Sales Coaching: 5 Steps To Sell Without Selling

When it comes to sales, the rules are simple: don’t try to impress, don’t be ‘salesy,’ and don’t be generic. Driving business without selling requires demonstrating the value of your service or product to the client in a way that makes doing nothing a losing proposition for them. This blog provides five sales coaching tips to address this.

It may seem paradoxical to sell without selling, but it works. First, approach the sales process by understanding your client’s needs; then craft a no-brainer value proposition. If the client understands the value of your service or product, you’re halfway there.

Step One: Do Your Homework

It’s an old idea, but the truth is still there–clients buy solutions, not services. Every potential customer you encounter has a problem that needs solving. Achieving success in sales requires convincing the client that your solution is the one they need.

The first step is simply to do your homework. Find or define the problem. Understand what the client’s challenge is and identify the reasons behind it. To identify their drivers for change, simply think about how your prospect would sell their problem internally.

From the client’s perspective, few things are better than a solutions provider who has clearly done his research. The knowledge that you are approaching each client with an eye toward their specific needs is powerful–clients love this. It shows you care about accurately understanding their problem and matching your solutions to their needs.

Going Above and Beyond

Sales CoachingDoing your homework takes more than just asking the client what their perceived problem is. A client’s perception of their problem is likely not defined clearly; otherwise, they would have been able to solve it themselves. Clients may sometimes not know what their true underlying problem is!

Take Daniel Saksenberg, CEO of Emerge, as an example.

Saksenberg took the time to read an annual report before a client meeting, and he provided a method to save that client millions. He did his homework, identified the most valuable problem the client faced and provided a solution.

Best of all? The problem wasn’t one the client even knew he had. Saksenberg didn’t base his information only on what the client said in meetings–he went above and beyond.

Step Two: Qualify Them In

Next, qualify the client in. You understand the client’s problem, now it’s time to challenge yourself why you think this could be your ideal client.

Start by exploring the ways in which your services will uniquely match the expected outcome of your client. And even better, are there ways you can surprise them What’s your percentage of confidence that the differentiation you offer will be a no-brainer for your prospect to buy from you? Do they have a problem that you can solve best, and if so, what additional value will that give them in return in comparison to the alternatives?

Take a client’s not-for-profit charity organization as an example, and imagine you are selling financial software. Qualify the client’s requirements against your service and make sure the client’s needs match your solutions, but don’t stick to just the requirements. Connect the dots for them and tie the value of your solution to their overall cause. This brings me to step three.

Step Three: Paint the Vision

To make your prospect buy from you, you have to create a gap between ‘What is’ and ‘What can be’. Show the client a world where their problem no longer exists, and even better – surprise them with value they don’t even expect.

To stay with the example of financial software in Not for Profit: Envision how your solution helps to lower their cost footprint (G&A) as a % of donations, but don’t stop here. You’ll win their hearts of your buyer if you can tie your solution to their ‘why’ i.e. how does the approach you’re offering allow them, as a Not for Profit, to make big steps forward towards fighting poverty or hunger in the world.

In other words: focus on the ‘why and not the ‘what.’ Explain what is broken about the client’s situation and how your solution fixes it in a way they can only say ‘yes’ to.

The bigger the gap you create, the bigger the pull will be to change buyer perception. But ensure you balance your credibility.

Sales Coaching

Step Four: Define How You Can Help

You understand the client’s problem. You’re confident your solutions match their needs and aspirations. You are convinced you’re not just offering something better, you’re offering something different that adds value beyond what they expect. With that, you’ve made the client see the ideal future. Now, define how you can help.

Driving the client toward the making them buy from you takes precision. Solutions are inherently specific: you can’t propose a true solution to a problem with vague language and useless words. You need to be concrete and credible by proving your claims and being their guide. And to do so you have to show them the journey towards success.

To do so, break down the client’s problem, show the client how you will address each component, and what steps they will take with you to transform from where they are today, to where they want to be tomorrow.

Step Five: Ensure the Outcome

You’re effectively selling a transformation. You’re not selling a feature, you are selling a feeling. To take the example of financial software again, you are not selling a workflow system to approve expenses or invoices, you are selling the feeling of convenience, control, and confidence. That’s why it’s important to always keep the outcome front and centre. It’s key to convince your prospect that your solution meets their detailed requirements, but it’s the excitement about the outcome i.e. ‘what will be’, that makes them buy. As such there can be no doubt in the client’s mind that the outcome they desire will become reality.

Once the client realizes that not using your solution is the losing proposition, they’ll perceive your service as something they must have. That’s where you have turned them into a buyer.

Driving Business Without Selling

Driving business without selling requires you to create a no-brainer value proposition for the client.

Follow the steps above, and move away from selling a product or service. Embrace demonstrating value and enjoy the results!


Need some inspiration to make the next step?

Keep reading


A daily email for B2B SaaS CEOs who want to end unpredictable traction.

About the author

Sales Pitch

Ton Dobbe is a former B2B software product marketer who's on a mission to save mission-driven SaaS CEOs from the stress of 'not enough' traction. He's the author of The Remarkable Effect, the host of the Tech-Entrepreneur on a Mission podcast, and writes a daily newsletter on the secrets to mastering predictable traction.