The Art of the Sale

How to avoid “commission breath”

Selling does not come naturally to everyone. If you’re too hungry to make a sale, you may come across as pushy and desperate, but have no fear; you can improve your selling skills and become a top salesperson if you focus on your approach and delivery. We connected with business coach Rachel Ritlop to discuss just that.


Nobody wants to feel like they are being pressured into making a decision, and you don’t need to be Dwight Schrute to make a sale. “Be authentic. Don’t try to emulate someone’s pitch, structure, or formula. Too often, especially for young sales people, they see something work for one guy, and try to copy it, only for it to be a total bust,” says Ritlop. Stay true to yourself when making a sale. If you try to imitate your boss or co-worker, your pitch may come across as phony and forced. Find your natural rhythm. When in doubt, be yourself.


Never underestimate the value of being a good listener.1“You’ll be better off getting a deeper understanding of a potential client’s wants and needs,” explains Ritlop. Once they have communicated their position, you’ll be better equipped to address their needs and offer solutions. That’s a surefire way to make a sale.

Find your natural rhythm. When in doubt, be yourself.


Don’t put all of your energy into the end result. If you barrel towards a sale, you may miss out on building a lasting relationship with your clients. Nobody wants to feel undervalued or used to simply increase sales. “A great salesperson never seems like they are selling. Instead, focus on asking questions, actively listening, mimicking the client’s language, and body language,” says Ritlop. Treat your meetings like dates. Get to know them. “You want to focus on building trust and adding value to their life. When the time comes, they’ll be more likely to call you rather than some random person,” explains Ritlop.


Observe your clients’ behaviors before acting. Read their body language and see how they address you, then follow suit. The ability to match people’s energies and behaviors is what makes a salesperson truly shine.2If you meet a client for the first time and they are more soft-spoken and reserved than you would normally be, shift your approach. Speak more quietly and refrain from being too loud or too bold. This will inevitably make them more comfortable and able to relate to you. If they are talkative and bubbly, amp up your enthusiasm and match them. When following up with a client after a meeting, limit communication to essential matters. Sharing too much information can be off-putting and overwhelming.3The more you can read people’s behaviors, the more you can pivot accordingly.

If you’re looking to sharpen your sales skills, you can always read up on how to improve. For more information, check out your local library’s business section.


When in doubt, be yourself

Listen to clients

Work towards building a relationship with clients

Match clients’ behaviors


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