The Elephant in the Room

August 25, 2015

The Elephant in the Room

This week I spoke to a group of eWomen Network members and guests in Windsor on “Sales Skills JUST For Entrepreneurs” and I started with addressing the elephant in the room.

I asked, “Who LOVES to sell?” and four women (out of 16 or 25%) put up their hands. I then asked “Who has had sales training?” and the same four women put up their hands.

The majority of the women in the room had received no sales training and did not like to sell. Sales has that reputation of being sleazy, manipulative, dirty, not fun, stressful with not a positive attribute to be seen.

And that is so wrong.

There are indeed a few con artists bilking people out of their hard earned money but they are the minority. Most small business owners operate with ethics and integrity. I would never sell anyone anything that they do not need, want or cannot afford. Each transaction must be a win-win for all involved.

Fear and hate generally comes from not knowing. No wonder you don’t enjoy selling when you never learned how to in the first place. Trust me, it truly is not rocket science!

Get rid of the extrovert assumption

The assumption that everyone can sell couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s the same for the stereotypical belief that a salesperson is an extrovert. Extroverts tend to talk too much and listen too little and therefore sell the least. Optimistic introverts sell more but “ambiverts”, people who exhibit qualities of both introversion and extroversion, outsell by a factor of 2:1!

Daniel Pink said that ambiverts “know when to speak up and when to shut up, when to inspect and when to respond, when to push and when to hold back.” He touched on the important characteristics of any great sales person:

  1. Their ability to ask probing questions to uncover the real concern, need and want,
  2. To actively listen to the answers, and
  3. Say only that which needs to be said and not everything that they know.

For example, if your prospect has interest in 2 benefits out of the 10 your product or service has, stop telling and boring them with the other 8! You risk losing the sale by trying to prove your expertise. Instead, aim for 30% of the total talk time. The more your prospect talks, the better. It helps you qualify them as a potential client, and as a likable person you can work with.

That is why the elephant signifies the ideal sales professional – big ears for active listening and a small mouth for talking as little as possible.

Learn the sales game and you’ll go from fear to fun, I guarantee it.

Join me at my online teleclass on Business Development JUST for Entrepreneurs, starting Sept. 16 at noon EDT. If you want to receive more information and be on my notify list, email me at or call 416-951-3842.


Patti Pokorchak

Patti Pokorchak was NOT a born salesperson and even after a grueling two-week sales course at IBM, she was still a nervous shy introverted sales person. Now, Patti LOVES to sell and has deconstructed her million dollar sales secrets to help other entrepreneurs sell effectively with more skill and confidence, asking for way more money and having lots more fun! Patti’s website is and you can follow her on @SmallBizSalesCo.