Rhonda Petit of 3x5 Coaching: How To Be Great At Sales Without Seeming Salesy

Authority Magazine
Authority Magazine
Published in
15 min readMar 9, 2022


… Ask yourself if you are comfortable making decisions and if you believe in the value of what you sell. Let’s say you are closing a $100k deal, and you’re nervous because you can’t imagine spending that type of money yourself. If you wouldn’t be confident to make the decision to purchase your product, those emotions of disbelief are getting relayed to your customer. If you are acting like you think it’s insane to spend that much money, your customer will doubt the value too.

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 Rhonda Petit.

Rhonda Petit is an author, speaker, and Sales and Business Peak Performance Coach with 35 years of B2B Sales and Sales Management experience in corporate America in the life sciences and diagnostic markets. Today she works enthusiastically with corporations and individuals with champion mindsets, who know school is never out, who want to continually grow to unleash and activate more of their true potential and power. She helps people discover their deepest desires, leverage the untapped potential in their hearts, activate their potential and achieve their personal and professional goals so they can create the life they want and realize true fulfillment.

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?

I was always interested in (and good at) science and math in school. When I was 12, my mom and dad started a side hustle selling Amway. They would have meetings, draw circles, and talk about the difference of living out a 40-year plan vs. a 5-year plan. I first hand saw my parents transition from poverty consciousness into prosperity consciousness and the contrast was a beautiful thing.

I knew that I too wanted to experience prosperity and unlimited potential so in college I pursued a dual major in Chemistry & Business Administration. My plan was to stay in the chemistry arena but be on the business side of things. My parents had an annual subscription to Success Unlimited Magazine and I had read that a sales career was the highest paid career one could have because commission was uncapped. This led to my decision to go into sales and I fell in love with it. Earning a sale by helping people solve problems, and bringing order and clarity to their minds, to help them cause a desired transformation is extremely fulfilling.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now?

I started a newsletter this year called the Transformation Times where I provide free quality content on how to use mindset mastery to be the cause of your life using Universal Laws for success, how to develop a coherent heart and brain, and start experiencing a life of purpose with meaning to experience fulfillment and joy. I am also making an audiobook of The Spirit of Selling, my book that was recently released.

How do you think that will help people?

Audiobooks are great because listening to a book goes beyond just the words. It’s the old adage, it’s not what you say but how you say it. Voice quality conveys more meaning with tone, inflection etc. Audiobooks are also great for time management given they are portable and you can listen to them while working out or traveling. I’m excited to get it out there.

As for the newsletter, I believe there is an unprecedented evolution going on. I say it’s an unprecedented evolution because we’ve come to understand the quantum field of our potential and know our past no longer has to have a hold on us and predict our future. We can take our power back. Our power is not out there, it lies in the divinity within each and every one of us.

My intention is to use the newsletter as a means to capture current industry trends and challenges and provide some golden nugget summary tips in a 2-page newsletter that is easy to reference. I want to spread and circulate the good news and inspire others to create a compelling future by design that pulls them forward in an unprecedented way to sell well and sell more with ease and flow.

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?

That is so true! I’ve been blessed with so many great mentors along the way. However, the person I am most grateful towards to this day is Roger McFillan, the VP Sales at J.T.Baker who hired me when I was 21 years old and had no commercial B2B sales experience. God bless him. He passed suddenly at the age of 40, but he left a legacy and touched the hearts of so many people. I talk about the story in the first chapter of my book.

I was working at Stauffer Chemical as an intern in my senior year of college. My lab manager told me their chemical sales rep position was vacant and that I should apply for it, so I did. They flew me to Allentown for an interview which was a big deal at the time. During the interview I told Roger if he gave me a chance, I’d knock his socks off. I did not get that job. They hired another candidate for the Western PA position.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I must have made a good impression. About a month later, they called me and offered me the position for Eastern PA. Roger believed it was better for a young person out of college not to live in their own home town for their first job. I guess he figured if I was serious and the desire was strong enough to be willing to risk leaving home to pursue it, that both the company and I had skin in the game for our success. He was right. I achieved and exceeded my sales quota seven times in my eight-year tenure.

Roger had a passion and love for selling that was infectious. You could not help but feel that your job as a sales person was to become a pro, to strive for excellence and do your best. He taught me most of all to be loud and proud of my profession. He transferred his belief to his sales team that selling was the greatest profession in the world.

Watching him in a sales call was like watching Tiger Woods play golf or Tom Brady play football. His creative mental faculties of his will, intuition, perspective, imagination, memory and reason were fine-tuned and he was always creating value. He also had the perfect empathy and ego balance for persuasion to emotionally connect with a client and lead them on a path to their promised land.

