As direct sellers, the Number One thing we all want to avoid is a sales pitch that sounds too much like a stereotypically pushy used car salesman. But, sales are the bread and butter of what we do! We need to make connections. So today, we’re joined on the Modern Direct Seller Podcast by Jenn Zellers, who helps improve speakers’ skills and sales strategies. She’s armed with advice to help you add value to your sales requests, connect with your customers, and cultivate a sleaze-free vibe that will keep people coming back for more!

Connect with Jenn on Instagram @VirtualSummitSearch, email her at Hello@VirtualSummitSearch, or learn your speaking style by taking her quiz at


Time based notes:

  • 1:37 Jenn Zellers introduction
  • 2:08 Sleaze-free sales tactics
  • 5:05 Value-add sales examples
  • 10:59 Questions for customers
  • 13:29 Visibility through speaking
  • 18:03 Sales gone wrong
  • 21:30 Jenn’s favorite office supply


Improve Your Sales Vibe and Add Value with Jenn Zellers

As direct sellers, the Number One thing we all want to avoid is a sales pitch that sounds too much like a stereotypically pushy used car salesman. But, sales are the bread and butter of what we do! So recently, we were joined on the Modern Direct Seller Podcast by Jenn Zellers, who came armed with advice to help you add value to your sales requests, connect with your customers, and cultivate a sleaze-free vibe that will keep people coming back for more!


So, Jenn, tell us just a little bit about yourself, and what you do, and who you serve.

At Virtual Summit Search, we work with folks to improve their speaking skills and the sales strategies that they can use while they’re speaking. I do more of the strategy side. And then, my husband is our speakers coach. So, he does all of the actual interview and speaking skills side of things, because he’s taught at university level, he’s coached competitive public speakers, and so he’s got that side locked down.


I love that. You know that sales often gets a bad rep. What is your best advice to make sales in a way that doesn’t feel sleazy or icky or have that used-car-salesman vibe we all worry about?

I very strongly subscribe to my sleaze-free sales strategy, because, yeah, I’ve actually had that literal used car salesman—like, the sleazy used car salesman—experience. And, it’s really not fun. Like, I’ve written a whole piece on that, because even if we haven’t experienced that, we know that whole stereotype. And, it’s a stereotype for a reason. And, I know that when I was doing direct selling for a while, that was what I felt like I was going to come across as. And honestly, if you’re feeling that way, that’s a pretty good indicator that you’re not going to come across as sleazy, simply because you’re in it for the right reasons. So, you need to change up your mindset a little bit. View it as more of a value-add to your customer; you’re giving them something that’s going to improve their life in some way, whatever it is, depending on what you’re selling. That’s really the way that you want to approach it in order to make those sales without feeling gross about it.


I love what you said right there, because I think sometimes it’s all in our head, right? We worry that we’re being too sleazy, or we’re being too salesy, or we’re being too icky. But, like you said, if you’re thinking about that, you’re thinking about how you can approach things in a genuine, authentic way, and so your customers do feel that value that you’re delivering.

So, when we think about that value, maybe you could give us some examples of what that looks like, or the mindset behind, “I have something really good to offer my customer, and they need to know what that value looks like,” in practice? Because, I think sometimes we get so stuck in our head when it comes to asking for a sale that we’re like, “Is it salesy and gross? Or, is it okay? When’s the right time to ask? When does it feel icky?” And, I know many of our members in the Modern Direct Seller Academy get hung up on the subjection of, “Should I ask or should I not?” And then, we decide not to. And then, we’re bummed that we’re not hitting our sales numbers.

So, first off, if we’re not asking, a lot of the time people feel weird asking us how to buy. When you go to the grocery store, you don’t have to ask them, “Hey, how do I purchase these eggs?” They’ve built in a system so you know exactly where to go, exactly how to pay, exactly how to ring them up or give them to the cashier. So, you want to make sure that you make it clear how to buy from you, because they may want to and not be sure how to do that.

But, I’d love to get really specific about conveying value and how that’s going to make customers want to buy. So, do you want to give me examples of some of the products that your folks are selling?


Yeah, let’s do it! Let’s go with the Pampered Chef airfryer.

All right. So, that is something that I know is probably going to be a higher-ticket item. And, for a lot of folks, it may be something that they don’t think about needing. So, what you want to be doing is showing them how they can use that. Show them, “Okay, so while your other stuff is cooking in the oven, you don’t have to go and worry about getting the French fries ready. You can have a few batches of those going in the airfryer while you’re cooking this in the deep-dish baker in the oven.” Help them to see it in their individual life, especially if you can do kind of like I did here and ask, “Hey, tell me about your process when you’re cooking.” And, if it’s a group party, maybe pick three people, and show them in each of their individual lives how this item is going to build into their everyday routine, make their life better, and things like that.

What would be another one?


Let’s talk about skincare.

