TDmonthly Magazine!
April 2014 | Vol. XIII - No. 4


What To Do When You Don’t Like To Sell

Independent retailers with one location represent 95% of all retailing in the US; yet many don’t like to sell their own merchandise.

If that sounds like you, beware - unless you embrace selling, you’re going to be at the whim of customers who would just as soon order online or go to a big-box competitor.

But it’s easy to understand your aversion to sell …

As I perform retail sales training across the world, I find the following to be the five most common reasons people say they don’t like to sell:

1. You believe selling is sleazy.

Whether it was a movie or a joke, or some guy in plaid pants and a green jacket in a sitcom, you’ve probably seen millions of examples showing the sleazy salesperson taking advantage of some good-hearted person. In short, you’ve been conditioned to believe that someone has to lose if someone gets the sale.

That’s just not true.

2.  You were sold something and regretted its purchase.

The more expensive an item is, and the more attached you become to it during the sales process, the greater the possibility that when you get home, you’ll feel you shouldn’t have spent the money.

If you made a poor choice, shame on you…not shame on the salesperson.

3. You believe if someone wants something, they’ll buy it without any help from you.

Customers have myriad choices lined up in front of them and you think the customer would rather be left alone to decide for themselves.

It might be true for some, but certainly not for all, and particularly not for those purchasing premium items.

4. You believe selling is not a noble profession.

You’ve said it countless times, “He’s a salesman,” like he dropped out of elementary school and this is all he could do.

Get over it! Everybody sells. From your CPA to your doctor, from your roofer to a student trying to get into Julliard, everyone is selling.

5. You are embarrassed by your pricing.

Having a merchant mentality is different than having a customer mentality. You may feel that you are taking advantage of customers – especially your friends, by charging so much. But remember, it’s about making a profit in order to survive.

You need to make friends with selling if you want to get more out of life.


It’s easy… watch what you say!

No more, “I’m not trying to sell you something…”

No more, “Oh, I’m not a salesperson, I’m the owner…”

No more, “Selling is hard…”

The reason so many retailers feel so bad about selling is they haven’t looked at their own attitudes towards a skill they need to use to put food on their table each night.

Selling doesn’t happen without actively choosing to serve someone, and it is the key to retailers who are making it and those who aren’t.

You need to own the idea that selling is good. It is a choice you need to make that attributes good things to being a salesperson.

If you’re still struggling with selling, understand the messages you heard long ago don’t serve you well. Monitor your internal dialogue about selling and what you tell others as a result.

Bob PhibbsWriter's Bio: Bob Phibbs is the Retail Doctor®, a best-selling author and speaker who has helped thousands of independent businesses compete. His new book, The Retail Doctor’s Guide to Growing Your Business has received praise from both Inc. magazine and USA Today and can be found at your local bookstore or ordered at He and his work have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Entrepreneur magazine. Questions? Contact Bob at This article was reprinted with permission of the author, Bob Phibbs, aka The Retail Doctor®. Read more articles by this author


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