How to Help your Sales Team Who is Allergic to Selling featured image

How to Help your Sales Team Who is Allergic to Selling

By: Jerry Rutter

~ 4 minute read

Have you ever met a salesperson who’s more interested in you than in making the sale? Sounds paradoxical, right? Yet, these are often the ones who excel in sales without even trying. They’re gifted at persuading others through relationship-building, not pressure sales. But how do you coach someone like this to achieve high performance without making them feel like the proverbial “used car salesman”? This post dives into the intriguing world of coaching a salesperson who doesn’t quite like selling. 

The Natural Salesperson vs. The Reluctant Seller

Some people are born salespeople. They could sell sand in the desert! Then, there’s another group. They’re not about the numbers or the hard sell. Instead, they naturally focus on relationships and genuine interactions. It’s like comparing a pushy car salesman to your friend who excitedly recommends a book they love. How are they so convincing?

What They’re Naturally Good At:

  1. Caring Over Closing: These folks aren’t about the “Always Be Closing” mantra. They care about the person they’re talking to, making their approach incredibly effective.
  2. Genuine Communication: Their authenticity is charming and persuasive, in a gentle kind of way.
  3. Building Relationships: They’re often good listeners and natural connectors, creating customer loyalty that’s worth its weight in gold.

This is the person on your team that wins trust quickly because people can sense their genuine desire to help others. They are described as passionate because they really care about the product and see how it’s helpful, so they naturally evangelize. They’re not pushy, but they get the “yes” even from customers who weren’t initially interested because they are so trustworthy and great at listening. These team members have conviction, knowing they’re being helpful and confident that their offering will benefit the customer. 

Pivoting the Mindset: From Selling to Helping

Here’s the twist: Some of these relationship-building wizards are actually allergic to the idea of selling. That’s right, the thought of having to sell practically makes them break out in hives. They don’t get jazzed about hitting sales targets or going for the big close. They’re more about helping than selling.

Here’s the Story (of a lovely lady)

Here is an actual example of how this works in the real world from a person we’ll call Jill. During the week, she is a Customer Service Representative for a Phoenix based company. Jill is very caring, calm, and somewhat introspective. She is considered a high performer in her job but, at the time I met with her, was considering leaving her role of six years because her employer recently asked that all Customer Service Representatives start “upselling” during their inbound call interactions. Jill was horrified as she heard the new sales quotas that were placed on her team. Here is where it got interesting: while talking with her about the changes in her role she explained, “don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind selling. Just not like this”.  Jill explained that every other weekend, she also worked part time at the makeup counter of a large department store and that she had the highest sales for that location. Selling more than her full time co-workers! As she explained her part time gig, her face lit up when she described that it’s common to have a “half rainbow” of people around her as she’s helping someone apply different products and that she enjoys helping and educating everyone that comes up to the counter. 

This isn’t an anomaly.  We see it and hear about it all the time here at MindWire.  People who claim they would never “sell” are in fact remarkable sales producers! Jill was considering leaving her Customer Service position because they were making her sell in a way that was uncomfortable for, so that she could spend more time helping people find the right beauty products (which was, ironically, still selling).

How to Coach Your Non-Sales-y Salespeople

So how do you capitalize on what makes the Jills of the world good at selling without making them want to quit? First, you have to be clear about your team members’ natural strengths.  Asking them to be more assertive and to “Always Be Closing” (ABC’s) will actually lower their sales productivity. Instead, have them describe the different ways your products or services are helpful, or have them share stories about how your product or service made a positive impact. Explain that every prospect they talk with likely understands a fraction of what your product/service can do for them. Their goal should be to talk with the prospect, learn what they need, and share the values of the products. This method allows them to be extremely helpful, and they are naturally good at it.

For those on your team who are “allergic” to the idea of selling, but still need to make numbers, you can encourage their natural relationship-building style and also give them skills to help boost their sales, without feeling icky on the inside.

Here are five skills to coach your “non-sales-y” salespeople:

  1. Understand the Value of Products/Services: Engage in product training that will help them understand and believe in the value of what they’re selling. If they don’t understand how the product will help, they’ll be less likely to recommend it to a customer. 
  2. Customized Communication: Equip them with skills to describe the product’s value from a customer’s perspective, while maintaining their authentic communication style.
  3. Transitioning the Conversation: Don’t get stuck gabbing, teach them to move faster from “getting to know you” to “helping” with a few transition phrases such as, “I want to make sure I know how I can help you today” or “I want to make sure I’m spending your time in the most helpful manner”.
  4. Ask Questions to Help More: Explain how to ask deeper questions, which will allow them to focus on understanding what’s important to the customer and be able to recommend products more effectively.
  5. Recognize Different Buying Styles: Show them how to recognize when a buyer appreciates a more direct approach and how to adjust their style to be more direct in those moments. Adapting to the customer’s communication style will build trust in a different way. 

Focus on Their Superpower 

Coaching a salesperson who doesn’t like selling isn’t about changing who they are. It’s about leveraging their natural strengths – genuine care, relationship building, and a helpful mindset. It’s a leadership challenge, but with trust and the right skills and techniques, you can turn their reluctance into a unique and effective selling style so they can accelerate performance.

Remember, the best salespeople might not even seem like they’re selling. They’re just incredibly good at understanding and helping their customers. And that’s the kind of selling that feels good for everyone involved.

Transform Your Business

Are you ready to systematize skill training so your team members can Influence For Results?

Jerry Rutter

Unique blend of Sales, HR, Kaizen, and improv skills, Jerry excels in building high-performing teams. A family camper and chicken farmer, he's dedicated to making workplaces joyous and effective.