Alex Pursglove On How To Be Great At Sales Without Seeming Salesy

Authority Magazine Editorial Staff
Authority Magazine
Published in
23 min readNov 9, 2023

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People will buy for their reasons, not yours. Make sure before you make the offer that you have fully uncovered what the person wants and what is the urgency for them to get what they want. If the person has no urgency for your solutions, they will not buy.

As a part of my series about how to be great at closing sales without seeming pushy, obnoxious, or salesy, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alex Pursglove.

From embracing personal growth and shifting limiting beliefs, Alex Pursglove transformed from a people-pleasing, self-criticizing, and struggling solopreneur into an unapologetic and passionate woman running a thriving business. She witnessed her business 10X in growth in under two years while simultaneously strengthening her marriage, deepening her spirituality, and finding greater personal fulfillment. Alex’s mission is to guide women to become fully expressed and break through limitations to elevate business growth, while living with more joy and ecstasy in daily life.

Thank you for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this career path?

At 24 years old, I heard a nurse tell me from the other end of the phone, “It’s a solid pseudopapillary tumor with cancerous tissue.” She was providing the results from a scan of a mass in my pancreas. Needless to say, this turned my world upside down in an instant. It became very clear to me that I wanted to start experiencing so much more joy and love in my life. I was working in the film industry at the time as an errand girl, not even scratching the surface of my potential. I was in a toxic relationship and my self-esteem was at an all-time low. I was a people-pleaser, riddled with self-doubt and imposter syndrome. After sobbing for hours by myself on my bathroom floor and reflecting on my life, I made a vow to myself that I was going to learn how to become unapologetic in who I really am and to make so much more of a significant impact with my life.

This began what has now become a 12-year quest to live my most fully expressed life, a life full of passion, purpose and ecstasy. I discovered the world of personal development in 2016, launched my business, and by 2020, I began investing in working with world-class mentors to help me grow my business from a place of surviving to thriving. Not only did my mentors teach me business strategies and how to lead powerful sales, but they also helped me become the woman that I desired to be… a woman who is convicted in her value and fully expressed.

From elevating my practices in business and personal growth, I witnessed my business 10X in under two years, I transformed the intimacy in my marriage, and deepened my sense of personal fulfillment. This ignited a passion in me to guide other entrepreneurs in elevating revenue and results while living with more ecstasy in day-to-day life.

Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or takeaway you took out of that story?

While I grew tired of my potential feeling stifled in the film industry, I did have a few experiences that were wildly fun and exciting for me. When I was working as an office production assistant on an NBC Television Show, the Stunts Director asked me if I would participate as a stunt double for one of the guest stars the next day, since I matched her height and the double from LA had backed out. That sounded like a great deal of fun to me, I had always been fascinated by special effects and stunts. I said yes before I even knew what the stunt would be.

In the show, the character jumps out of a second story window to escape her husband who is chasing her down. Thus, I was tasked with jumping out of a window that was 18 feet above the ground and landing in a pile of cardboard boxes. As a stunt double, not only was I going to make triple my weekly salary in one day, but it was also refreshing to get out of the office for a day to hang out on set with the stunt crew, who taught me behind-the-scenes tricks, like how they use candy glass when someone gets thrown through a window.

We were shooting on location in a neighborhood and members of the community gathered around to watch them film me jumping out of the window. Each time I ran to the window, jumped, and landed in the boxes, I felt a rush of adrenaline and excitement. This was a new adventure for me. It was such a change up from sitting in an office, making copies, and running errands all day. I was on cloud nine the rest of that week.

It woke me up for a while from the auto-pilot mode I had been stuck in, because it reminded me of what it was like to wake up feeling excited for the day ahead. It was soon after my stunt double job that I decided I was not going to renew for the second season as an office production assistant. Instead, I applied to work at the Dallas International Film Festival and received a position as the Events Manager, which came with more interesting responsibilities.

