Congratulations! By now, you have successfully survived being sold to approximately 12.5 zillion times! Through every arm-twist, gimmick, and ploy – you persevered. Sometimes you bought and it was oh-so-worthwhile. Sometimes you bought and it was utterly worthless. Sometimes the person you paid becomes a cherished asset. Sometimes you want to write their name on little pieces of paper and light them on fire. It’s a mixed bag, at best.

Each of those sales-attempts – the good, the bad, and the ugly – have left their impression on you. Each taught you a little more what is required, encouraged, and expected of “salespeople.” The painful sales are especially potent – reinforcing your misgivings and deep dedication to marketing your buns off so you never have to ask.

Truth is: the majority of sales education is leading you astray – forcing you into the tactics and scripts that your greedier competitors don’t mind using.

Instead, what would it look like if your sales persona was simply you at your best? Your delights, and truths, and quirks, and unwavering confidence in the transformation/value you provide? How might your business explode when you replace the pressure to dazzle clients with the commitment to serve them?

Today, I ask you to consider that you aren’t allergic to sales – you’re allergic to being swindled by buttheads. Begging people to buy widgets or stale souvenir popcorn is worlds apart from selling/serving as a heart-centered solopreneur or client-focused small business owner. The phenomenal news is that the very empathy, introversion, and/or Care Bear nature that make selling challenging are actually phenomenal gifts when it comes to building trust and rapport. The resistance, the fear, that queasy pukey feeling? That’s all just baggage.

The four types of Sales Baggage – and how to set that sh*t down:

#1: Disappointing, disingenuous salespeople

Method: Whatever they need to get ahead. You’re just a meat-sack with money, honey.

Cost: Regret, remorse, and the resolve to never ever hurt someone like that.

Remedy: RE-DEFINE sales, salespeople, clients, objections, and “closing” for yourself in the form of the exact opposite of what the nasty people did and how they made you feel. None of their tactics are required. You have a blank slate. How do YOU want to approach things differently? (you can see my own definitions at

#2: Strategies that promise big money but offend your ethics

Method: Tap dance on the pain point, dangle hope but foster hopelessness, downplay objections and dismiss the broke folks entirely

Cost: SHAME. Sometimes big, sometimes just a whisper but it’s always there tainting your pride.

Remedy: REPLACE specific arm-twisting, gimmick-heavy, or pain-inducing tactics with the following: empathy for where the client struggles, vulnerability to share your own path, questions that will open the prospect up to possibility, and a listening ear to pick up the cues and gems they drop for you along the way.

#3: Stuffy, Stale Corporate policies and scripts

Method: Stick to the plan, Stan! Don’t try anything new. Pick up the phone. Get rejected. Hang up. Call the next row on the ole’ spreadsheet.

Cost: The inevitable burnout that follows when you rob yourself of all originality, spontaneity, and passion

Remedy: RE-ALIGN with your why. What do your clients most admire about your work? What kind of change are you trying to create in people’s lives? How will your product or service make things easier, safer, or more fulfilling for them? And why the heck does any of it matter? Drop the buzzwords and pick up the truths that your competitors ignore.

#4: Catastrophic gaps in your knowledge and skills

Method; JUST WING IT! Figure it out as you go. Get through the first years of business and worry about it later. (Spoiler: Later was yesterday.)

Cost: Confusion, frustration, wishy-washy approaches, lackluster client relationships, and the expensive time-suck of over-marketing

Remedy: REVIEW your selling strategy from point of awareness through re-enrollment – and beyond! At each step, ask yourself – “is this in keeping with who I am and who I aim to be? Does it prove my value? Does this guard my boundaries? Does it make the client feel safe and seen? And – does it compel them to buy without fear?”

In a nutshell: All the garbage above IS beneath you. The great news is it’s far from the only way to sell. Unburden yourself from the baggage – lay it all down – and you’ll be selling well in no time. Come and find me if you need a nudge.


About the Author: For over a decade, Annie P. Ruggles has harnessed her Hulk-like disdain for hard-sales, tacky self-promotion, and overly competitive sleazeballs as inspiration to help people find better ways to grow their small business.  As The Founder of The Non-Sleazy Sales Academy, she’s guided hundreds of people toward making deeper connections, lasting impressions, and friendlier, more lucrative transactions and conversations. Her pride and joy is her podcast, Too Legitimate to Quit, which serves up instantly actionable small business strategies with a pop culture spin every Monday.

Content provided by Women Belong member Annie P Ruggles