Unless you are a salesperson, a spouse of one, or close friend or relative, you probably do not use the words prestige or respect when describing a sales professional. Me, I find honor in all legal work. However, according to a 2012 report in Scientific Marketing and Advertising, 17 of the 20 least respected occupations involve selling. The authors of this report noted that “No occupation in the top 20 list involves selling.” I would probably argue that even fireman, pharmacist, and Catholic Priest listed in the top 10 are selling safety, medicine, and religion, respectively.
However, the point is clear, most Americans do not respect salespeople; yet, most of us are selling something—product, services, or ideas. I believe it is the term “selling” we find distasteful. Our struggle with this internal conflict—I don’t respect salespeople, yet I am selling something—turns out to be a paradox that appears unsolvable. So what do we do?
We can trick ourselves into using various euphemisms such as “providing a service people need,” or “helping people make good choices,” or “making life better for others,” etc. However, this play with words and meanings isn’t needed and we don’t have to live this double life.
Sell without selling. Simply, change your presentation into an informational talk and ask people to action with a clear cut benefit. This is a soft sell approach I teach “reluctant” salespeople. You need not master a polished sales pitch, or follow a step by step “sales process.” All you have to do is educate, demonstrate, or inform your idea, book, art, service, etc. with clear concrete examples or stories.
Then (this is the important part), at the end of your presentation, simply ask for action with a clear benefit. For example, “I suggest you pick up my book today (this is the action part), because if you do, you will improve your health because you will find exercising fun (this is the benefit part).”
In my experiences, many authors, artists, alternative health care providers, wedding service providers, and other “reluctant salespeople” have found outstanding successes beyond their wildest dreams by using this idea.