While my one day as a stunt double in Hollywood was at the beginning of my career, it taught me a very valuable lesson. When you break free from the cycle of grind and instead, embrace new adventures and follow what actually lights you up inside — even if it is uncomfortable — you unlock the doors to more creativity and to seeing more opportunities that are around you.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Absolutely, I’m on the verge of launching a unique community catered to passionate and impact-driven women business owners called the Expansive Visionaries Collective.

This community is carefully crafted to provide exceptional support for entrepreneurs seeking to supercharge their business strategies, increase visibility, and elevate personal transformation, while connecting deeply with other growth-minded and spiritually evolving leaders.

In my experience, it is not always easy to find other entrepreneurs who are not only powerhouses in business, but also committed to growing in personal consciousness and relationships. This is a space for women who value substance over small talk and who want to uplift others in practice, not just in lip service.

Developing meaningful relationships with people who are genuinely invested in uplifting one another is a game-changer in taking your business to new heights. These kinds of connections, coupled with ongoing insights and education, ignite fresh ideas, foster expansive thinking, unveil ingenious solutions, and expand your network for potential collaborations, referrals, opportunities, and valuable resources.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Yes. I spent the first four years of growing my business in a two-step forward, one-step back pattern. I struggled to take my business beyond surviving to thriving on my own. At the very beginning of 2020, I made a decision to invest in working with a private mentor, Sloane from Warriors of the Heart, that stretched me beyond what I ever thought was possible for me. Working with her changed my life and business. Not only did it ignite my quantum leap of creating 10X revenue growth in under two years, but it changed how I feel about myself and see myself on a daily basis. She showed me how to let go of the fears of what people think and be confident in who I really am.

Also at that time, my husband Adam was integral in supporting my success. While my decision to work with Sloane brought up fear for Adam initially, he made a decision to choose to believe in me and to trust me. This was an incredible gift for me to feel my husband’s faith in me. On days that I was struggling to believe in myself, I borrowed his belief in me until I moved past my fear.

While we can never control how our spouses respond to our business decisions, this taught me a valuable lesson that the community with which we surround ourselves is so important. Are we surrounded by people who bring up doubt in ourselves, or by people who help us see what is possible and encourage us?

For the benefit of our readers, can you tell us a bit why you are an authority on the topic of sales?

Less than 5 years ago, I was intimidated by sales. I believed that I was not charming or charismatic enough to be good at sales. I was stuck in growing my revenue because I was resisting embracing sales. When I finally surrendered to the belief that if I am meant to be an entrepreneur, then I am meant to become good at sales — because sales is the lynchpin of your business after all — I began my journey to sales mastery.

From diving deep into the study of sales and personal growth simultaneously, I saw 10X revenue growth in my business in under two years. I have personally sold over $1.2 million in revenue through sales conversations, without automation or products. I implement sales training into all of my programs, and the majority of my clients 2X-4X revenue in under a year from this guidance.

Ok. Thanks for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. As you know, nearly any business a person will enter, will involve some form of sales. At the same time, most people have never received any formal education about how to be effective at selling. Why do you think our education system teaches nearly every other arcane subject, but sales, one of the most useful and versatile topics, is totally ignored?

Education often prioritizes hard skills while not giving enough emphasis to the significance of soft skills, mindset, and personal empowerment. I believe that the exclusion of sales from formal education is closely linked to the omission of personal self-development, as the two are closely related. Success in sales isn’t solely about implementing strategies; it also hinges on how you present yourself in the process.

For instance, people-pleasing and seeking approval can be detrimental to effective selling. My research supports the notion that seeking approval from others during sales can hinder conversion rates. A recent study conducted by the Objective Management Group, which involved 450,000 salespeople, revealed a significant contrast: 89% of top performers stated that they don’t require approval, while 86% of those with weaker sales records indicated a need for approval. Empowered and effective sales result from a greater emphasis on serving the other person rather than seeking their favor.

This discussion, entitled, “How To Be Great At Sales Without Seeming Salesy”, is making an assumption that seeming salesy or pushy is something to be avoided. Do you agree with this assumption? Whether yes, or no, can you articulate why you feel the way you do?

