In my experience, I’ve met very few she works HIS way women who are okay with saying they’re good at sales. For some reason, most insist, “I just don’t want to be a salesperson,” or they hide behind this false assumption that they simply aren’t skilled when it comes to sales.

And while I am totally on board with you not wanting to be a creepy, annoying or sleezy salesperson, sales is an unavoidable part of business. Everyone has to sell at some point.

So before we go any further, let’s clarify what being good at sales actually means.

Being good at sales does not mean you’re good at manipulating customers to give you money.

Being good at sales does not mean you excel at exaggerating your product or service to appear better than you actually are.

Being good at sales does not mean that you haggle people until they give in just to make you go away.

But instead…

Being good at sales means you are good at listening to consumer needs and finding them the best solution to their problem.

Being good at sales means you genuinely care about getting others connected to your product/service because you are confident what you do matters.

Being good at sales means your genuine belief in what you do is so contagious that others are inspired to try it for themselves.

Can those of us who are in business for the right reasons please bring back the dignity to this unavoidable and super important part of business? We’ve got to stop letting the wrong people create our cultural definitions and perceptions.

If you’re with me, here are five tips to bring back dignity to sales:

Try it offline before you go online.

There’s nothing wrong with selling online…but you’re likely to get much better results in online sales after you’ve interacted with consumers face-to-face. When you’re only engaging with people via social media, email and text messages to sell, you will have no gage of how they’re actually responding to what you say.

Watching people’s reactions to your words is a huge training tool in sales. You may be typing something you probably wouldn’t say to someone’s face. Your transitions may be completely unnatural. Or your words may confuse someone who’s very new to what you do.

Do everyone a favor…and learn how to sell offline before you take your sales efforts online.

Listen before you talk.

There are few things more annoying in business than a salesman with a personal agenda. One of my first business mentors always used to say, “The more you talk, the less sales you make.”

Ask questions. Listen to their needs. Then, and only then, should you speak. When you walk into a conversation with your agenda at the forefront, not only do you minimize the person who will have to make the investment, but you’ll probably miss some key information that would help you identify why your product/service would be beneficial for them.

Evaluate yourself honestly. How many questions do you ask? What percentage of conversations do you spend listening vs. talking? Contrary to what one might think, top performing sales leaders are great listeners before they’re smooth talkers.

Serve before you sell.

More so than making a profit, your primary goal should be accomplishing a purpose. Therefore, we should throw around anything that points people closer to that purpose around like confetti. Blogs. Free resources. Random tips. Limited time trials.

Even if someone hasn’t paid for your product or services yet, they should be able to articulate what you stand for and something valuable they’ve learned from you. If they can’t do that, you haven’t earned the right to sell to them yet.

Yes. The right to sell is a responsibility to earn, not just an opportunity to take. Let’s treat it as such.

Sell something you don’t profit from as often as you can.

If you only sell what you profit from, you aren’t an honest salesperson. Because you can’t sell every product you believe in. And honest salespeople don’t separate selling what they profit from vs. what they believe in.

The more you get yourself in the habit of selling something you don’t profit from, the more honestly and naturally you will sell what you do profit from. Because it won’t be a sales pitch; it will just be what you do and how you engage with others when you find something you believe works well.

Exceed expectations.

Yes, this is an easy tip to give to plug customer retention…but let’s stick to how exceeding expectations changes us.

When you exceed the expectations of your customers, it boosts your confidence. When you’re talking to someone about doing business with you after you’ve created a culture of exceeding expectations, you know it’s not just “talk.”

You don’t have to worry if you’re being misleading. You don’t have to wonder if you’re overpromising and will under-deliver. When you know that you expect from yourself to exceed what you say you will do, you can speak from a place of authentic confidence, not phony false promises.

Exceeding expectations shouldn’t be random; it should be habit.

Being good at sales will take time, and it will take work. But it does matter, and it can be done with dignity.

You with me?