He drilled two things into my mind at that young age:

  1. “You have two ears for a reason, use them. Don’t think about you, get in your client’s moccasins and walk with them. Seek to understand before being understood.”
  2. “Go to the mountain and scope out the complete view of the situation. Don’t get lost in the details, the trees in the forest, work from the top of the mountain first. Identify all the people being impacted by the problem or challenge. One person’s perspective is not necessarily reality. Seek the truth. You earn a sale by securing all four legs of a chair. Uncover the user buyer, the technical buyer, the economic buyer and find yourself a coach. If you rely on a one-legged chair, you will fall. Dig wide and deep on your discovery.”

His advice has been timeless and so beneficial for me over the last four decades.

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

Sales is an infinite game but the principles never change. There will always be new things to learn and adapt to in a marketplace that is always changing and evolving. Selling is an act of service, doing something FOR a customer, the process of creating value. Selling is the process of understanding what a customer wants and helping them get what they want. Selling is an act of leadership, you become the guide and help your customer be the hero by helping them through their transformation.

I am a continuous learner playing an infinite game of selling. I have 37 years of B2B sales and sales management experience, and have combined my experience with mindset coaching. Universal Law is timeless and I believe is the secret to sales success. Many sales executives soar and then experience a plateau in their careers when they’ve earned a certain title or income, which makes them feel frustrated and uninspired.

I coach B2B sales executives to transform their mindset so they can release the virtual chains that keep them stuck and move forward inspired in their career to play full out in complete control of their destiny.

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?

Yes, you are right, school doesn’t teach you about sales and it doesn’t teach you about how to earn money. Perhaps it’s due to limited time, or habitual behavior. I believe the original school curriculum was reading, writing and arithmetic. Basic skills to survive in society. In the USA, the first schools began in the 17th century with the thirteen colonies.

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?

I wrote a chapter in my book called, “The Maze of Misconceptions About Sales.” The problem is if your concept of selling is misguided, you’ll end up getting lost. Most people have misconceptions about selling.

When people talk about being salesy, I ask them to explain what they mean so I know what misconception they are operating from. For example, do they believe salespeople are con-artists? Or do they believe it takes a pleasing method to make a sale? Do they believe people make buying decisions based on logic or emotion, how the acquisition will make them feel? Do they understand that sales are earned not made? Do they believe that personality or right or left-brain theory defines your ability to succeed at selling?

My interpretation of someone being pushy or salesy is a human being that is thinking about themselves instead of being focused on the customer, what they want, and how to help another human being solve a problem or challenge.

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?

For me, the most important step of the sales cycle is Discovery which you do not mention in your seven stages. Real pros focus on the needs of the client. They seek to understand what the issue is, what is this person or company looking to fix, accomplish, or avoid? Sales Pros never present until they assess the situation, problem, and implications and know there is a fit. Clients and really all people, want a sales professional to ask them what they need. Clients want to be heard and acknowledged. As a sales professional, your objective is to understand first, and help that person gain order and clarity about what they want.

I strive to be the best at discovery. I ask a ton of questions to truly understand where the client is and where they want to be. To borrow Roger’s lesson, I walk in the moccasins of my client — I ask myself what does it feel like? How can I enhance their experience by creating or adding value? An objection is nothing more than someone’s perception that they can’t get what they want. If you truly understand what the client wants and provide clarity instead of confusion on how to help guide them to reach their promised land, you can remove the objection. A true professional transfers belief and holds it for the client until the client can accept that belief and achieve the goal desired.

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?

I believe targeted marketing is the best approach in B2B. Take the time to identify your ideal client. Less is actually more. What is your unique advantage and niche market? Who needs what you have to offer the most? Miller Heiman training calls this identifying your “ideal customer” profile. Establish a regular channel of communication with those prospects. Some clients make decisions quickly, others want to vet you like in the dating process. Establish a process to nurture your leads so that when the need arises, they think of you because they know, like and trust you.

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’?

Change your perception about handling objections. Look at it from the perspective of resolving a misunderstanding. Everyone wants order and clarity. An objection is an interpretation that “ I can’t have what I truly want.” Order is heaven’s first law. Use your “thinker” to understand the other person’s perception and where the confusion lies. Why do they believe they cannot get what they want? Remember that suggestion is the most powerful force in the world. You plant suggestions and ideas in others minds via agreement, fascination, or shock. Use one of the three strategies to suggest and plant a new idea in your prospect’s mind that provides clarity and order.

‘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? If you can, please share a story or example, ideally from your experience, for each.

