How To Sell Without Being Salesy
If you know my story about how I got started in the online business space as a business coach and brand strategist, it started with being a volunteer. It started with being a missionary in a foreign context.
While my husband and I were doing that, we had to raise our own support. What I found was my husband and I, we really excelled at certain things when it came to networking, to relationships, when it came to marketing, when it came to communication.
Others around us, even though they had awesome visions, they really struggled to get momentum behind the thing that they were doing. Even though they were effective in the work they were doing, they weren't effective in their marketing of it.
Hopefully that distinction has been made clear. There are so good at what they did. They just weren't really good about tooting their own horn.
When it came down to it though, I was like, “Hey, here are some things that we've done. It could help you. Why don't you try implementing these steps to help you stay in better touch with your people?”
Then I discovered that people would pay me to do this for their businesses.
And I was like, say whaaaaat? That changes everything! Like, the whole game is changed here.
So when I found that out, I was initially really excited about it, but I started to have these feelings come up that were totally unexpected, completely unexpected. Because who doesn't want to make money? Right? Like, money's great. It buys you things, it puts food in your mouth, a roof over your head. But there was this stuff that came up because I was raised to believe that like servanthood is the highest form of leadership.
It's as akin to gospel truth. I was raised to volunteer to do things for free, to just do it because it's right.
So, to receive money for doing something that was just right or for something that was so easy for me, it was like, “Oh my gosh, I'm taking advantage of these people. Like, I must be doing something wrong. This is too easy.” And then I was like,“Well, is there something here for me to work on?”
(Side note: personal development, if you don't know, this is a huge part of entrepreneurship. Like you cannot hide from yourself because if you don't deal with these things, you can only go so far and you will be limited by your belief system. And so if your beliefs are limited, your income's going to be limited. Your impact is going to be limited. So just be prepared for that.)
Some of the stuff that came up initially was confidence related. For example, would people really pay me to do this thing?
And some of it was competence-oriented. There was definitely room for me to grow in what I knew and what I had experience in.
As I moved past this and I was like, “Yes, I can deliver. Yes, I have a skill set and by building on this skillset I'm investing in myself”, there was still this stuff that came up that made me realize it was hard for me to both receive money and also to let go of it.
What I ended up being able to name it was, (and maybe some of you will identify with this) a “scarcity mindset”.
Meaning I felt like there was not enough to go around for me, there was not enough to go around for everybody at the table.
Because of that belief, I felt that I had to really hold tightly onto what I had, whether it was community or money or resources. I held it with tight fists.
But when you hold it like that, it ends up being like sand. When you hold on to sand really tightly, it sifts through your fingers and it creates all this anxiety, all this pressure.
But if you hold sand with open hands and you hold it loosely, then it ends up just, just sitting there and it's like, “Oh, I’m available to put more things in it and you're open to take things out of it.”
I started to realize there's this scarcity stuff in me and it's not good. It's really icky.
Here's the secret that really helped make sales a whole lot easier for me.
And hopefully this will help you as well because if you're a heart centered person (and I am a Jesus-centered person) or if you have any type of moral compass or values that are driving you in your business, hopefully this will help you as well.
It got to this point where I realized I am in business not just to make money. Some people are in it just to make money and that is totally their prerogative, but others are in it to leave something bigger behind themselves. They want to make an impact, they want to leave a legacy. They're laying foundations for others to build on top of. And that is awesome. And that is where my heart resides. That's where my clients are.
That’s when I realized I'm a legacy driven entrepreneur, not a money driven entrepreneur. That's why I named my Facebook community The Legacy Driven Entrepreneur.
I came to this point where I realized I had a moral obligation to share my message with people in my mission with people. One because it's changed my own life for the positive. It's changed my client's lives for the positive. And if it's done that for people thus far, I really kind of have a more obligation to continue making a positive change in the circles and environments around me. And so I can enthusiastically, when I get on the phone with someone or on a video call with someone and they haven't decided yet to buy in to work with me.
I can know and I can get super enthusiastic about the fact that I can support them without pressuring them.
The removal of scarcity as a mindset also has to do with the fact that I'm very clear on my brand foundations. I'm clear on my brand message and clear on my brand mission. I know exactly who I help, why I help them, how I help them, my top differentiators (the things that set me apart from people in my industry, how I do things differently, how I work with people differently.)
