mission”.
  3. Some padded cycling shorts
  4. A tri-tip steak to grill
  5. A replacement case for my iPad

Let me quickly diagnose each purchase (someone else’s sale).

  1. COSTCO. I researched online. Checked reviews. Checked prices and convenience (“pickup in store today!”). Went to the store, bought it and bought some accessories that work with it.
  2. AUDIBLE owned by Amazon. Read the reviews. Tried a sample. Downloaded and started listening immediately.
  3. AMAZON. My butt hurt from riding and I was searching for a solution. My son told me about this kind of product. Looked on Amazon, read reviews and ordered on Prime so I’d get them in 2 days. Wore them this morning and my butt is fine, thank you.
  4. PIAZZAS Market. My store in San Mateo, CA. Went to the butcher. HIM: “Nice tri-tips today.” ME: “Sounds good. Give me a big one! I love the leftovers.”
  5. AMAZON. My old case was great but finally wore out. Why not get the same one if you were so happy with it? I checked reviews of other cases that cost less and decided that I’d get the same one again.

This is an honest list of my last 5 buys and whys. I think there are some lessons in “selling without salesy” there.

First of all, there is a lot of social proof involved in my buying. Testimonials and reviews (in quantity) figure a lot in my buying. Empathy and perspective play a role too. Amazon, Audible and my butcher know my previous purchases and also suggest other things that may go along with what I am currently searching for.

Finally, while cost is always important, none of the five purchases were based on price alone.

Quality, previous experience, and the convenience of purchase were all important factors. Social proof was also very, very high on influencing me.

DO: Take a few minutes and consider how this might apply to your selling. Make a list of three things you can do today to add these traits to your sales process.


About the Author

A serial entrepreneur, Conrad has founded several businesses in his career in such diverse industries Insurance, Healthcare and Internet-based Business Services, (not to mention boyhood lawn mowing in the neighborhood!). In the last two decades, his focus has been on multiplying profits for his businesses using the Internet as a springboard.