By John Tabita

The Real Reason You Hate Selling

By John Tabita

Along with getting married, death of a loved one, divorce, and relocating, job hunting is one of the most stressful life events—which is why you hate selling.

Sales is like going on job interviews day after day. Except it doesn’t end when you land the job. It only delays the inevitable “rinse and repeat.”

Deep down inside you know you’re not really “selling your services”—you’re selling yourself. And the reason you struggle is because—deep down inside—you don’t believe in your product.

If you’re like me, you’re probably more keenly aware of your faults rather than your strengths. Which makes getting rejected once or twice (never mind several times) something to be avoided—which is why you hate selling.

Yet, every good sales person knows every product has its inherent strengths and weakness, too. A blender does a poor job of making phone calls, which is why I also own a cell phone.

Instead, imagine you were a product rather than a person. As such, what value do you provide? A great question to ask on a job interview is, “What problem are you trying to solve by hiring me?”

Here’s a problem all employers and managers face—unreliable employees. Address that unspoken fear and you’ve set yourself apart from the other applicants.

Whether it’s buying or hiring, decision-makers do so for both tangible and intangible reasons. Although it not may be 100 percent accurate, I consider the tangible aspects as the logical reasons, and the intangible aspects as the emotional ones. If I’m looking to hire an HTML coder, technical proficiency is the cost of entry.

That’s tangible. But on an emotional level, do I like you? Sales gurus will tell you that building rapport and developing trust are two key factors involved in winning the sale. Or getting hired.

In What Sales Winners Do Differently, RAIN Group has identified three levels of successful selling:

Level 1: “Connect”

Buyers must perceive that the seller understands their needs and has a solution that can help. A potential employer will want to know if you’ll be part of the problem or part of the solution.

Level 2: “Convince”

Sellers do not close deals unless they convince buyers that the risks are acceptable and they’ll get a worthwhile return. This means you must convince your prospective employer that you’ll produce more than you consume. Remember, the company must make more money from what you produce than what you’re being paid to produce it. It’s called capitalism.

Level 3: “Collaborate”

This is when the seller becomes a key component in the buyer’s success by bringing new ideas to the table and working with the buyer as a team. As someone who runs my department like I ran my business, I’d much rather have people who work with me, not for me.

These are intangible aspects that go beyond mere technical expertise and make you invaluable as a vendor or an employee. Those of us who sell our services understand that earning the business requires that value is perceived. But keeping the business requires we demonstrate that value. As an employee, developing the same mindset goes a long way towards both getting and keeping that job—dream or otherwise.

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  • Using a word like “convince” as the second level of selling is dangerous for most people…the last thing web designers need to start doing is spend time with their prospective customers “convincing” them of anything. I do like collaboration though…I would start there first, learn to collaborate with whomever you’re talking to (boss or lead) and getting paid for your time will be a nice aftereffect.

    • The report I linked to, “What Sales Winners Do Differently,” was written by a sales organization that conducts ongoing research to determine why buyers do and do not buy.

      Far from being “dangerous,” they identified convincing as a necessary skill required to win the sale—one that most web designers need to master, I might add. While we do well connecting and collaborating, we’re not so comfortable with convincing. It’s why most of us aren’t very good at selling our services.

      It’s also why we tend to give away so much free information. We’re so uncomfortable with convincing that we take collaborating too far, giving away free information and writing overly-detailed proposals, hoping these will do the convincing for us.

  • alex.barylski

    Excellent motivational write up :) it’s like you read my mind but unlike me you have had success in selling — which is encouraging to me…keep up the good work.


    • I wasn’t always successful, especially at first. In fact, I wouldn’t call myself a natural sales person by any means. Some people think selling is just a matter of luck. But someone once said, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” I had to work at it to gain a level of success. If I can do it, so can you.

  • This is really a good and inspiring article. Just a little motivation helps me along…


  • My view on this is rather simpler — I hate selling (myself / services / anything) because capitalism is fundamentally wrong.

    The only thing that feels completely right is working for free, but then I can’t pay the bills. There is no solution for this, except to shrug and make the best of it.

    • Or find a government or an employer willing to provide for all your needs in exchange for your labor. I guess that would be considered either communism or slavery. Or wait … they’re both slavery.

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