We are the change

My name is Tamsin, and I’m a Sales-Phobic…

…there, I said it! I’ve now revealed one of my deep-seated fears.

Are you a sales-phobic too? If so, you want to keep reading because I’m going to tell you exactly how I out-wit my sales-phobia to make good sales despite my fear.

5 ways to over-come your sales-phobia

1. Reframe – it’s about relationship building

Jo James of AmberLife taught me this (check out her weekly email: Make Your Mondays Matter).

Sales are scary because we have the wrong idea about them. Good sales doesn’t mean being pushy or uncaring – good sales means developing a positive relationship with your potential purchaser, and being around to help them out.

When they want to buy, or have a need for your product/service, you will be in their mind as the person to go to. They are also more likely to refer you to others as well.

Yes, this can be a longer-term tactic than aggressive cold-calling, but it’s a more pleasant one for you too!


2. Sell in stages to prevent panic

If the very idea of selling makes you come out in a rash and feel a bit light-headed, then you need to take a step back and look at your sales process as a series of small ‘sells’.

What that means is that you sell your potential purchaser in stages, and the first stages may not include money at all! (doesn’t that sound nice?).

For example:

Instead of going to your next networking event with the idea that you want to sell your product/service to the people that you meet there, think about the first stage in building a relationship with them. You want to sell them on you as a person first. So, your initial objective is to start a conversation, and swap cards. That’s one little ‘sell’. Then you want to sell them on keeping in touch via social media or your newsletter. That’s sell number two. And so on…

Soon, you’ll be up to actually talking products and prices , but it won’t have been so scary getting there.


3. Avoid discounting with a lower-priced offer

Do you get asked for discounts? Do you feel obliged to give them? Yeah, me too – until I figured out a way around this.

My answer was to have two different products or services that I could present at one time: my ‘main’ more pricey product, and my ‘entry level’, lower priced product.

So, what would happen is that when my potential purchaser says ‘could you do me a discount?’, the answer is ‘well, if this is too costly for you, have a look at this instead’ (and then I’d tell them about my entry level product.

This took the pressure off me, and allowed my potential purchaser to make their own choice. If they really truly wanted the more expensive option, they would decide to spend the money.


4. Follow up, follow up, follow up – in a nice way

A tiny, tiny, TINY proportion of sales are made on the first contact with a purchaser (about 3%). In fact it’s often the 5th, 6th, or 7th contact when a person will buy.

This means you really need to follow up with people.

Contrary to popular belief, following up does not mean continually calling someone until they give up and buy your stuff in order to make you go away. What it actually means is a number of ‘touches’, which can be in different forms.

For example, you could use this as your follow up process from an in-person meeting:

  • Send a ‘nice to meet you’ email after meeting up at a networking event.
  • Make an arrangement to speak on the phone and see what you have in common.
  • Ask them if they’d like to be on your mailing list (give them a good reason why).
  • They get your newsletter (I recommend using Constant Contact).
  • You send them a useful link or article that you think they’ll appreciate.
  • Invite them to an event that you’re planning to attend.
  • Help them solve a problem (potentially with your product/service!).


5. Give things away – in the right way

A lot of people I speak to are afraid of giving away their knowledge, because they feel that this will mean that their target clients won’t pay them for their skills if they have already been told how to do it.

I have some news for you: people who want to DIY their whole business will never buy your stuff, so you have nothing to lose by sharing your top tips with them. However, people who would pay you for your work, don’t want to do everything themselves anyway, so they have more confidence in you and what you do, and are more likely to buy.

The secret to giving things away though is to give away little bite-sized pieces of information, in a way that doesn’t take you too much time. Don’t get stuck in giving away lots of consultancy or products, that’s not the best use of your time or money.


So that’s my top 5 tips on getting over sales-phobia – what are yours?
I’d love to find out in the comments below, and I always read and reply.

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  1. Freelancer says

    Very effective, imo. I haven’t thought of keeping 2 different products. Very stupid of me, as in the real life market, where I work, it seems to be a nessecity.

    1. Tam says

      Yes – that 2 products thing made a HUGE difference to me in my business (and to my mindset about sales!).

  2. ZeeShan Afzal says

    Very Nice Article and Specially, I loved ” Follow-up, Follow-up”
    keep it up.

    1. Tam says

      Following up is so SO key. It’s really the line between success and failure when it comes to sales.

  3. […] shares 5 great ideas  for taking the pain out of making sales in her new article  for Women […]

  4. Sophie says

    Great article. I am a sales-phobic myself. I started wit the “reframing” concept; indeed, my style of selling is to develop the relationship to the point that people will call me when they ave a problem in my field. I really like the idea of selling in stage (for example, starting by exchanging people’s business cards at a networking events). It feels much more achievable and takes a lot of pressure off! Thanks.

    1. Tamsin Fox-Davies says

      Hi Sophie,

      Maybe we should form a support group!? 😉

      I love that your contacts ‘think of you first’ when they have a need in your field. I think that shows you are really living and breathing your work.

      Take care,


  5. Karen Haller says

    Great article Tamsin. I especially like your selling in stages. I like the phrase when it comes to selling that it’s better to be farmer than an hunter.

    It’s about building relationships and trust. When you feel they can solve your pain then you are more likely to buy from them.

    1. Tamsin Fox-Davies says

      As a vegetarian, the farming Vs hunting idea really appeals to me.

      Love your comment!


  6. Wendy Kerr says

    Great article – and I love the reframe and selling in stages.
    I talk about the Know – Like – Trust then BUY model of marketing, and if you think of the sales process as a natural continuation of this, it helps take the fear away, as your prospect, ideally, will be warmed up and ready to convert!

    1. Tamsin Fox-Davies says

      Absolutely Wendy – the trust factor is so important, and has to be developed in order to sell.

      Of course, depending on what your product/service does, and how much it costs, you might need a little bit of trust or a lot. It’s important to know your clients’ trust threshold so you can tailor your sales process appropriately.

  7. Darshana says

    Gr8 article Tamsin !
    I love heading the sales team in LyncMeUp.com as I wake up everyday knowing there is a business out there which needs our help to spread the word about their product/service and doesn’t have upfront cash for it..
    Your article resonates with my ideas around sales.. there’s a give an take in all relationships.. its the key to sales is to do it with your heart, enjoy the process and see how you can constantly add value to others..you’ve summed it well ..

    1. Tamsin Fox-Davies says

      Thank you Darshana.

      I love your phrase ‘do it with your heart’ – it’s always going to be the best way!


  8. Keren Lerner says

    This is so true, Tamsin, and thanks for putting it down so clearly. In fact, people who are formally trained “sales people” aren’t really as good at sales as we folks who own and are in love with our businesses, are totally committed to giving the best service ever, and 100% sure that our service and advice will help improve our clients lives! I know who I would rather buy from.

    1. Tamsin Fox-Davies says

      You’re right Keren – I love working with people who really love their products/services, as they really do take better care of their customers (i.e. Me!).