And if those things are aligned with their values and it resonates with them, the buy-in becomes a very easy, yes, I want to work with Brittney.
So then the last obstacle you need to help your client overcome becomes price point. You don’t need them to buy into your mission, solution or method. And most often if they have totally bought, they are begging you to take their money.
But if it is still an obstacle, people are more willing to find a way to get over this money obstacle than if they were before they were sold on your brand message and position.
When that is the case, then you can competently say things like, “Well, how can I help you get the support that you need because it's very clear that we're a good fit and that this is support that you need. So then how do we overcome this? Are you available to put things on a credit card or are you available to sell an item just lying around the house like an old instrument that no one plays? Or are you available to do payments or are you available to wait and get on my calendar a little bit later in the year?
So there are different ways you can help people overcome things in a way that still feels good without pressuring you.
And here’s a tip: Be sure to ask permission to help them towards a solution.
For example: “hey, you know, I would really like to work with you. Are you open to dialogue about some ways we can make this happen?” And if they say yes, then you can proceed. And that also removes a lot of the pressure from people feeling like you are trying to push them into putting something on a credit card.
Story one: There was a time two weeks ago, when somebody asked me to reduce my prices and I said, “You know, I totally understand that this is an investment and that it's an important investment. Unfortunately I'm not able to wiggle on the price. However, I am totally happy to support people because I know, especially at the beginning of business, a lot of people are on a shoestring budget. I'm totally happy to do payments.”
They said, “Okay, let me think about it. I'm not sure if we're going to be able to move forward, but we'll follow up with you.”
Awesome. Cool. I can totally lean back from this and say, you know what, if it's the right fit, they're going to come up with the money or they'll wait to work with me and they're going to be a dream client, but I can lean back confidently and competently because I'm very clear about what I'm willing to compromise on and what I'm not as well as who I can help and who that I can’t.
They ended up being able to move forward and actually apologized for asking me to reduce my prices.
Story two: I had some opportunities for work come on my plate. It had to do with photography. Something that I still do a little bit on the side because that comes into branding such as headshots if you're building out a brand identity portfolio. But someone asked if I was available to do family portraiture. While that is something that I CAN do ,I said, “You know what, actually I have a friend and that is her thing. Let me point you to her because that's in her wheelhouse.”
I could do that with confidence, knowing that it was something that was going to distract me from my momentum elsewhere. So I actually was able to turn down money, which I know for people just getting started is so hard.
Typically, I encourage people to say yes to opportunities to figure out where their strengths lie. I know some people will say like, you should never do anything below $50.
My first logo was $50 and I realized I really loved logo work but I also realized I didn’t love doing them for $50!
I did other things early on as one-offs and I said, never again. I won't do that anymore. That was not great. I delivered but I realized, you know what? I didn't enjoy that. So I'm not going to offer that again.
So once you're clear again on your brand message, on your brand values, on why you're doing what you're doing and who you can really help, then making the sale doesn't feel icky anymore.
That doesn't mean that you're always going to feel comfortable with sales. There've been times where people have made me feel uncomfortable or pressured me to compromise on pricing. You have to learn how to navigate sales and that is kind of its own animal.
If that's not something you're naturally comfortable with doing, especially if you're not comfortable with conflict or negotiating, invest developing that skill set. I've bought books on how to negotiate better because I'm not a highly competitive person and sales was kind of a negative thing for me growing up.
I had to learn that sales is not negative, it's just different. It's a skill set that I don't have and I need to build out in my repertoire.
Take a minute and look at your brand message today and I want you to ask yourself this specific question.
Do I feel so strongly about my brand message to the point that I feel like I have a moral obligation to share because I know that I can help people and I would help people for free with this thing?
When you get to that place, sales will be easy for you because it’s about helping people. It’s not about the money.
And yet it is. When someone invests in something, they will take that information and actually do something with it versus somebody who can receive something for free.
So taking a minute, look at your brand message, how you've crafted your packages and your offers, make sure that they're aligned so that when you actually get into the buy in process and you're having that dialogue with somebody and it starts to feel like you're trying to convince them to work with you, that's where it starts to feel like sideways.
Lean back, listen, make sure you have personally bought in to your package and helping others make the right decision won’t feel salesy. It will feel really good. Especially when your bank account thanks you for it.
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