At Your Service – Overcoming Fear of Sales

fear of salesFreaked out by sales? I don’t mean lack of sales or through the roof sales…I mean actively selling your stuff.

Books are written and entire Psychology practices are built upon the science of sales. I used to work with sales teams – and my company would do psychological profiles to identify the most desirable traits, so we could profile our ideal candidates. The field can be downright overwhelming…or underwhelming…depending upon how you look at it, and

some. people. just. don’t. like. it.

If you’re self-employed, whether you offer a product or a service, you must sell in order to survive. Still, a lot of people are reluctant to approach sales for a variety of reasons. I don’t think it’s because they believe they are too good for the task…sometimes they think they’re not good enough. Neither is true.

I’ve found the some of the top reasons for reluctance to sell. AND, in the spirit of the Well Lived Life, I’d like to offer some solutions:


Selling feels disingenuous


Sell with openness and authenticity. When we set out with the intention to “sell,” we step into a role that is often unfamiliar. We can feel like sales is manipulation and skullduggery (I love that word and will have to use it again!). If you’re simply sharing what you have to offer, asking helpful questions, and trying to learn more, you are not being disingenuous, you’re building relationships. Sometimes, we may lose sight of the fact the person may actually want to spend their money and actually want the product.

Think of it this way – didn’t you create your art to be enjoyed? Don’t you display it to share with others? Well, then, how selfish would it be to withhold the opportunity to enjoy it from others? If you’re selling a service, why would you tuck away your expertise, hoard it? Sales guru, Lisa Larter explains her shocking realization about how holding back is really withholding. Don’t be stingy…be yourself, try to help people, build relationships and offer to share for a fair exchange. By the way, that means you take a payment. Surprise – you made a sale!


You’re not convinced of your product’s value


Debug and disclose – If it’s not good enough for you, don’t sell it. But, don’t toss it to the curb just because it’s not your favourite. Remember,

If you’re selling a product that’s new it may run the risk of being a bit buggy. That’s okay, we all have to work out kinks. You can always have aFear of sales beta group test the product for a reduced fee or other determined perk. When I offer a workshop for the first time, I always let the group know and then solicit their feedback so I can improve it for others. Sometimes, re-works are in order before the next delivery, but once it’s good…it’s good. As for my art – I don’t recommend pointing out any “flaws” but, if I wouldn’t put it on my own wall AND let it hang when company comes – I won’t display it in the public studio. It doesn’t have to be my favourite, but if it looks best in the closet, then in the closet it will stay… until I have the bonfire.

You fear appearing too salesy


Zip your lips and ask for feedback – No one wants to be a “carnie” or appear “pushy.”  But, remember, pushy is a relative term and perception. I once had a pushy employee who I gave the feedback to in order to create a better working relationship. Surprisingly, she really didn’t think she was. We had the conversation multiple times, but she could never understand my point of view. No wonder – she was pushy! Well, I don’t want to be THAT salesy girl! She drives away all her friends and people begin to question the intent of every word she says. Another example is a group of artists I once worked with who would practically harangue collectors to “buy something” – HOW EMBARRASSING! Just don’t do it! Ask trusted friends to observe and give feedback to your approach. Don’t like talking to people…or like talking too much? Try a little silence. Jason Horejs, of Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale is not only a wonderful gallarist, but helps artists market their work. Take a moment to listen to his suggestions about using silence in the sales process…


You’re afraid of rejection


Face it, you’re not going to live forever – I know that’s blunt. I probably should’ve warned you and told you to bear down. Sorry. The point is, we only go around once – I’m guessing – and I came to realize I’d get far more from my life if fear didn’t drive my decisions and behaviour. I’d spent years striving for acceptance, but didn’t honour my true spirit. So, one day I swore I’d be bold before I lost the chance. Rejection is the same. When we see each sales opportunity as the end all be all, rejection looms large. Do you have to be fearless in your product development, in your art, in your service? Of course! Why not be fearless in your sales? Your product will not be everyone’s cup of tea, so why would you want to force them to drink it? Maybe they’re a coffee person. Don’t take it personally if you get a “no.” It’s not a huge deal to the person who says “no” so why is it a huge deal to you? Do it. Do it a lot. It gets easier. If you hear a “No, thank you,” death will not ensue…at least not YOUR’S! Have a little faith in the Universe, be who you are and just get up the courage to put it out there for God’s sake. You ain’t gonna live forever – so live NOW! (click to Tweet)

I know I’ve pulled out the tough love, but I know you can take it! Reframe all that scary stuff you ever heard about sales. The key is not to try to sell, but to try to help. Be of service.

At Your Service,



Michelle Andres is a writer and artist. She writes Writer, Artist, Coachthis blog to share tips for a well-lived life and a finely run art business…just for you!

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12 Replies to “At Your Service – Overcoming Fear of Sales”

  1. Michelle, thanks for your info which shows you’ve had great experience in selling and training/enlightening people for some time! However, my background is very similar to yours including 28 years in the art business, training sales people, introducing new artists, selling the art & training clients but never did I allow anyone to discover that I was an artist! I began creating paintings and sculpture at age 4 and now at 78 I continue to create many items including wearable art, I’ve made jewelry, painted furniture, pillows, luggage, shoes, purses and a lot of other items and my specialty is scarves/shawls! And this is where the problem is: I began painting my scarves in 1981, selling them for $50.00 ti $110.00, ALLOW ME to DESCRIBE THE PROCESS: Painted primarily on silk I then have someone sew the lining and fringe/tassels onto the fabric, give them a title and present them for sale! 4 artist friends suggested I begin to add my costs inclusive of labor, materials, paints & inks, brushes and others tools in 1983 and now after shows in France, Russia, Japan New Zealand, Mexico and in the U.S. .. Texas, Colorado, Nebraska, New York, Arizona, WA. DC, & Washington State, Florida, California, and creating clients in other states my prices presently range from $265.00 to $785.00 generally with some VERY LARge items over $2,000.00 but there are some who complain or argue that I should return to the 1981 prices …!

    I forgot to tell you that they are ALL UNIQUE, one of a kind > and I DON’T COPY other ARTISTS WORK ….!!

    Is there a way to present these “would be clients” with more information to quiet there demands or should I continue to ignore them! Allow me to send you a recent selection of them which additionally contains the old website for your perusal .. Please provide your email address and when you receive it just simply scroll straight down then return to the top to visit the old website!

    I look forward to your respond …Respectfully, John P. Choice

  2. Hello John, what a wonderful challenge you have! Congratulations on what seems a great deal of success. Feel free to send the information through the contact form on this very website. I’d be interested to see your work. Cheers! ~Michelle

  3. Great post! I don’t try to sell anything, but your advice also works for other things in life, like selling yourself. Well, for example to get the job we desire etc. I always struggle to ask people to do what I wantand I guess that selling wouldn’t be very succesful for me neither.

    1. Anna, I think if you had to sell something to make a living you’d be motivated. And, if you ever do, try to think of it not as “selling” but as “sharing.” Thanks for your comment. ~m

  4. This post to me is so awesome because it speak about a specific fear that people usually don’t speak about and that is selling. ..I despite selling but now i wonder if there is a fear behind it…nice post

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