After writing a video script for one of my clients to promote our current offering, she came back to me and said, “I can’t do this. I have tried recording this video three times and it just doesn’t feel natural.” She proceeded to remind me that she is a healer and she can’t “sell” her services.
This opened an honest conversation between us, and I learned even more about the way she and many others approach the world of selling, including myself. As a whole, I think we have been subjected to so many smarmy and slimy sales techniques that frankly, selling has developed a negative vibe.
Add to these experiences the beliefs we have learned from others about putting a price tag on our value, and sales has now become a convoluted topic. My client shared with me what her hairdresser said to her. “You are a healer. You have a gift to share with this world. How can you charge for your services?” To which I responded, “I want my hair cut for free and my nail technicians are really good at what they do, so I think that should be free too.”
All kidding aside. Sales, when done “wrong,” can feel icky, huh? When I say “wrong,” I am referring to a lack of authenticity. I have been exposed to the world of sales for a very long time. My mother was in sales her entire career. My ex-husband is in sales. Now my son has a career in sales. And I have two AOBM clients whose primary focus is coaching in the “art of sales.”
Yet still, I cringe at the idea of “selling.”
Somehow though, I have built a successful business. I guess, somewhere along the way, I have “sold” myself and my services. Let me share with you how I have overcome my aversion to sales. In a nutshell, I have stayed true to ideas that feel authentic to me. Because without authenticity, I literally can’t sell.
Idea #1 – Have a Conversation
For me, sales is a conversation. It’s an opportunity for me to learn about the people I am talking to. Who are they on a personal level? What makes them tick? What are they trying to accomplish right now in life and business? What’s standing in the way? What have they tried in the past? I approach any conversation with authentic curiosity. I love to meet new people and just get to know them. At the same time, this conversation is an opportunity for this new person to get to know me. Who am I? Where do I come from? Why do I do what I do? What does my business look like, from a “client’s” standpoint?
Here is what I have learned from these conversations. Sometimes I am a good fit with someone and sometimes I am not. A conversation has felt totally “right” for me but not for the other person, and that’s okay. Other times it felt totally “right” for the other person, and not for me. That’s okay too. These conversations, for me, are like dating. When I was in the dating world, I met a lot of nice people. But when I met “the one,” I just knew, and so did she.
Idea #2 – Passionately Discuss and Demonstrate your Craft
Sales is about showing up and demonstrating your expertise. Very few people want to do business with someone that isn’t good at what they do. If there is one thing my healer client does well, it’s this. Anyone who reads her book or her blogs understands immediately she is an expert in what she does. As a matter of fact, her work is fascinating, and I knew nothing about her topic before working with her.
One of the mindset obstacles that will often trip me up is all the competition for my “craft.” There are hundreds of OBMs and business teachers out there sharing their expertise. Unfortunately, there is competition with any business that we are in. So what sets you or me apart from anyone else? Passion and authenticity! It is your enthusiasm for what you do that will win people’s hearts. Your uniqueness will make you stand out and the “right” person will choose you. So just keep discussing and demonstrating your craft – in your blogs, your videos, your social content, your speaking engagements, and in every conversation. The sales will come naturally.
Idea #3 – Provide Outstanding Service to Your Existing Clients
Want the easiest sale in the world? Provide outstanding service to your existing clients and they will be your best salespeople. Thinking back to all the clients who have been referred to me, I can’t remember one that did not come to me eager to do business with me. Someone that knows and likes you will rave about you. They will naturally talk about all the benefits they have received. These “salespeople” will answer a lot of questions your prospects may have.
The prospect already has a need or they wouldn’t be asking people for referrals. They have established an element of trust because someone they know and like has put their stamp of “credibility” on you. These individuals are warm leads that are ready to buy. They only need to determine if your services will also work for them. With one shoe in, all that’s left is a conversation to determine “fit.” My healer client, I have been referring to, built a worldwide clientele simply by word of mouth. She produced results and word spread.
Idea #4 – Own Your Value
Let’s face it. Confidence sells. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one will. It makes selling so much harder. If there is one thing I have worked on most over the years, it is owning my personal value. I can learn all the sales techniques in the world, but if my confidence is wavering, it will show.
When you take 100% ownership of your value, people experience and feel something that is intangible. One of my clients and I were discussing this concept the other day. She is a recent graduate of the Leadership Cobb program in her area. When I asked her if the year-long program was worth it to her, she responded with an absolute yes. Not only is she now exposed to next level business owners, she has elevated her own game. Her confidence has increased tremendously, which enables her to truly own her value.
I’m always asking myself, where do I fall short, in my eyes? Where do I need to grow? What do I need to learn to be that much better at what I do? And what kind of bullshit beliefs am I hanging onto that mess with my confidence? Learning to own our value is an ongoing process. At every level of business, we will be challenged to own a new level of ourselves. But when you fully step into your power, sales feels effortless.
Idea #5 – Refuse to “Sell” Someone
Maybe it’s not the “right” way to approach sales, but I simply will not go over the top to convince someone to work with me. I will certainly address a few objections a person might have with honesty and openness, but that is where I stop. In my experience, when I had to work extremely hard to close a person, that relationship rarely worked out. Maybe we weren’t a good fit, or possibly the person just wasn’t ready. But I believe that when the buyer is ready and the service fits their needs, it’s a natural sale.
I am no sales expert, by any stretch of the imagination. And when a client asks me if I will handle sales for their business, I almost scream “NO!” Because I don’t like sales and I want to stick with what I enjoy. At the same time, every business requires sales. So until I get big enough to hire “salespeople,” this is the way I embrace sales. With authenticity, confidence, passionate marketing (which I love), open conversations, and providing amazing service.
Do you struggle with “sales?” Or are you a natural salesperson? I’d love to hear your ideas about how to approach sales with authenticity.
Lori Young is the founder and chief OBM at Amazing OBM. We help heart-centered coaches grow their businesses by managing their day-to-day digital marketing efforts. To have a conversation about how we can support you, schedule a 30-minute free consultation.
5 Authentic Ways to “Sell,” When Selling Doesn’t Feel “Natural”
December 10, 2019