Were You Programed to Feel Shame About Selling?

Robert Terson

I once had a fabulous conversation with David, who had just recently published a new book. I don’t want to embarrass David, so I’m not going to give his last name or the title of his book. I will simply say that this is a brilliant man who brings tremendous value to people. I was so impressed with him that I’ve invited him to guest blog on Sellingfearlessly.com.

During the course of our conversation the subject of promoting and selling a book by the author came up. Selling Fearlessly came out in October, 2012, whereas David’s book had just been released, so I had some experience he wanted to tap into. I was glad to oblige.

It came out that David isn’t entirely comfortable with promoting and selling his book. Actually, David isn’t very comfortable with selling anything, including himself. He has a negative outlook of the selling process, which was instilled in him by his father. He told me that, when he was a child and needed to sell cookies for his Cub Scout pack, his father, in order to prevent David from going out and selling to family and friends, bought all the cookies himself. He told his son that he didn’t want him pushing the cookies on people who would “only be buying them to be nice to him.” What the father was doing instilled shame into David re the selling process.

This shame was reinforced when David made some plaques and went around selling them to people for $.25 each. When his father found out what he was doing, he became angry, chastised David for “pushing” his plaques on these people. Again, he told his son that these people were only buying his plaques because they wanted to be nice to him, not because they really wanted his plaques.

David’s stories about his childhood experiences made me wonder: How many of you were instilled with the same sense of shame about selling? How many of you deep down view selling as something shameful, that it’s just pushing things on people that they really don’t want or need? Too many of you, I’d wager!

If you fall into this group of unfortunate souls, let me suggest that you reprogram yourself. You can easily do that. There is nothing shameful about the selling process, if you’re bringing great value to your customers. In fact, selling a product or service that brings great value, benefits the customer, is something to be proud of. If you have great value to provide these people, stand tall and go out there with enthusiasm—you’re doing them a favor, and that’s nothing to be ashamed about.

I believe David came away from our conversation with a whole new attitude about selling his book and himself. If you, too, are in need of a whole new attitude about selling—or, for that matter, anything else—call me. Let’s talk about it. I’m here to help you.


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