My ‘No Sales Pitch’ Approach to Selling


My ‘No Sales Pitch’ Approach to Selling

Like many Small Business owners, I dislike the word ‘sales’.

I know we’re not meant to admit that, but it’s true. I started my Small Business so I could spend my time working on awesome books, not so I could be a salesperson.

But, we have to do it … or do we? Over the last few years, I’ve developed a ‘no sales pitch’ approach to sales. It’s evolved slowly, partly by seeing what was working and partly as a deliberate choice to set us apart from other businesses.

The ‘no sales pitch’ sales pitch. 

The key point in our sales funnel is what we call our 30-Minute Discovery Call. Potential clients book this call on our website, so I know when I talk to them that they’ve most likely had a look around our site and so have some idea of what to expect during the call. And most of our clients come from word-of-mouth referrals, so many of them come into the call with a positive view of our business.

So, rather than feeling like I have to throw myself head first into a full-blown sales pitch, I started taking a different approach and just turn it into a conversation.

Here’s how it works:

  • Be 100% honest with your potential client.

Not 99%, 100%. Even if it costs you a sale; because over time, being trustworthy will gain you many more sales.

  • Listen to your potential client.

 Just as important as you giving them information is them giving you information so that you can provide them with genuinely helpful advice for their individual situation.

  • Be generous. 

I don’t hold anything back during a call on the basis that this person hasn’t yet signed up with us. Having this attitude will encourage the person to sign up with you, as they will get an idea of how knowledgeable and helpful you are.

  • Don’t try to sell your potential client anything they don’t really need.

I know I could easily upsell potential clients; for example, when we discuss print runs, I could easily tell an author I think they need 500 books rather than 200, just to try to put a bit more money in my bank account. The person on the other end of the phone trusts me because I’m the expert. But, the reason the person on the other end of the phone trusts me is that I don’t sell people stuff they don’t need. While you might get away with this a few times, if it’s part of your approach to business to try to upsell people unnecessarily, that trust will disappear, rapidly.

  • Finish the discussion by encouraging them to contact you with any more questions they have. 

I always tell people they can call or email with any more queries. Give them no reason at all to contact one of your competitors.

  • Make sure they end the discussion knowing what the next step is. 

I always end a call by briefly summarising the key points of the call and then clearly stating what’s next. For example, “Send me your manuscript tomorrow, and I’ll have a quote back to you within 48 hours.”

  • Follow up the discussion with an email. 

I have a standard email I send immediately after every discussion, and I customise it to reflect each individual conversation with each author. Again, it’s not sales info; it’s just a summary of us and our services and the conversation.

How does this work for us? Brilliantly! Authors often tell me that the Discovery Call was very important in them deciding to sign up with us. So, try this with your next sales conversation.

Rather than being desperate to get somebody to sign on the dotted line, simply be honest, friendly, and helpful. You’ll be surprised how often this will lead to signing up a new client.

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  • Rosemary

    I can attest that this really worked for me. I had never felt less sold to, yet more committed to buy your services. But here’s the thing – years after the launch of my book with the help of you and your team I can STILL call you at any time to ask for information or guidance, and there is no question that I recommend you to others. All. the time. Because NOT being sold to, yet being so satisfied with what I’ve paid for, is surely the biggest win-win in the book. ‘Scuse the pun.

  • Renee Hasseldine

    Thanks for this Michael. I 100% agree with all of the above. And listening is so crucial. I find the moment I feel like I’m put on the spot to “pitch”, I lose my train of thought and get nervous. But if I listen to the client and their problems, then I dropped back into authenticity and everything flows.

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