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Posted: July 12, 2011

Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be salespeople

Why are so many biz owners in denial?

Liz Wendling

I do not know about you but, when I was young, I do not recall hearing anyone say they wanted to be a salesperson when asked the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

I heard ballerina, fireman, baseball player, doctor and astronaut, but never salesperson. To this day I still talk to business owners who refuse to admit that they are in sales. But at the end of the day, we are all selling something. We are all in sales on some level.

It amazes me when business owners tell me they do not have to sell, do not like to sell or do not want to sell. Like the whole sales thing is completely beneath them. I guess they do not like going to the bank either.

Let's cut to the chase. You dedicated many years honing your technical skills to be a competent professional in your chosen field and now you need to be able to sell you, your services and capabilities as well. In today's marketplace, your selling capability is not a "nice-to-have," it is a "must have."

If you cannot admit and embrace the fact that you are in sales and selling something, how can you expect your customers to? It is not a secret that you charge a fee for what you do, and unless people are throwing money at you to get you to work with them, you must sell. You are not fooling anyone pretending you are "not" in sales. If you want customers to buy what you are selling you need to buy the fact that you are.

Sales are not as loathsome as you think. Having an aversion to selling is just an excuse for people who refuse to learn a new skill. Sales skills are critical to keeping a business alive. Sales are like exercise - many dislike it but if they want to stay healthy and alive they know they just have to do it. Sadly, negative and limiting beliefs about selling are a significant issue for many people, but they are issues that can be overcome with coaching, clarity and persistence.

Many people have a negative attitude toward selling, treating it like a bad word and covering their mouths when it slips out. They have created a mental picture of what they think selling is or what selling was.

If you set yourself up as a person who is against selling something, you will create a really difficult environment to succeed in. If you focus your attention on "not being a salesperson," your results will reflect that and you will become very ineffective at selling your product or service.

Stop fighting and choose to accept the fact that everything in life is sales. Take the time to learn how to sell, to learn how the psychology of sales works and to learn why people buy. Take proactive control over your destiny by getting out there and promoting your business and your capabilities so others will benefit. Even just knowing the basics of selling will give you an advantage. Without the basics you are using the "winging it" sales approach and that approach will never work in any economy.

Most business owners do not start a business so they can sell all day. They start a business because they have a great product or service, a talent, skill, passion or idea. Many of them would rather do anything else in their business than sell. But avoiding sales and sales-related activities will take you and your business down.

To be successful and have a thriving business you must sell but you also need to admit you sell. These day's companies can no longer rely on a few good salespeople to hunt, kill and keep an entire business fat and happy. Everyone involved in any business must become involved in growing that business.

Selling is not about convincing someone to buy something they do not need. It is about helping them find solutions to their needs when they realize they do not have the expertise to do it themselves. Remind yourself often that selling is not a necessary evil. It is a part of being a well-rounded and successful professional. Bottom line: If you can't sell, you can't grow your business.

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Liz Wendling is the president of Insight Business Consultants, a nationally recognized business consultant, sales strategist and emotional intelligence coach. Liz is driven by her passion for business and generating results for her clients. Liz understands the challenges that business owners are facing building a business and selling their professional services in today's market.

Liz shows clients how to tap into and use their innate strength, power and confidence to develop highly successful businesses. She teaches them to create effective, dynamic and fluid client conversations that turn interested prospects into invested clients who keep coming back.

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Readers Respond

Liz, you're spot on. As you know (since I have referred entrepreneurs to you) when early stage entrepreneurs seek my counsel on how to become a high-performing entrepreneur and/or how to build a high-performance business, I often refer them for sales training as their first step. Once they have a sales system, then they often need to refine their beliefs about sales. You said it well, selling is helping someone, or an organization solve a problem. The rewards for truly selling from this mindset are not only financial, but also emotional and spiritual. By TC North on 2011 07 16
what better salesman than the boss. Also, everyone who works for a business is a salesman, but the boss takes the lead in providing information and technique. The bottom line is that sales is education. You're teaching a potential customer about what you provide By John on 2011 07 13
Great article. Selling comes in many forms and not only are you considered selling when you sell a product. Convincing a person about something can be one form of selling and many others as well. I hope everybody can read this so we can all have our eyes opened. By chrisrwilliams on 2011 07 13

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