We can never ultimately control how someone chooses to perceive us; we can only influence their perception. I see being “salesy” or “pushy” as how we act when we are in “manipulative sales mentality.” This means we are trying to talk someone into buying from us at all costs. We are going to convince them that they should say yes, and possibly not let up until they do. I am not a believer in manipulative sales strategies, so I do agree with not being pushy in action.

Now, the only thing we have total control over is how we show up and communicate information. Thus, I put less emphasis on thinking about how someone might see me, or trying to avoid seeming pushy, and instead, explore the truth of what is actually motivating me on the inside.

Am I being “salesy” or “pushy” by trying to convince someone to work with me? If I am driven by a belief that this person needs to say yes to me, then I am most likely going to be pushy, and they will feel that from me. If I am exploring from a place of genuine curiosity if this person is a fit for my offers and discover that they are a fit, then I am going to offer the opportunity to work with me in order to benefit them.

I have termed this approach “heart-centered selling”, which is void of convincing, and rather illuminates clarity for someone on whether they are a “yes” or a “no” for the solutions you provide through your offer, product, or service. In order to help someone find clarity on whether or not they are a fit for what you offer, you must cultivate a duality within you of being completely convicted in the value that your offer provides, while letting go of attachment to any one person needing to be a “yes”. This way, you can explore genuinely if people actually want your offers and will benefit from them.

The seven stages of a sales cycle are usually broken down to versions of Prospecting, Preparation, Approach, Presentation, Handling objections, Closing, and Follow-up. Which stage do you feel that you are best at? What is your unique approach, your “secret sauce”, to that particular skill? Can you explain or give a story?

My secret sauce when it comes to the Presentation stage of the sales process lies in a heart-centered approach. Many people tend to approach the presentation stage with the mindset of delivering a pitch to “convince someone to buy from them.” I’ve been there, and I used to do that too — preparing elaborate presentations, explanations, descriptions, and testimonials to prove the value of my offer.

In my heart-centered sales approach, the effectiveness of the presentation stage hinges on two critical factors. First, you must wholeheartedly believe in the value you have to offer. People will only perceive the value of your product or service as much as you do. Second, you need to have absolute clarity and confidence in how your offer will benefit your ideal client or customer, including the outcomes they can achieve through it. People don’t buy the “how” of your offering; they buy “what” it will do for them — the new results they will obtain. Third, you must be convinced that the price of your offer is equal to or greater than the value it delivers.

Once you are confident in the value, you can let go of the energy of “needing to prove it” and approach the presentation stage with the belief that your offer is a no-brainer for your ideal client. The focus shifts to illuminating the value and understanding whether this person wants the outcomes you can provide and how urgently they desire those outcomes. If they are interested in the solutions and consider them a priority, they are more likely to make the purchase.

My teaching emphasizes that the most effective way to determine if the person is a good fit for the value you offer and to help them gain clarity about their desire is by asking questions and guiding them through a conversation, rather than telling them why they should buy.

People generally don’t want to be told what to do, but they do respond positively to others showing interest in them. Also, our brains are wired to answer questions. When we’re asked a question, we reactively think about the answer.

By asking insightful questions that help individuals explore their wants, why they haven’t achieved them yet, how crucial it is to attain those desires, and whether they are willing to take the necessary steps, you can help your prospect determine if they genuinely desire what you offer and are ready to make a purchase. Guiding someone through their decision-making process, where they discover the value of your solutions on their own, leads to a prospect who is eager to buy from you. If they really want what you have to give, they are excited to buy.

In contrast, when you try to pressure or scare someone into buying, or attempt to convince them, you’re more likely to end up with a buyer who experiences remorse after the purchase, if they buy at all. On the opposite end, if you remain passive or timid about the value you offer instead of boldly sharing it, you will rarely close the deal.

