Selling can be a big challenge and something small business owners may shy away from because selling can make them feel uncomfortable as they associate selling with being sleazy and manipulative.

Selling avoidance poses quite a problem when you’re a small business owner, because if you want your business to thrive then you have got to sell.

There is a way around the discomfort of selling, change the way you think about sales to serving rather than selling.

You make fantastic products or offer awesome services and you are passionate about your offerings and believe in your offerings. You know what you offer is going to make a positive difference in someone’s life. So instead of thinking “I’m selling.”, shift your thoughts to “I’m serving. What I offer will help or inspire someone.”.

You’re not selling at all costs, instead you are focusing on how your products and services can help your customer. When you approach selling this way it feels really good. It’s a nice feeling knowing that your offering has helped someone or brought some joy to their lives.

Here are 4 tips to help you serve rather than sell

1. Understand the value you offer

You’re not selling what you think you are. It is not the actual product or service you are selling but rather your customers are buying a solution to a problem or fulfilling a need or desire. It’s up to you to understand exactly the real value your customers are getting when they purchase your offerings. For example, it is not personal training sessions you are selling, your customers are really interested in feeling good about themselves. People pay for products and services they find valuable.

2. Know your ideal customer well

Once you understand the value of your products and services, the next step is to find people who have the specific problems that your offering can solve or else have their needs or desires met. These people are your ideal customer. The more you know about your ideal customer, what they are looking for, their hopes, fears and dreams, the better you can serve them. When you truly understand someone’s pain point, need or desire you are not selling to them, your offering is solving their pain point or fulfilling a need or desire, therefore you are serving.

3. Let go of attachment to the sale

If you make the sale that’s awesome, if you don’t, well that’s ok too. When you are serving you are not pushing for a transaction to take place, you are more concerned with ensuring that your offering is a good fit and will meet the needs of your ideal customers. Sales does not have be stressful and pressured, you can sell and be soft and gentle. Begin by really listening to your customers, find out what their problems are and what they really want, if your offering can solve a problem or meet a need then tell them how your products and services can help them. Sometimes your offering is just not a good fit for someone, so let them find something more appropriate. If you know something or someone that may met their needs then why not share that with them, this too is part of the serving not selling approach.

4. Build trust

When you are serving your customers, you focus on building a relationship with them. Relationship and connection is a key to sales, people buy from businesses they know, like and trust. Some ways you can build trust is by offering a free sample of your products and services, writing blog posts, make videos that cover the potential questions your customers may have about your offerings or providing testimonials, endorsements or case studies from people who have used and benefited from your products and services. Have a think about what you can provide that is valuable and of interest to your customers to help build trust.

Ultimately serving does lead to sales. Serving is a lovely way to make a sale, it will make you feel much more comfortable and your customers will really appreciate it too.