How to overcome your fear of coming across as a “sleazy car salesman” if you never done sales

Almost every entrepreneur I talk to has a fear of coming across as pushy or sleazy when they first start their business, with the exception of the ones that worked in sales in their corporate lives.

Most of us experience what I call  fear of coming across as a “sleazy car salesman” when first start out.

Let’s face it, overcoming a fear of sales is something we all have to do. Being able to persuade potential clients to work with us is key to the financial health of our business. If we give into fear, our business many never become a business, but simply an expensive hobby.

After acknowledging that mastering the sales process was a must in order to be a profitable entrepreneur, I started to shift my attention away from marketing towards learning how to actually close a sale.

Here is what I learned:

1. Be generous about sharing your content

The best way to get people to know and like you is to give them answers to their problems. I see too many people holding back information and this will turn off a potential client in a heart beat. It takes people 7 touch points to have them buy from you, make sure you share content that they actually want. Use social media to share your wisdom. Blog, join Facebook groups, publish articles on LinkedIn. This is how you attract leads.

2. When on a sales call….listen more, talk less

The best way to sell to your client is to find out what they actually need. Spend at least 85% of your time on the call listening to the client – not talking about yourself or your products.

Ask them questions, find out what keeps them up at night. This will help you get a sense for how to create products for them that will genuinely help them. Make sure you are actually selling something they want, not something you think they might need.

3. Don’t call it a sales call, call it an interview 

I treat any potential client as an interviewee. I come from a journalism background so this kind of reframing works for me. I don’t take on just any client, so it is important that the person I talk to is the right fit. So when I do speak with potentials, I make sure they fit my ideal client profile. This puts me in a position to really ask questions to find out if we are a right match.

4. Never assume you know what they need

Mimic their way of saying things. For instance, if a client says “I have a hard time not eating desert,”ask “why do you have a hard time not eating deserts,” instead of “why is it difficult for you to resists easting deserts?” this is part of active listening.

5. Check your vibe

Before you start a call with someone, check your mental state. So much of our communication is body language, even if it is through the phone. Make sure you are in a position and headspace to have a nice conversation.  If not, the potential client will feel it on the other end. If you go in feeling scared, nervous or desperate this will come across.

6. Lean back

If you see yourself going into nervous or desperate mode, physically lean back.  This will help you to relax.  Having a relaxed conversation is always more comfortable for everyone involved.

7.  Ask what is stopping you

This is such an important question to ask during the call when the client feels stuck.  You need to find out what is stopping them from achieving what they want.

8.  Be okay with silence 

Again, take time to stop talking during the call.  Be okay with being the second one to speak.  If your potential client takes time to answer, just let him. You will be in a better position to help them when you know what they are thinking.

9. Don’t be afraid to say no to a client

The worse thing you can do is take on a client you can’t genuinely help or you feel that working with them will be a nightmare.  If you sense the person is not a good fit, either say so or send them to someone who you think would be a better match.

Please let me know if you found this helpful, send me an email on

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