Last year, I had a new prospect sign up for a call with me following a workshop. She said she didn’t “really need a business coach right now because everything was going fine” but she liked my energy and wanted to learn more about me for “someday in the future.” As I led her through a conversation about what she really wanted and what was challenging her, we discovered that no matter how much success she was creating in her business, she was constantly stuck in a pattern of overwhelm. She was afraid to pursue her bigger vision, because she was convinced that to reach that goal, she would have to grind it out even more and work harder.

Once I helped her see that this was a limiting belief and that it was not the amount of money she was making that was keeping her stuck, she was mind blown. She wanted to break her pattern of overwhelm immediately. Now she saw for herself why it would benefit her to work with me now and not wait for the future. She made a leap outside her comfort zone by deciding to invest more money than she had ever spent on a coach before, but she was excited and eager to begin. And she had come to the sales call not expecting to buy. An aggressive pitch would not have worked. She needed to be seen, heard, understood, and guided in a conversation to figure out what she really needed to solve her problems.

Lead generation, or prospecting, is one of the basic steps of the sales cycle. Obviously, every industry will be different, but can you share some of the fundamental strategies you use to generate good, qualified leads?

While we have experimented with different marketing and sales strategies over the years, as they are always evolving, my fundamental strategy is built on forming new relationships with people (especially with a service-based business, sales is all about relationships!) and inviting them to an opportunity to experience my coaching in action, so that they can see for themselves how I can help them in life and business.

For example, from 2020 through early 2022, I used Facebook advertising to bring prospects into a live Masterclass series, and at the end, we pitched a group program that I ran at the time for women entrepreneurs. This system worked very well for us for two years, as over 75% of the clients that enrolled in my group program came from Facebook ads. I created my ads very specifically to speak to my ideal client’s pain points and desires. I practice knowing the ins and outs of my ideal client so that I know where to connect with them and how to speak to them. What online groups are they in, what events do they attend, who do they follow, where do they spend their time? How can I connect with them and speak to them?

In my experience, I think the final stages of Handling Objections, Closing, and Follow-up, are the most difficult parts for many people. Why do you think ‘Handling Objections’ is so hard for people? What would you recommend for one to do, to be better at ‘Handling Objections’?

It’s crucial to begin by identifying the source of the objection. Is it because the person doesn’t genuinely want to purchase your offer and felt pressured to respond, or do they genuinely desire what you’re offering but are hindered by fear or doubt about what’s possible for them? Or perhaps they want your offer, but the timing isn’t right for them?

I define the process of Handling Objections as addressing the fears and concerns that arise once the prospect recognizes the fit, acknowledges their desire for your solutions, and they know it is important to them to receive the solutions now.

Handling Objections can feel challenging when you are worried about how the other person will react to you, or when you find yourself personally entangled in the same limitations they face. It’s challenging to guide someone through a limitation that you’re experiencing yourself.

For example, if you habitually seek discounts and make buying decisions based on finding the cheapest deal, then if what you are selling is not the “cheapest deal” on the marketplace, how could you help someone see why it’s beneficial to buy from you instead of the cheaper option? In such a scenario, you will not fully convey the value of your offer because it is not lining up with your belief system that “you are better off buying the cheapest option.”

To improve your skill in Handling Objections, it’s essential to first understand the subconscious patterns influencing people’s buying decisions and fears. What prompts individuals to doubt their desires or reconsider their choices?

Second, you can sharpen your ability to ask insightful questions that help individuals gain clarity about their priorities and true desires.

Last and most importantly, becoming someone who embodies the practice of creating what you want and defying limitations supports you in being able to guide others more powerfully through their own obstacles.

‘Closing’ is of course the proverbial Holy Grail. Can you suggest 5 things one can do to successfully close a sale without being perceived as pushy?

To best answer this question, I’ll first clarify that I consider “closing a sale” as guiding someone to clarity on if they are a “yes” or a “no.” I don’t encourage my clients to focus on “closing the deal” because this has a flavor of “get the sale no matter what.” I don’t ever believe in convincing people to buy from you. I believe in finding the people who truly want your solutions and if they do, then yes, be direct about how you can help them. Own your value. Shout it from the rooftops that your offer will benefit them. And, it’s up to this person to decide if they want it and are willing to pay for it. You are there to demonstrate the value, to illuminate the possibilities, and to guide them to clarity.