The close is the natural conclusion of an excellent presentation. In reality the close is the simplest part of the process, “Are you up for doing this?” If the customer becomes uncomfortable because they need to commit,you have not made an emotional composite with that person and/or you have not elevated their desire high enough during your presentation for them to act. Ask yourself “are you comfortable making decisions like this? If the answer is no, you are most likely the cause of the objection. They are picking up what you are feeling. You are sending a double binded message. It’s your job to believe in what you have proposed for them. It’s your belief that will help them through this discomfort. Your lack of belief will cause them to say no.

If you struggle with the close, take a good look at yourself in the mirror. Amateurs compete, Professionals create. Obviously, when you close a sale, you get paid, but you must remember the cause of the sale was the value you created for the client, so they can get what they want.

Here’s 5 things to keep in mind to successfully close a sale:

  1. If you don’t close a sale, you both lose. When you are selling, you are providing a service or product that your ideal client needs and that will enhance their life or work in some way. If you aren’t able to relay with clarity how your solution will help them get what they want, you both lose. You are out the hard work and commission, and they aren’t getting the thing that will help them.
  2. Utilize the discovery agreement to confirm there is a fit. If you were effective in the discovery phase of the sale, and gained agreement on what’s important and why, the close is a no-brainer. If there’s no fit, suggest where they might find a fit. Leave them with an impression of increase.
  3. Ask yourself if you are comfortable making decisions and if you believe in the value of what you sell. Let’s say you are closing a $100k deal, and you’re nervous because you can’t imagine spending that type of money yourself. If you wouldn’t be confident to make the decision to purchase your product, those emotions of disbelief are getting relayed to your customer. If you are acting like you think it’s insane to spend that much money, your customer will doubt the value too.
  4. Demonstrate for proof — prove the solution works. This goes back to product fit. Sometimes it’s important to demonstrate how the product will work and how it will help them in order to show the value. There are times when it will be important to show, not tell. Gather testimonials from your happy clients. Make it an easy choice for your client to choose you with confidence.
  5. Ask for the order. Sometimes your inability to close comes down to the fact that you never looked your customer in the eye and asked for the order. Take their hand and lead them across the bridge towards their promised land. Be their guide and help them through their transformation.

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?

Always be asking what it is that you really want? Why? What is it that holds you back? Realize most things that hold people back are virtual chains or limiting beliefs that a person places on themselves. Find out what it is and help the person shift from thinking about why they can’t and switch them to thinking about why they can. Think of followup as a dating game. Keep in touch on a regular basis and deliver value. Leave them with an impression of increase so when the need arises they call you. Keep giving and be worthy and ready to receive. By law, what you sow, you will reap. The exchange is not always linear, expect abundance from multiple sources.

As you know there are so many modes of communication today including 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?

I think emails and texts should be avoided when closing a B2B sale. The absence of emotion or tone can easily lead to misunderstandings.

Which are the best ones?

Prior to COVID, for B2B selling, I closed in-person. The physical hand shake, being able to access the office atmosphere, see pictures or clues that tell you more about the person or the company is priceless when you are engaging in a new business relationship. Zoom is second best. It has its advantages too in that you eliminate the travel time between visits and can see more clients in a day. In person or video allows you to access emotional reactions vs logic, use voice tone, inflections etc for optimal communication.

It can vary for B2C sales.

Can you explain or give a story?

I like to be there, present, to enjoy the excitement of the moment when I’m creating value and earning a sale. In person also allows you to demonstrate how to use a product,and allow the customer to try it out. You can more easily ask to see the workspace area and gather a spatial point of view, especially if you are selling capital equipment. Meeting in person gives you the ability to present to all the stakeholders (for example, board members) who are all weighing the pros and cons of the sale. You can utilize your intuition to read the body language in the room, answer questions, resolve any misconceptions, and persuade the committee to move forward.

For B2C, it depends on what the client wants. My husband recently bought a car over text. I would never do that. I prefer to go to the lot, see the available cars, test drive a few, and make a decision. However, he felt differently and his needs were met via text.

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?

I’d like to encourage everyone who is dissatisfied with their job, or has left their position in the Great Resignation of 2021 to stop settling and start creating a compelling future for themselves. People are craving more meaning in their lives. We do not know how many days we have left on our soul’s journey through planet earth. We all need to start living as if today was the last day. Live life full out instead of living life trying to play it safe. And the number one way to discover what you are capable of in your life is through understanding the Universal Laws and your greatest asset, your mind. Your potential is unlimited. I’d love to spark a transformation movement and engage people in conversations so that people become inspired to learn more about themselves and gain an understanding of how to consciously apply these laws to remove the virtual chains of limitations and activate the true power and potential that lies within.

How can our readers follow you online?

Readers can visit my website or connect with me on LinkedIn.

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



Authority Magazine
Authority Magazine

In-depth interviews with authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech