This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.


Everyone loves to buy. No one likes to be sold—not you, and not your clients. That’s for good reason, because “selling” gets a deservedly bad rap. Even in the dictionary, the verb “to sell” is linked to imposing, cheating, betrayal, and slavery.


So if you hate selling, that’s good, because it means you have a natural aversion to doing something linked to manipulation, coercion, and general bad feelings.

Only there’s a problem, which is that you’re a professional, and by definition you have to sell. Yes, you. You may or may not have direct (or even indirect) responsibility for winning new contracts. You most definitely have to sell ideas to be effective in your role, whatever that role may be.

So now we have a conundrum. We have tension that’s not the creative kind. And that’s bad.

The antidote is ridiculously simple, really—so much so that it’s easy to dismiss as a trivial platitude.

Are you ready? Here it is:

[Tweet “Hate to sell? Good. Do this instead. #getreal #sales”]

Stop selling; start helping.

In other words, when you aim to “sell,” don’t try to convince them to “buy”—that’s what leads to smarmy dictionary definitions and yucky feelings. Instead, help them make the best decision for them right now. That means do things like:

As Charlie Green always says, people vastly prefer to buy what they need from people they feel good about. You can be that person by being a helper, not a Sales Guy.

Make It Real

This week, set a different kind of goal for every meeting you have: to help your clients or colleagues make the best decision for them right now. What changes about your approach? Your experience? Your results?

Learn More

Read about how helping instead of selling reduces stress, from our friends at Trusted Advisor Associates, or learn how to “handle objections” in Chapter 14 of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook.

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Andrea Howe

As the founder of The Get Real Project, I am the steward of our vision and our service offerings, as well as a workshop leader and keynote speaker. Above all else, I am an entrepreneur on a mission: to kick conventional business wisdom to the curb and transform how people work together as a result. I am also the co-author, with Charles H. Green, of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook (Wiley, 2012).