Once you have found your ideal customer — the person who wants your solutions and has urgency to get them — then yes, there are things you can do to help finalize, or close, the sale.

1 . People will buy for their reasons, not yours. Make sure before you make the offer that you have fully uncovered what the person wants and what is the urgency for them to get what they want. If the person has no urgency for your solutions, they will not buy.

For example, I once had a client tell me that if she didn’t change her current habits as a business owner, wife, and new mom who was constantly in grind, overwhelm and stress, that she would have a heart attack before she turned 35. Now this was urgency. She was not used to spending money on herself, she had never invested with a coach before. If I had hopped into the conversation immediately telling her why she should work with me as a coach because I’ve helped so many women accelerate revenue and results, she may have thought, “That’s great, but I don’t spend money like that on myself.” We first had to uncover her reasons and her urgency. She wasn’t buying my program to help her double to quadruple her revenue, she was buying my offer because she didn’t want to have a heart attack and knew she needed to change her life. This was worth spending the money for her. She got to see that prioritizing herself and investing in something that she deeply desired was in service to her family too.

2. If a person is unsure, they are not clear on what they want or the urgency.

Not that long ago, I was talking to a woman about joining a program and she was on the fence. It hit me, “She’s unsure, we didn’t cover urgency deeply enough.” I realized that I had asked her why it matters to her to grow her business now, but she had skipped over the answer. So, I went back to it. “I understand being unsure, this is a big decision. What happens in the next 6 months if you don’t put your stake in the ground for what you want with your business now?” Her eyes got wide, and she said, “Oh my god! I’ll be in the same place I’m in now. That’s not an option for me. I have to make this work!” Now she realized that she was a “yes” because she wanted the solutions I offer and she didn’t want to wait to get them.

3. Be willing to be vulnerable. Share your authentic reasons for why you want someone to invest in themselves and the solutions they desire.

For instance, after I have explored why someone wants to work with me and the urgency, if I see the fit and I am excited to work with this person, I share why I would love to guide them. I want them to know all the possibilities I see for them and why I am a “yes.” It takes vulnerability to put yourself out there and tell someone that you want them to buy from you because you want to work with them. You are risking rejection. For me, this has always felt like a more authentic approach. And when I am vulnerable, it gives them permission to be vulnerable too.

4. Let go of “needing” to close the sale. If someone is a no, celebrate the no. If they are a no, that means they are not the right client or customer for you. You want ideal clients. It is so much more fun and fulfilling to grow a business with ideal, aligned clients.

I learned this from experience. I used to take whoever I could get, so that I could prove to myself that I could really do this. That served me in the very beginning to show me I could “close sales”, but quickly, the non-ideal clients became a headache and made me start to doubt my coaching abilities. Misaligned clients ultimately make you question your value and as I’ve shared, people will only believe in the value as much as you do. If you are not convinced of the value that you offer, you will never experience abundance and freedom in sales.

In the same token, let go of the fear of rejection. Rejection does not actually make your life worse; it just stays the same. Also, what this person thinks about you does not matter. What matters is their clarity. That is your job on a sales call — help this person get clear on if they are a “yes” or a “no.” One of my former mentors, David Neagle, used to say that you can never discourage the “right client.” If you know they want it, if you know the urgency is there, don’t be afraid to challenge their excuses and to help them see what is possible. Don’t be afraid to own the value fully by sharing clearly and powerfully how you see your offer helping them.

The sales call is not about you. It’s not about this person liking you or not liking you. It’s about serving them in getting clarity. David Neagle also used to say that “Sales is not something you do to someone; it is something you do for someone.” Let it be for and about this person.

5. People must believe that you are their best chance at creating their desired outcomes in order to buy. Research shows us that people buy based on their feelings, and then they use logic to justify their decisions. They buy when they feel like buying. To feel like buying, they need to believe that you are low-risk and the best chance at getting what they want.

