Were You Raised to Feel Shame About Selling?

Robert Terson

I recently had a fabulous conversation with Joseph, who has a new book out. I don’t want to even take a chance on embarrassing Joseph, so I’m not going to, in this post, give his last name or the title of his book. I will 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, which he’s enthusiastically agreed to do.

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, whereas Joseph’s book has just been released, so I have some experience he wanted to tap into. I was glad to oblige.

It came out that Joseph isn’t entirely comfortable with promoting and selling his book. Actually, Joseph 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 Joseph 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 Joseph re the selling process. I think it would do that to anyone.

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

Joseph’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 Joseph 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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