If you’re a coach, you’ve probably felt some initial aversion to the idea of “sales”, or of “selling” yourself and your services to others. It goes against your very nature as a coach, as someone who wants to help, inspire, motivate, and uplift others.
I know this because I’ve felt it, too.
Now, there’s a variety of reasons why coaches typically hate sales, and it’s probably a little bit different for everyone. But I think I’ve boiled it down into the three major reasons that I’ve seen affect people most often. That’s what we’ll get into in this blog.
Reason #1: Sales feels manipulative.
Our experience with sales throughout our lives is often that it feels inherently deceptive. We see deception all the time in advertising and marketing – companies shove products in our faces constantly, saying buy this, it’ll do that, it’ll change this, it’ll make you feel better.
We see the exact same thing with a lot of coaches. They say things like, “Work with me, buy my programs, and I’ll change your life. I promise you’ll never be the same.” They all but guarantee life-changing results, if only you give them some money and the next five Saturdays of your life.
I teach sales in a way that’s honest. And it’s actually quite simple: if you don’t like when sales are deceptive, then don’t be deceptive.
Be honest. Be upfront. Let people know your intentions.
If you’re in a coaching call, tell your client that at the end of the call, you’d like to open up the possibility of working further together. Ask if they’re open to that.
If they are, then that’s great! If they aren’t open to anything further, then when you get to the end of your coaching, simply wrap up the call by thanking them for joining you and asking what they thought of the session.
Some questions you can ask at the end of a session that are not deceptive sound like:
- What’s next for us?
- What do you see happening next for you in your business, or in your life?
- Do you think you’d benefit from a different type of coaching, or something more long-term?
- What went well for you in this session?
- Did you get anything out of this?
If you’re open and honest from the beginning, then simply asking questions will never be deceptive. You’re simply determining where to go from this point, and it’s a great way to make honest sales by converting people who actually want to be converted.
Reason #2: People associate sales with pressure
As I’m sure you know, pressure doesn’t make people buy. It can make people uncomfortable, and may in some cases make people cave, but more often than not, pressure gets salespeople nowhere because it doesn’t feel good to be pressured.
But pressure truly isn’t required to make a sale. What is required is tension.
Think about this: when someone proposes, down on one knee with an engagement ring, there’s inherent tension in that moment that propels the moment forward. It’s a yes or no question, and the decision needs to be made at that moment.
Tension naturally happens anytime we make a commitment.
So as a coach, when you’re supporting someone in the decision to make a commitment, you need to learn how to cultivate tension rather than pressure.
The difference between these two feelings is that pressure is external, whereas tension is a natural internal feeling. It will come up by itself, during moments of contemplation around potential commitment. So let it sit there, let it be, and don’t try to change it. The tension will influence their decision in exactly the right way, and as long as you’ve provided all the information you have, then the ultimate decision made will be the right one.
Reason #3: You feel like you lose your humanity.
Salespeople often treat potential clients like a sale instead of a person. We see this all the time when people are selling to us – we feel like we’re just a cog in the wheel of the salesperson’s process, and they don’t care about us as people at all.
What we have to recognize is that, as coaches, we fall victim to the same thing. When you first start trying to market yourself and sell yourself to potential clients, you’re often going to be freaked out about having to learn the sales process, because it feels so unnatural.
At some point along the way, when trying to figure out this whole sales machine, you stop being a human being yourself. You become the mechanical salesperson, focusing on the end goal instead of just working with people and talking about their commitment and their goals.
This transition must be recognized early and avoided at all costs. If you want your clients to experience sales as a powerful, transformative process, you can’t treat them like a sale. You have to treat them as a person.
That involves you, being a person, acknowledging and engaging in the difficulty of saying: “if you want to do this, I need you to pay this because that’s what the commitment requires.” You have to be able to say, I know you’re scared, but let’s talk about it. I can’t guarantee results, but I believe in you, so how can I help you make this commitment while knowing that results are not guaranteed?
Transform your own relationship to sales
If you think about the things that normally make people avoid sales, you can see that the opportunity is there to transform your relationship to pressure and sales. You don’t have to dislike it. You can learn instead how to be skillful, persuasive, engaging, and connected.
That’s what’s possible in the realm of sales.
But in order to achieve this, you have to be committed to transforming your own relationship with sales.
The avoiding, dismissive, and limiting attitude towards sales that we see so often is actually incredibly disempowering. It’s time to jettison it and let go.