I had a client that was focusing heavily on sales at the beginning of our work together. She was booking plenty of sales calls but struggling with conversions. First, we evaluated if she was simply getting on calls with non-ideal prospects. That wasn’t the issue, many of these prospects were solid leads. So, we dug deeper. This client was a career coach for other women and on top of helping with tactical strategies like resume writing and interview skills, part of her offer was to help women believe they deserve a career at a higher level and to own their salary requirements. What we discovered from auditing her calls together was that this client was people-pleasing on her sales calls. She was trying to get the prospects to like her. In doing this, she was not demonstrating for her potential clients that she was their best shot at helping them stand in their own unapologetic confidence, because she was not showing them hers. As a coach, how could she teach them to do what she was not doing for herself?

We worked on this together and she began showing up as her unapologetic and confident self on her sales calls, she started claiming her value and distinguishing herself. She showed her ideal clients why she was the best person to help them get what they want by letting go of her own timidness. Within a month, she closed three new clients for her premium offer.

Finally, what are your thoughts about ‘Follow up’? Many businesses get leads who might be interested but things never seem to close. What are some good tips for a business leader to successfully follow up and bring things to a conclusion, without appearing overly pushy or overeager?

Follow up when it makes sense for the other person to know what you are following up about. Don’t fabricate why you are following up. Be honest. Be clear. Present the opportunities.

Make your follow ups personal. I like to follow up with calls, video or voice messages if I have already had a sales call with someone. If it has been some time, and I’m following up about a new opportunity, I may use a text or email, but I’m always sharing my personal and authentic reasons with why I am bringing the opportunity to this person.

If you know you have incredible value to offer, stand in it. Let the prospect know with excitement why you are following up, why you are sharing the opportunity. Speak to their problem and then connect the dots between their problem and your solutions. Share what you see as the urgency.

Then, let go and trust. If they want it, they will respond. If they don’t, they won’t — or they will tell you no. Focus on the people who want your offers. Spend the most time with them.

As you know there are so many modes of communication today. For example, In-person, phone calls, video calls, emails, and text messages. In your opinion, which of these communication methods should be avoided when attempting to close a sale or follow up? Which are the best ones? Can you explain or give a story?

I recommend prioritizing in-person, phone calls, or video calls to close a sale. Unless you are selling a product that is under $1,000, don’t use emails or texts to try to close a deal. Tone of voice matters, your energy matters, and being able to ask questions and explore what the person really wants matters.

One time, I had a client send me a text message that she wanted to drop out of my group coaching program about halfway through. I was taken by surprise, she had created a lot of success in the program, including more than tripling her monthly revenue. We were back to negotiating a sale. If I had responded via text and told her why I thought she should stay in the program, I guarantee she would have left the group. Instead, I responded and asked to get on a call with her. I knew if she was willing to get on a call with me, her mind wasn’t made up yet. She agreed.

On the call, I asked her questions, I dug deeper with genuine curiosity. Why did she want to leave? What were her concerns? Did her priorities change, what matters to her now? We discovered that there were some family concerns that had presented themselves at home. From reflecting on my questions, she came to her own clarity that she wanted to figure out how to make adjustments at home so that she could stay in the program, because she was creating new results in her business and in her self-confidence. She said she was actually happier in her home life than ever before. We figured out together how she could stay, and the sale was closed again — while both of us felt good about it.

Ok, we are nearly done. Here is our final “meaty” question. You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I truly believe that one of the most influential movements would be centered around empowering fully expressed women. Every person is born with innate beauty and greatness within them. We are all born valuable, worthy, and good enough. When we embrace this inner worth and allow others to see our unique qualities, gifts, and greatness, we inspire them to do the same. By shedding our own fears and judgments, we create a safe space for others to be seen with compassion and care. As we express our true selves and let others witness it, we uplift humanity.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can find my website at: www.alexpursglove.com, and you can also find me on Instagram at @alexpursglove and LinkedIn here.

Thank you for the interview. We wish you only continued success!

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