How to Avoid Being A Sleazy Salesperson

How to Avoid Being A Sleazy Sales person with the sell button

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You don’t have to become a sleazy salesman in order to become a successful entrepreneur. Discover how to show up authentically for your audience and present your offers in a way that’s in line with your values. In this episode, I provide 3 easy strategies for connecting with your audience and increasing sales in the process.

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Kyle Gray: (00:08)

Hello, and welcome to the Story Engine Podcast. My name is Kyle Gray. I hope you all had a fantastic holiday and a happy new year. Over the holidays, I received a gift of a SodaStream.


Kyle Gray: (00:50)

So let’s kick this show off by pouring some bubbly water. Dang, I love that stuff. I’m getting started on a topic that’s pretty close to my heart. I’m super lucky to be surrounded by peers, clients, and mentors that have big visions behind what they’re doing. They’re not just in the game of entrepreneurship to make a bunch of money without any care or concern about how they get it. Now, there’s a lot more of these impact-driven entrepreneurs coming forward in the world to live their purpose and change the world. And you know what? They, too, deserve to make a big profit. And it is incredible. But one thing that super annoys me about these people, they’re letting some nonsense in their heads get in the way of actually going out and making an impact. Worse yet, they feel they are doing the right thing by hiding.


Kyle Gray: (01:56)

Here are some of the things that people say that gives you a clue that they’re doing this. I’m so sick of icky, sleazy sales tactics. Everyone is just trying to trick you into giving away your money, or I don’t want to work on my story and learn how to sell my services better with frameworks or tools because that would be inauthentic. Or I gave my client a discount. They were so excited, but they just couldn’t afford the price, and I couldn’t turn them away because I haven’t had any clients in a long time, so I just let them in. Or I taught my very best stuff on the webinar, and I was so generous with my expertise. I taught the whole webinar and only just barely mentioned my program, but somehow, in the end, nobody signed up.


Kyle Gray: (02:45)

I start to hear conversations like this, and I feel this fire bubbling up like the bubbly water that I just poured within me. Some of the time, I can stifle it, but other times, I feel overwhelmed and start shouting. You are literally harming yourself and others you could be serving with those words and thoughts. If you would use the same storytelling energy to help your audience instead of hiding from them, you could make a significant impact in this world. And I guess friends, I just censored myself by making a beeping noise with my voice. I lose control of my emotions with this because I hid my gifts behind these lies for too long.


Kyle Gray: (03:33)

All right. It’s true. There are a ton of people out there with slick sales moves that are just trying to hustle and make some money. The problem is when good people with something precious to offer to convince themselves that the only kind of sales is sleazy sales and they should not be doing it. I get it, friends. I was there too. This is the reason I feel so strongly about it. I’ve been on stages and podcasts where I’ve spent the whole time teaching, giving away great information. I wanted to teach and share how smart I was to avoid sales because I thought that if I were just generous, people would come to their conclusions about how they could work with me.


Kyle Gray: (04:15)

I wanted to make sure I covered as much as possible in a short time to dazzle them. I’d get applause, some compliments, but no customers. I would avoid sending emails to my list that made any offers or would sell anything because I was afraid that I would make people mad, or maybe people would unsubscribe from my list. I used to offer free consultation calls. And instead of talking about how we could work together or the value that I could add to them over the long term I’m working with me, I would try and coach and solve as many problems as possible right there on the call. There would be no doubt about my intelligence or abilities, but there would also be no sale and not much of a desire to work with me.


Kyle Gray: (05:05)

In rare cases, there was somebody on the line who did want to work with me. I would try and teach more and avoid the sales conversation as if I were trying to avoid letting out some embarrassing secret on an awkward first date or something. So you know what I do? I’d end the call, close up my laptop, and head to my local plasma donation center. A place where they stick a straw in you, and suck your blood out, and give you a small amount of spending money. Now, let’s ignore the fact that these so-called plasma centers are probably just a pyramid scheme set up by Dracula and his vampire minions to get my blood without having to leave the comfort of their creepy dark castles. Gratefully, it’s been a long time since I’ve traded my blood for money at a plasma center. And Dracula, if you’re listening to this right now, just know, I’m never going back, and you’re going to have to get your lazy, immoral butt off your couch, or coffin or coffin-shaped bean bag and get my blood yourself. But I digress.


Kyle Gray: (06:14)

Back to the topic at hand, Sleazy Sales. So why do sales get such a bad rep? Now, sure, as we’ve said before, there’s plenty of sleazy salesmen out there, and maybe somebody came to your door once and was pushy and tried to sell you a vacuum. Or perhaps some girl scout trick to you to cash in your 401(k) in exchange for an unlimited supply of thin mints. Or maybe you’ve seen a webinar or a presentation, where people are just pitching, pitching, pitching all the time, and it’s just annoying. Or there are only some events that you go to that everybody pitches, and it just gives you a headache, and you’re like, “Why am I even here?” That stuff sucks. I’m with you on that.


Kyle Gray: (07:00)

You see, sales are where your internal story about the value that you can provide to the world, and the real world meet. And standing by your worth, to be honest with you, is a terrifying thing, especially if you’re new to this. Maybe you have a lot of experience doing what you’re doing, but you’re just trying your hand at starting a business around it, and you’re trying to learn these skills. It’s a horrifying and deeply intimate thing that you need to manage with yourself. And you better believe that life is going to make sure that you stand by who you are and the value you can provide before it rewards you with those ideal customers, they’ll pay you what you’re worth.