So, a lot of the time for folks with skincare, we feel like, “Okay, this as a luxury. This is not something I need”—even though we genuinely do need skincare, especially as we age. So, it is really good to have a target audience, so you can really dig deep into how they’re going to use it. You might end up specializing in women over 40, you might end up specializing in college students, but really get to know what they’re doing and how they’re using it.

So, for college students, you might want to focus really hard on how quickly they can use this particular skincare routine. Customize it to what they need. Make sure that they understand how it works with their skin type. And, you know, let’s be real: If you’re talking with a bunch of college girls, you might be explaining, “Okay, so this is how it’s going to make you look all glowy.” Build into what they’re really wanting to get out of it. Don’t just say, “Oh, it’s going to help your skin to age better,” because 18 to 22 year olds aren’t thinking that much about how they’re going to look when they’re 50.

But, if you’re talking to women over 40, you may want to be talking about that anti-aging aspect. You’re going to want to find out what their current routine is and help them find gaps in it that your products can fill, or how they’re going to save time, or what their real pain point is that maybe they didn’t even think about it. Maybe they need you to help pull that out so they can say, “Oh, I didn’t even realize, foundation is really important. It’s not just the base for makeup. It’s actually what’s protecting my face throughout the day.” I you can dig into what they’re missing and how you can improve their skincare routine in this case, it’s going to be a lot easier to make those sales without feeling gross.


I love those examples, because I feel like anyone listening right now would be like, “That totally makes sense. I understand the value there.” But, I think when we’re selling it, and we’re the one asking, and we’re the one reaching out to our friends or family or followers and inviting them to learn more, that’s where we kind of just put this mental block in and think, “Gosh, should I tell them why this would be great for them, or is that going to come across icky?” So, I think sometimes we’re just too in it. And, because we’re so far in it, we think we’re being salesy, when we’re really actually just talking about how great the product is and how it’s going to improve your life.

Yeah. And, especially if you are coming at it from a place of curiosity, that’s what’s going to help you, because you are genuinely interested in how this is going to work into their lives and how it’s going to make their lives better. You’re not doing it just for the sale. You’re doing it for them, and they’re going to see that, and that’s going to come across really, really strongly if that is your true motivator.


And, I think when you’re curious, you’re asking questions. So, that might be a good starting point, as you’re thinking about your business and your products. What questions can you ask your customers or your leads to help find them to a solution?

Yep. And, the more that you do that, the more questions you’re going to start to put into your repertoire. And, you’re going to have certain ones that you can come back to, but then there will be some that will just come up because you’re asking questions, and you’ll go, “Oh, I should dig deeper into this.” And, the more you do it, the better you’re going to be at it, and the easier the sales are going to feel, because all of that that we just talked about, that care and curiosity, is going to come across.

And then, you are also able to bring in other customers and say, “Well, Sarah really enjoys this. And, Sarah is also a busy mom of three, who doesn’t have a lot of time for her skincare routine, or who’s always rushing to get dinner ready and needs that extra piece of equipment to help her stay on top of that.” If you’re able to bring other people into it and show them how you’ve helped them and how your product can help them, it’s going to be even easier to sell. Again, it’s not about you. It’s about them, and these people could be just like them and their friends.


So, from your perspective, what’s the Number One thing that you see that people are doing wrong, or icky, or spammy, or salesy, or gross when it comes to online sales? And then, let’s talk about how we can do it better.

I think it’s just that mindset piece. Don’t come at it from scarcity, where you’re saying, “Okay, I have to make $500 this month”—or whatever your target goal is. “If I don’t hit it, I’m not going to eat.” That may be true. But, that doesn’t mean that’s how you want to come at it when you are presenting it to customers. You want to present things as storytelling, a not pity party. So, it’s not, “Go on, give me a sale, because otherwise my kids and I are not going to eat this month.” It’s, “Hey, this is how I’m teaching my kids entrepreneurship skills. This is how they helped me fulfill the orders.” It’s really about are you coming into this for them? Or, are you coming into this for you? And, that’s really going to make a huge difference in how sleazy you come off, and whether people trust you in order to buy from you.


Yeah, because they do need to trust you to buy from you. And, I think in the direct sales space, we’re guilty of doing this at month end. I mean, you see some of those posts that come in on the 29th, the 30th, the 31st of the month—because everything’s based on monthly sales—where somebody’s trying to hit a bonus, earn an incentive, reach a certain sales goal, and saying, “Hey, I’m $247.92 away from my sales goal. Can I get three orders to help me out?” And, I don’t know about you, but that’s not what motivates me to order from somebody.

No. Especially because they want to see you already being successful. That helps build that trust. So, take people along the journey with you. Do behind-the-scenes content in your Instagram Stories, or even in your posts, and help them become part of the journey. You can give them updates, but it needs to come from a place of, “We’re in this together” rather than “I need you to help me.”


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