No sales please, we’re British!


Is our traditional British reserve holding us back when it comes to selling? Three key behaviours the 21st-century British salesperson needs to succeed. 

The British are trained from an early age to be self-contained and reserved. Effusive displays of emotion are seen as false, self-promotion is seen as bumptious and boastful, sentimentality is plain embarrassing.  – Debretts

Is it our traditional British reserve that makes us uncomfortable about selling? Is this why so many small business owners tell me they don’t like or want to sell? Do we think sales is bad form and well, just very un-British?

Say the word sales and the image that jumps to mind is one of a pushy sales person who calls you in the middle of dinner, starts with a disingenuous ‘hi, how are you today?’ and follows up with a scripted monologue. It’s no surprise that we don’t respond to this and, as business owners, we don’t want to take this approach to selling.

But everyone sells,all the time. The last time you convinced, or were convinced by your partner to put out the rubbish you were selling or sold to. The hard truth is that selling is something that business owners have to beat the competition and be successful.

The good news is that you can sell effectively without feeling awkward or being seen as ‘bumptious and boastful’. In my experience, the 21st-century British sales person needs to adopt these three behaviours:

Connect with people

I don’t mean ‘like’ them on Facebook or ‘follow’ them Twitter. I mean connect with them in person. To make sales we need to speak to people directly and build up a rapport with them. If we can’t do this face to face, there is no way social media is going to work.

Here’s where our natural British restraint comes in handy. Now that you’ve got someone’s attention don’t feel you have to talk for ages about features and benefits. Telling is not selling anymore. If you are sat in front of a potential customer, the most important person is already there, and it’s not you. Your customers don’t care about you and your products. They care about themselves. So…

Ask them questions

Find out about them and their business. Listen to what they are saying about themselves and ask more questions to get the full picture. What are their worries or concerns? What problems or challenges are they experiencing? This information will help you to…

Make a recommendation

People don’t buy features and benefits; they buy the image of your product or service solving their problem. So once you’ve found out what their problem is, you are in a much better position to show them how you can solve it. Position yourself as an authority, an expert and a problem solver and, don’t look now but…you’re selling!

So forget the idea that you need to adopt a brash, pushy persona to be able to sell. Instead, be yourself, a normal person first and a salesperson second. Use our great British politeness to connect with people and find out about their problems. Not only will you be ideally positioned to make a recommendation to solve them – which is all sales is – you’ll be more successful and you won’t have to talk about you.

Here’s the thing, it doesn’t matter how good your product or service is if you can’t generate enquiries and convert those enquiries into customers. So don’t put off or avoid selling. Keep a stiff upper lip and learn how to do it properly. Because if you can’t sell your product or service, no one is ever going to find out how good you really are.

Need some more help with learning how to generate enquiries, convert more sales and make more profits contact me here to see how I can give you practical, hands-on help and support with finding more customers, making more sales and growing your business. If it worked for business like these, it will work for yours:

“Enquiries up, conversions up, profits up, morale sky high and I’m working sensible hours for the first time in I can’t remember how long. If you don’t have the business you desire the solutions is to work with Rob, simple as!” Kristen Nichols – Business Owner (Manufacturer and Retailer)

“Rob’s straightforward, practical, no-nonsense approach is solely focused on achieving results, not fancy theories and was just what I needed. He quickly identified the problems and worked with me on the solutions and, as a result, sales are up and we are hitting every target set and then some.” Jacob Honeywell – Business Owner (Classic Car Restoration)