Kyle Gray: (07:43)

So friend, today, I have three simple tips to help you authentically improve your sales. Let’s get into them. Step one, notice when you retreat. The first and best place to start is to see that gross feeling that comes up when you’re confronted with sales and begin to recognize it for what it is. It’s a fear of rejection. If you never try to make a sale, you can’t be rejected. This is some strange, misinformed tactic you’re using to keep yourself safe and to keep your feelings from not being hurt. Just noticing this and being aware of it happening is extremely powerful.


Kyle Gray: (08:29)

And you won’t let yourself get away with it for long. You’ll start to see the patterns emerge. You may distract yourself from a sales call or reaching out to a gatekeeper for that big speaking gig by doing something you feel safer with, like making another social media post. Or when it comes time to start selling this new product or project you’ve created. You might decide to jump onto a new shiny object and start something over because it’s easier and more fun to just stay in that ideation stage than it is to make something happen and have the courage to start selling it. When you notice, remind yourself of your bigger purpose. You didn’t just start a business to replace a tedious day job. You did it to make an impact in the lives of people who need you. And you know what? You deserve to make a good profit and to live well. Because of the skills that you have developed, and because of the value that you provide.


Kyle Gray: (09:30)

All right. Onto number two, start to see sales as a service. I learned from one of my first podcast guests, Mira Alvarez. She is an expert in selling and overcoming just these kinds of issues. Instead of seeing sales as some kind of deception, look at it as a service. To do this, you need to believe in yourself and what you’re offering as something precious. And you are trying to help this person by selling what you have to provide to them. Leave no room for doubt that your audience needs this. And by selling it to them, you’re helping them arrive at a better life or business or whatever problem that you solve for them. Are you going to let your people continue to suffer because you’re afraid of rejection? No way. It’s time to go out and serve them.


Kyle Gray: (10:25)

Number three, use frameworks. Now, there’s a common misconception that using frameworks for a sales call, a presentation, or other sales activities is inauthentic. That would be like a chef feeling guilty for using a recipe, or getting upset with guard rails on a windy mountain highway road because they are interfering with your driving. Learning to tell your story better does not make your account less accurate. It’s the opposite. You learn what’s important. You learn what the most authentic part of you is, what is the most connecting and influential piece of you. And you learn how to bring that forward. And that’s something everybody would be better off knowing.


Kyle Gray: (11:15)

There are proven time tested ways to present what you do from a stage, a webinar, social media, email, on the phone, or wherever else and get them to want to move more in-depth with you. There are ways to tell your origin story that creates a human connection with your listener. This is very different than just showing people how smart you are because facts, information, and intelligence are only a small factor, and what people need to know to decide to work with you. They want to see that you understand them on a deeper level, and you resonate with them. There are scripts to conduct enrollment and sales calls predictably and reliably so that you can stay on the tracks and stay focused on what’s important and not get lost in the weeds, or let your mindset get in your way. There are templates to make creating sales pages and email automations easier and more reliable.


Kyle Gray: (12:18)

The best thing about these frameworks is once you understand them, you can start to improvise and color outside of the lines as you see fit. You can add more of yourself on top of the frameworks, and create the most authentic version of them for you. Once you have a structure in place, you can start to go off the script on your presentations. You can tell a joke that came to mind, or address something unique that you see happening in your audience, or dive deeper into a specific topic on your enrollment calls, and then go right back on the tracks as you see fit. That means you can bring more of yourself to the conversation instead of less.


Kyle Gray: (12:57)

Another great thing about using understanding frameworks like this is when you start to be consistent in how you present and sell. You can begin to measure your performance and experiment in ways to improve it. Maybe changing a few lines in your enrollment calls can improve your sales by 5% to 10%. Perhaps removing detail from your story can do the same for your presentations. Frameworks like this that help you tell your story better, and sell more of your products, and communicate your value are the things that I want to work more with people in this coming year in my upcoming group workshops. I’ve coached hundreds of experts in these frameworks. I have seen how people light up and accelerate their business when they start to grasp how to communicate. How they get results for people. And how to overcome objections with storytelling. Introducing yourself in a way that makes people connect with you on a deeper level and want to work with you.


Kyle Gray: (14:04)

And I would like to do the same with you. So if you would like to learn more about this, you can go to the And we’ve got more information on these upcoming group workshops. And I can’t wait to see you there.


So, in conclusion, you need to change your story on sales. It’s not sleazy or deceptive to improve your skills and to try to reach more people. If you’re not doing it, there’s plenty of true sleazes out there with fewer skills and less conscience who are ready to take your place, to steal your customers, and to take the money that should be yours. So get out there, serve, sell, and make an impact. Thank you for listening.


Kyle Gray:

Thanks for listening to the Story Engine Podcast. Be sure to check out the show notes and resources mentioned on this episode and every other episode at


If you’re looking to learn more about how to use storytelling to grow your business, then check out my new book, Selling With Story: How to Use Storytelling to Become an Authority, Boost Sales, and Win the Hearts and Minds of Your Audience. This book will equip you with actionable strategies and templates to help you share your unique value and build trust in presentations, sales, and conversations, both online and offline. Learn more at 


Thanks for listening, and I’ll see you next time.