Branding and beyond: 4 steps to sell without selling

Branding and beyond: 4 steps to sell without selling

Think back to shopping around a department store. How many times have you told a salesperson you’re just looking? And then wished to be left alone to browse?

What about when you’re really ready to buy? Chances are you’re most open to engage the salesperson this time.

So stay with that scenario. Even drift into the discomfort of feeling forced to make up your mind.

Are you there? Imagine how this behaviour is natural and pretty common. And now the question: how do you break through it when you’re trying to sell a product or service?

Built around that idea, here are 4 views to help anyone—solopreneurs, sales employees, consultants—approach sales smarter.


Focus on branding over sales

This is taken straight from Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerX.

He says:

The best advice I can give anyone aspiring to build a well-known [brand] is to hold off on monetizing their audience for as long as possible. The longer you go without monetizing, the more economics you’ll build on the back end.

While the context is personal branding, Vaynerchuk has a point. Offer a free trial of your product. Or let target users play around your platform.

Canva executes this well by launching first with a free tool for non-designers. With marketers and influencers drawn to the web app, it now has a much better chance of selling its suite for businesses.

Remember, branding is about creating an experience for customers. Coca-Cola doesn’t tell people to buy its sodas; its ads show the “Coca-Cola experience,” which it has shaped for decades.

Offer value, find the right fit

You don’t want to come from a place of begging or sounding desperate. Your business has value but not to everyone. Some would say no. For various reasons, they’re probably not yet ready to commit. It’s okay. Ask for feedback anyway and move on.

Let’s return a bit to our department store scenario. If you have the intent to buy and find exactly what you need, you’ll be looking for that salesperson if they’re not around. It’s a picture of balance between user intent and product fit. This balance is hard to come by but worth pursuing.


Listen first, offer solutions later

If you’re in sales, talking is a default. You’re trained to say certain things if a potential customer says so and so. Whisper words they like to hear. But pressure tactics and persuasion tricks are tools of the past. It’s all about user preference nowadays.

And it’s through listening that you begin to understand people better. Their wants and needs. Their reason for leaving the previous brand. When you listen, you’re building a relationship. But you’re also building a needs profile, which you can assess later or during the talk.

Wouldn’t it be nice then to be trained how to ask questions that could get you useful answers?

Provide another perspective

There’s a way to convince your prospects without being pushy.

A high-end photographer shares how she’s able to target people who’d rather choose cheap photography. Emylee Williams of Think Creative Collective used her blog to educate readers about the extra worth of her services. Along the way, she framed her offer of quality and durability as a better alternative to the popular “shoot and burn” packages.

Read the full details of her story here.

So maybe you can develop content that’s educational or entertaining. Or you let your website’s messaging convey an experience. Don’t just move minds, touch hearts. These are all weightier than bland promotion.

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