Sometimes we can all use a friendly reminder to keep us from backsliding into old ways of thinking about selling that lead us down the wrong path with potential clients. I’m talking about the traditional sales thinking taught by old-school sales “gurus”. The kind that says “Always be closing”, “Think positive, and you’ll overcome all your cold-calling fears” and “All you need to boost your sales is a few new sales techniques.” But all these out-dated sales messages fail to address the core issue of how we think about selling. And unless we get to that core, and change it once and for all, we’ll go on struggling with the same counterproductive sales behaviours. We’ll go on experiencing the same difﬁculties and frustrations. And we’ll continue to believe that we’re always just one new sales technique away from the breakthrough we’re looking for. What really needs to change is the way we think about selling that releases the pressure from the sales process – so your prospects feel comfortable buying from you. It’s a process that I call “Unlock the Game” and one that I discovered seven years ago. 1. Stop the sales pitch and start a conversation When you call someone, avoid making a mini-presentation about yourself, your company, and what you have to offer. Start with an opening conversational phrase that focuses on a speciﬁc problem that your product or service solves. If you don’t know what this is, ask your current customers why they purchased your solution. One example of an opening phrase might be, “I’m just calling to see if you’d be open to some different ideas related to lowering the risk of any computer downtime you may be having in your company?” Notice that you are not pitching your solution with this opening phrase… 2. Your main goal is to discover whether you and your potential client are a good fit Let go of trying to “close the sale” or “get the appointment” and you’ll discover that you don’t have to take responsibility for moving the sales process forward. If you simply focus your conversation on problems that you can help potential clients solve, and if you don’t jump the gun by trying to move the sales process forward, you’ll find that potential clients will actually bring you into their buying process. 3. When you lose a sale, it’s usually right at the beginning of the sales process If you believe that you lose sales because you make a mistake at the end of the process, take a look back at how you began the relationship. Did you start with a presentation? Did you use traditional sales language like, “We have a solution that I believe you really need” or “Others in your industry have bought our solution, so you should consider it as well”? When you use traditional sales language, potential clients can’t help but label you with the negative stereotype of “salesperson”. This makes it almost impossible for them to relate to you from a position of trust. And if trust isn’t established at the outset, honest communication about the problems they’re trying to solve, and how you might be able to help them, becomes impossible too. 4. Sales pressure is the only cause of rejection Rejection should never happen Rejection happens for only one reason: something you said, as subtle as it might have been, triggered a defensive reaction from your potential client. To eliminate rejection, simply shift your mindset so that you give up the hidden agenda of hoping to make a sale. Instead, everything you say and do should stem from the basic mindset that you are there to help potential clients. This makes you able to ask, “Would you be open to talking about issues you might be having affecting your business?” 5. Never chase a potential client: you’ll only trigger more sales pressure “Chasing” potential clients has always been considered normal and necessary, but it’s rooted in the macho selling image that, “If you don’t keep chasing, it means you’re giving up – and that means you’re a failure.” This is all wrong! Instead of chasing potential clients, tell them that you’d like to avoid anything that resembles the old cat- and-mouse chasing game by scheduling a time for your next chat.