How to Improve Your Sales Without Being Salesy [Part 1]

a salesman in round glasses making an exaggerated gesture at a product

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Throughout my career in sales, I’ve often had many entrepreneurs and first-time salespeople ask me:

“How do I sell without being salesy?”


“How do I ensure I cover everything I want to in my call?”


“Whenever I go into sales meetings, the other person isn’t engaged. How do I fix this?”

And the questions go on and on.

Let’s face it – we’ve all been there, where someone says something like:

“This sounds great, but I have too many things going on today. Can you come back another time?”

Or you think you’ve got the sale in the bag, only to hear this:

“Thanks for the call, I appreciate your time today. Go ahead and send me an email and I’ll get back to you.”

Only to never hear back from them, right?

Well, I want to pass along a tip to fix these problems that I learned from Kevin Hallenbeck of Sandler Training.

This trick is called The Upfront Contract.

If you implement this one small step at the beginning of your time with a prospect or client, you will drastically improve your sales calls, build better relationships, and close more deals.

Beyond that, an Upfront Contract will ensure your sales meetings are productive, an agenda is clear, next steps are agreed upon… And ultimately, a step toward how to sell without being salesy.

Here are the basic elements of an Upfront Contract:

Objective of the meeting

– Prospects & the salesperson’s agenda for the meeting

Time allocated for the meeting

Decision to be reached at the end of the meeting

This allows you to control the conversation and manage the prospect’s expectations.

Now, it’s fair to say that we’re all used to hearing sales pitches…

At the first sound of a sales pitch or a salesperson, we think “SALES! SALES! SALES!” and instantly shut them down, right?

Our natural B.S. detectors sound off…

So, how can you get beyond the B.S. detectors and have a real conversation with your buyer?

Here’s an example conversation:


SALESPERSON: Hey Charlie, I appreciate you taking some time out of your day today. I have about 35 minutes set aside for the call. Is that what you had on your calendar?”

Charlie: Yeah, that’s what I have.

SALESPERSON: Okay, great. Charlie, how these calls naturally go, I’ll have some questions about your business and [PAIN POINT], [PAIN POINT], [PAIN POINT]. And obviously, since we haven’t worked together before, you’ll probably have some questions for me about how we might be able to help you out and address some of these issues.

At the end of our time together, typically a couple things may happen. We may decide, based on your needs and what we’re good at, that there just isn’t a fit – and that’s okay!

On the other hand, we might decide this makes sense, there is a good fit, and we’ll need to schedule another call to dive in further.

So, can we agree that at the end of this call we’re going to make a decision that either “Yes,” we’re a good fit and we’ll schedule another call, or “No,” that we’ll end it there and part as friends? Our goal here is to avoid a “maybe” and decide yes or no in the next steps. Sound good?

Charlie: Yes, sounds great.

SALESPERSON: Before we get started, if there was one big question you wanted answered before the end of the call, what would that be?

Charlie: {ANSWER}


This clearly isn’t your typical sales call. There are no “fancy moves” or slick sales pitches. We simply followed the steps above, set the agreement up front, and relieved the tension.

Your buyers are put at ease when you say: “We may decide, based on your issues and what we’re good at, that there just isn’t a fit – and that’s okay!

You’re telling them that it’s okay to say “no.”

And this allows you to have an honest conversation by dealing with the “elephant in the room” up front…

While also agreeing that a decision (yes or no) must be made at the end of the call.

Would you agree this sort of sales call is different than ones you might have heard in the past?

You come across as “cool” and transparent… Without sounding salesy.

Plus, you avoid the kiss of death “maybe.”

…And that’s it!

There are PLENTY of benefits with the Upfront Contract that may not be obvious either.

Remember the example “Send me an email and I’ll get back to you…” I mentioned earlier?

Next time the prospect on the phone says that, I want you to refer back to the Upfront Contract like this:

SALESPERSON: “Charlie, I’m happy to send you some more information. However, remember at the beginning of the call where we agreed to make a decision on whether or not this is a good fit?

Well, at this point, I believe we can help you – and I’d like to move forward to another call. Charlie, are we on the same page?”

The goal with this isn’t to pressure someone into making a sale, but to save us (and them) time from the back and forth if there just isn’t enough interest or pain to move forward.

On the other hand, if they feel it is a good fit but have some concerns… They’ll tell you.

Remember the “honest conversation” part? This is how you get the prospect to be honest with you.

CHARLIE: “You know, I do think this is a good fit…  But I’m concerned about [BLANK].”

This ONE simple trick has enabled us to do so much, so I’m eager to hear how it works for you. Test it out, try it for yourself, and see what you think.

If you have any questions, comments, or just want to hear what it sounds like for yourself… Please reach out to us! We love hearing from our readers 🙂

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