Selling Is a Behavior, Not an Identity

Thanks to list member and reader Mike T. for this comment:

Though I’m certainly working toward the business of selling, I don’t think of myself as a salesperson.

Mike’s right. So let me be absolutely crystal clear about something: when I talk about “sales”, I’m talking about the behavior of selling. The act of communicating 1-on-1 to see if we can help someone, and, if we can, the process should culminate in them saying yes or no to an offer we make. That’s selling.

A salesperson is a title or identity. As in, “I’m in sales.” Some salespeople are exceptionally ethical, smart, and sophisticated people who work for the benefit of their clients. Others don’t live up to that standard.

As a freelancer, selling is one of the many jobs you have to do to build a thriving business. And I would contend that to make the transformation into a solopreneur, you have to be pretty good at selling. Not the best, but good.

One thing that holds a lot of freelancers back from sharpening their selling skills is their conception of “salespeople.” They think they’re deceitful, or at least less-than-honest, and willing to trade their values for a buck. Said more plainly, many freelancers conflate the behavior of selling and the character of a no-good salesperson.

It’s also tempting to say that anyone good at sales is a “natural,” and that’s rarely true.

So as you build your business, know that selling is a part of your journey, but you’ll never have to be a salesperson.