Are You A Pushover? – 6 Steps To Sales Assertiveness

Let me ask you, how many times have you had to bite your tongue with buyers? Or let them strongarm you, maybe into an unreasonable meeting time or even a discount? And worst of all, you feel like you have to do it if you want to win their business?

Well guess what? That’s complete crap. And what’s even more surprising is the less you give in and the more assertive you are, the more you’ll close killer deals. So let’s talk becoming more assertive.


A high percentage of sales professionals let their potential partners bully them around. They bend to the unreasonable demands of other people to try and get the deal done. They’d take the partner's kids to school for a month, all while nursing their sick Aunty Margaret for just the sniff of potentially closing the deal if it was an option…

The crazy thing is that is that in our research, sales professionals with a higher level of assertiveness, those that don’t get pushed around, do far better with regard to hitting their sales targets.

Because the best sales reps are the ones that act like guides, not sidekicks.

As President of People First Productivity Solutions Deb Calvert put it in our interview…

The good news is that assertiveness isn’t set in stone. You can actually learn how to be more assertive. And it all starts with learning your God-given assertive rights.

What Are Your Assertive Rights

So the first step to becoming assertive is for you to realize that no one can manipulate your emotions or behavior, unless you let them. It’s your choice, not theirs.

That’s because you have a series of assertive rights.

These rights are the basic framework for you living your life, having relationships with other humans, expressing yourself to others without fear of judgment, and enabling you to help others when you choose to help them. Let me repeat, when you choose to help them, not being browbeaten into doing it.

These assertive rights determine your autonomy—your ability to act in accordance with your own beliefs and needs.

And the sooner you understand your assertive rights, the sooner you can start being a more effective sales professional.

Your 6 Assertive Rights

So, what are your 6 assertive rights? Let’s take a look at them.

  1. You have the right to offer no reasons or excuses for your behavior.
  2. You have the right to judge if you should find solutions for other people’s problems.
  3. You have the right to change your mind.
  4. You have the right to say “I do not know.”
  5. You have the right to be illogical when making decisions.
  6. You have the right to say “I don’t care.”

The crazy thing with these assertive rights is that they’re pretty obvious right? And even the least assertive person in the world has probably felt and acted on them before.

Let me make this real for you.

Say you were talking to a child, couldn’t be more than 8 years old. You’d probably take the assertive side of the conversation, and you’d leverage these rights by default. You wouldn’t be worried about saying “I don’t know” if they asked you a dumb question. You wouldn’t be concerned about randomly changing your mind about something, you’d pull them along with you.

But all this changes when we feel like someone else has the authority in a conversation. Someone like your boss or a potential partner. In that situation, you’d never say “I don’t care” even though you’d say that to a child.

Now logically, if we find ourselves not leveraging these rights it means we’re the child in the conversation rather than the adult.

And quick question for you—who do you think your clients want to work with? A child? Or an adult?

Seems obvious, right? So why continue taking on the role of the child in your working relationships?

The Power Dynamic 

Now just like the child/adult relationship, each one of the adult assertive rights comes with a childish side too. Let’s run through those now. As we go through them, make a mental note if you feel like you’re falling into any of these behaviors:

CHILDISH BELIEF

You should always have an answer as to why you did something right or wrong. Otherwise how can a parent judge you?

ADULT ASSERTIVE BELIEF

You have the right to offer no reasons or excuses for your behavior.

CHILDISH BELIEF

Good children should sacrifice their own values and time to keep other systems or people from falling apart.

ADULT ASSERTIVE BELIEF

You have the right to judge if you should find solutions for other people’s problems.

CHILDISH BELIEF

You shouldn’t change your mind. If you do then you need to justify your new choice or admit that our previous choice was made in error.

ADULT ASSERTIVE BELIEF

You have the right to change your mind.

CHILDISH BELIEF

You must know the answer because a parent has asked you a question and it’s rude not to reply to a parent.

ADULT ASSERTIVE BELIEF

You have the right to say “I do not know.”

CHILDISH BELIEF

You must be able to explain yourself logically, so a parent can follow along and then judge if you’ve been good or bad.

ADULT ASSERTIVE BELIEF

You have the right to be illogical in making decisions.

CHILDISH BELIEF

You should “play nice with others” you should “share your toys”.

ADULT ASSERTIVE BELIEF

You have the right to say “I don’t care.”

As you can see, each of the childish beliefs were installed into your brain when you were a kid. You were somehow meant to grow out of them but likely… nobody told you this. So if you’ve not been very assertive in your life so far, it’s not your fault.

Moving forward though, now that you know your God-given assertive rights, there are zero excuses. You need to make them your default response when a potential partner tries to bully or take advantage of you, and you can only do that by learning them and practicing them every day.

The Power Dynamic 

And when you identify the power dynamic you’re immediately assuming in your business conversations, you’re in a 10X better place to change it.

So start being more assertive. Because you, my friend, have the right.

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