Why you're not being 'salesy' enough


I had a conversation yesterday with someone who felt that they weren't earning as much from their business as they'd like because people don't know about them and what they do. They get decent traffic to their website and social media but somehow it doesn't result in bookings or extra visitors. I had a quick look: they were posting on social media but not 'selling', with very few posts about their business and what they actually do. Lovely Autumn photos, motivational quotes, a cake recipe - nothing wrong with any of these, but information about the business needs to be at the heart of the activity. 

When someone tells me they're not getting enough visitors or making enough money, my response is almost always the same.

You need to tell more people more about what you do and offer

When you feel like people don't know about you, you need to do more marketing. When you think that you've repeated yourself again and again, chances are you're just starting to break through and grab attention. 

If probably feels like you're always going on about your business, but most guests and visitors only ever hear or see snippets of what you do and say. You are probably not reaching enough people, and when you do, chances are they're not always hearing the marketing messages you need to convey. 

"I don't want to be too salesy". 

So many business owners and managers say this to me. The reality is that anyone who worries about this, isn't a 'salesy' or 'pushy' person. They're too self-aware. 


They worry that if they talk up their business too much, and describe all its benefits in great detail, they'll sound like they're boasting. They don't want to be 'pushy'.

Does this sound like you? 

Are you good at telling people about your business? How good are you at selling what you do?  

I'd say that out of every 100 businesses I work with, fewer than 20 are actually good at selling themselves. Even those that are good at selling could do it more. That means there's huge scope for growth of your business. 

Here are some suggestions, and responses to frequent comments and concerns about selling and promoting your business, whether you do it in words on your website, in your social media or in person. 

Are you telling the truth? 

A lot of the people I work with worry that if they keep telling everyone about the benefits of their business (whether in person, through their website, social media etc), they'll somehow offend people or put them off.

The first question to ask yourself is 'are you telling the truth?' If you are, then you're doing absolutely nothing wrong. No one will be offended - you're just telling people about your business. 

You're not repeating yourself - you're just making it clearer

You are used to talking about your business and you know it inside out so it might sometimes feel like you are 'going on and on' about your business and repeating yourself. The reality is that most people are too busy to take in every aspect of the information you give them so you do need to keep repeating yourself, and finding different ways to present the same selling points. 

People need you to give all the details again and again, in order to make it easier for them to choose. They're too busy to hunt out information - you need to present it to them. 

'I don't want to be pushy and put people off' 

If you have ever even thought this, then you're very unlikely to be a pushy person. You're sensitive to others' opinions so it's highly unlikely you'll come across as some brash super-salesperson!

Don't hide your strong points! 

There's almost certainly at least one aspect of your business that you're proud of, that you know you do well? You might not shout about it, or even tell many people but I'm pretty sure that there is something you can think of that is your strong point? 

If you don't tell people about it, on your website, social media etc, how will people know about it? How will they benefit from it? If you don't tell them, won't it mean that people are missing out on something they might enjoy? 

Have a look at your promotional activity and ask yourself if you could make your key selling points and strengths more obvious. You probably think they are already quite clear, but take another look, trying to see them through someone else's eyes. 

Tell, sell & make other people's lives easier

Now there's so much information available, making a decision to book a holiday, choose a restaurant or buy something can take a long time. The research can be very time-consuming and very tedious. If you don't make your selling points crystal clear, you're actually making it harder for people to choose you. You need to stand out so it's easier for people to find you. 

How do you feel when you're searching for something online, let's say a holiday, and finally manage to find somewhere that feels exactly right? You probably feel relieved, excited, happy, glad to have finally got it sorted? What made you feel like that? Probably a little nugget of information, an image or a selling point that gave you a 'that's it!' moment. 

You didn't think to yourself, 'oh they're very pushy, selling to me, telling me all about their business'. You were grateful to have the information in order to make a decision. 

If you don't sell, you're preventing people from making their lives better 

That's a big statement. It assumes that whatever you're selling is good - a trip, a work of art, and not drugs or something negative... But it's also true. We only buy something when we think we can benefit. 

Let me give you an example. I run marketing workshops. I love doing them, and get good feedback, so I think they benefit the businesses who come to them. I might feel pushy if I keep saying things like 'look at this marketing workshop', 'book now for this event' but if I don't do that, how will anyone know about them? If they don't know about them, then it means I've deprived some businesses from learning something that might make their business better. 

When someone books or buys from you, they're not doing you a favour. They're paying money to do something or buy something that they think will benefit them. 

Ask for the sale...

You're in business. You need to make money. You need to attract guests, visitors, customers.

So do you "ask for the sale"?

You probably think this is a pushy phrase, something that only greasy salesmen do. We are all concerned not to seem too forthright or to over-sell.

If I ask an accommodation owner about the benefits of their place to stay, they'll often say things like "it's in a lovely location". Something they can't really take credit for, so it doesn't sound pushy.

Rarely will anyone say: "we put our hearts and souls into making our guests feel comfortable. We're proud of how we clean every inch so not even the most diligent Hotel Inspector would find dust on their fingertips. Our guests enjoy a really good hearty cooked breakfast so they feel set up for the day".

Perhaps we need to put more of our personality into our marketing? To be braver? To sell?

We do need to "ask for the sale" more.

Much of the time we assume visitors know what we're offering. We give them a few photos (rarely enough of them) and a few words and hope from that short description they'll spare time to imagine how good it will be, and fill in the gaps in the information. We don't even bother suggesting they book/visit/buy - we just present a bit of information!

Perhaps you could use more phrases like "book now so you can...", "visit us soon to see...", "we'd love to show you...don't miss out..." ?

Offer information, build trust, make people feel upbeat, and then they're ready to buy/book. But you have to ask them

1 comment

Sandra Mcneill

Love this! Yes I think I work hard at promoting my holiday cottage but reading this points out how much more I could achieve by just changing a few word and giving people easy instructions on how to book. Thank you!

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