3 reasons why people think they can’t sell

Somebody said this to me a few days ago…

“I can’t sell.  I don’t have the talent.”

Every single thing or service you enjoy or depend on, was sold by somebody. Products and services do not spontaneously materialize at your door. Every stretch of the supply chain for every product, virtual or not, needs to be sold by somebody. Even if you’re buying fake cows on Farmville, somebody sold that to you. It just seemed like free-will.

And what’s awesome is that anybody can have a prosperous selling career if they can get over themselves.

Here are 3 things I hear when somebody tells me ‘They can’t sell.’



“The Board can wait.  I’ve got fake sheep to shear.”

1.  “I can’t sell.” 

What you mean to say is “I feel bad asking people for money.”  

First of all, you’re not asking for money just because you look hot (at least I can’t).  You’re asking for payment in return for services. Think about the last time you paid a guy for a job well done. Think about how happy you were to jam cash into his hand, and thank him for his great work. And think about how quick you were to refer him when one of your bros needed the same service. That’s a sale. That’s most good sales. If you’re committed to doing a great job from start to finish, there should be no issues asking someone for cash. I have no problem telling you what I charge because I know I’m going to deliver. Most people who enter sales, especially financial or insurance sales, almost seem like they’re embarrassed to tell people what they do. Dude, sell me some life insurance. I have a big house, a kid in private school and an epic lifestyle to maintain. I, like many other people, need your product. But I’m sure as hell not going to buy from a guy who’s embarrassed of selling something everybody needs. The only time you should feel bad about taking money from someone, is if you don’t plan to deliver anything in return. At that point, you’re not a sales guy – you’re a mugger.

There are a lot of self-hating sales guys out there. You can spot ’em by watching how big of a discount they offer before the customer even asks.

2.  “I can’t sell.”

What you mean to say is “I have no idea where to find customers.”

This is a valid concern because most people have this image of sales people pitching and presenting all day. Any legit sales guy will tell you that 85% of his time is spent trying to find the right guy to pitch to. This is called prospecting and this is what most of us do most of the time. Customers are everywhere and in most cases, it’s not that you don’t know where to find them, it’s that you don’t want to spend the effort to find them.

If I deliver 3 people to you everyday; 3 people who are ‘ready-to-buy’, you’d be rich. And you’d tell me how much you loved selling. And I’d tell you, “Sorry bro, you’re not selling, you’re order taking.”

3.  “I can’t sell.”

What you mean to say is “I’m not persuasive.”  

When I ran my own sales company, one of the key things I taught my guys was to “make shit so obvious that a kid can close it.” If I can present a case so obviously clear that you need to force yourself not to believe me, there’s no persuading going on. Ah, but you say, ‘there’s a gotta be some sort of talent involved in creating a compelling case.’ No man. It’s 95% preparation. 5% showing up. Being persuasive is less about talent and more about planning. It’s knowing how to build a case against yourself, and knowing why someone won’t buy. Only when you know why they won’t buy do you create a case for why they must buy. Being persuasive is addressing concerns before they’re stated because each time you do that, you foster empathy, as in “man, that guy’s reading my mind.” And finally, being persuasive is knowing when to shut-up and understanding that it’s the customer’s job to say ‘no’. If the customer isn’t raising barriers, don’t raise them yourself.

So when you tell me that you can’t sell because you’re not persuasive, what I’m hearing is you telling me ‘you don’t know how to prepare or want to spend the time to prepare.’

Selling is the only business function that brings in revenue to support everybody else. Selling is the only reason there is an economy. Selling is the only reason there are jobs. Absolutely nothing happens until somebody sells something.

And when you realize that it’s attitude, not aptitude that separates the guys who love to sell and guys who never will, you’ll realize that guys who can sell, will always have people asking them to play.