Let’s take a look at why it’s so easy to be salesy instead of persuasive.

And this is where a true confession comes in because when I first started out in business, I was very salesy.

And why? I really believe in the value of what I’m offering. So I wanted everybody to take advantage of it, right?

The truth is that we sometimes think that everybody needs what we’re offering and we’re excited to share that value with everyone we meet. And so we come across as salesy, pushy, and annoying.

The reality is people don’t like being told what to do. And when we’re salesy, it feels like we’re telling people what to do. And their inner two-year-old comes out and says no, no, no, no, no, no. Just because people may need something we offer, it doesn’t mean they want it. And even if they want it, they may not be interested in getting it right now.

So there you are. You have a wonderful product and give wonderful service. The question is how can you avoid being salesy and be more persuasive instead? Here are three crucial guidelines for you to consider.

Guideline number one is that everything is based on relationship. And that’s because people want to do business with people they know, like, and trust. So you focus on building relationships. A good way to do that is to invite somebody out for coffee so you can get to know each other. Or if that isn’t geographically possible, invite that person for a virtual coffee online or on the phone.

The second guideline is from the author and poet Maya Angelou, who stated that people won’t remember what you said or did; but they will remember how you made them feel. If you make people feel badly, they won’t want to do business with you. They won’t want to have a personal relationship with you. The goal is to make people feel happy and delighted to be with you, not the opposite.

The third the guideline is Zig Ziglar’s famous quote. You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.

These three guidelines sound wonderful, but how do you apply them? What kind of strategies can you employ to become more persuasive?

Strategy number one is to ask relationship building questions. Here are some samples. “Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? Are you originally from here?” Conduct a chit chat, getting to know you, kind of conversation.

Then here’s a nice transition to business questions. What inspired you to meet with me today? If you’ve set up a meeting with somebody, that person obviously had a reason for wanting to meet with you; so when you ask this question, you can get a good idea of where that person is in terms of what you have to offer.

So strategy number two is to ask business questions, some of which relate to your product or service. Not sure what to ask? Here’s a good question that applies to any business: What do you see as your biggest challenge going forward in your business in (the area you serve)? Get really clear on what their issue is before you jump in with both feet and stomp all over the conversation, telling them what you’re going to do for them when it may not even fit what they want or need.

The third strategy is the most important strategy of all to apply throughout any conversation. Be a good listener. It has been said that God gave us two ears and one mouth and we should use them proportionally. This means that in any conversation, we should be listening at least twice as much as we are speaking.

Listening carefully allows you to find out what the problem is, how badly they feel about it, how much it’s costing them, and how desperately they want to fix it. Only then can you decide whether or not what you offer is a good fit. These questions also help the people with whom you are talking get really clear on how badly they need your help.

Pay careful attention to the words people use to describe their problems and challenges. That gives you clues about whether or not you can help relieve that pain and help them with their challenges and their goals.

The obvious reason to listen so carefully is to find out whether or not you’re the right person to help them with their challenge and get the solution that they want.

But there’s another less obvious reason to really pay careful attention to the words people use to describe their problems and their desires. Their language is your free cheat sheet for effectively communicating the value of what you offer in the language that resonates with your ideal audience.

When you speak in that language, they recognize themselves and think to themselves, Oh, that’s me. She’s talking about me. She really gets me.

So pay attention to the language you hear people use, because that language is the language that will result in you attracting new clients, new business, and new income.

In case you missed it, to see the first video in the Coffee and Coaching Club series, click here.