In the beginning...
When I first started out in business, I was like a sponge. No, I don't mean I was trying to live off others by imposing on their generosity. No, I certainly wasn't that kind of sponge. Instead I was the kind of sponge that read and soaked up every bit of information out there about online marketing.
I followed all the "gurus" and read all their advice. I thought that since these people appeared more "successful" than I was, they must know a thing or two about signing clients. I was on a mission to learn everything I could lay my hands on.
One day, I came across this piece of advice: If a potential client shows interest in working with you during an initial call/meeting, you should never let them hang up or leave until you have their credit card details.
I was like... what??!! That didn't feel right.
In fact, it felt completely off. I felt an icky feeling somewhere in my body.
But I thought... hey, this person must know something I didn't. After all, she's well-known and successful. I probably just needed to get better at these "sales techniques".
It didn't work. I never signed any clients that way.
...I read a book called Never Be Closing, in which the authors Tim Hurson and Tim Dunne talked about how most sales tactics are developed "to wrangle out a commitment to buy, even when buying may not be in the best interests of the client."
But selling doesn't have to be this way.
I learned to follow what feels right to me.
When a potential client said she needed time to think about things, and could she have my bank details instead, I didn't insist that she gave me her credit card details. Instead I said, "Sure! Take all the time you need."
When a client said she couldn't afford to work with me yet, I didn't pressurise her. I trusted that she would come to me when the timing was right, for her. And she did a few months later.
When someone asked if there was a more affordable way to work with me, I let them know the options, without trying to shame them and make them feel bad about not buying the most expensive package. I didn't tell them that it's just their ego holding them back. Or they're self-sabotaging by not investing in themselves.
Go with what feels right to you
Don't listen to gurus or coaches just because they're ahead of you. Your inner wisdom will tell you whether something feels good. If it feels icky, pushy or manipulative, forget it.
Mind you, there's a difference if something feels slightly out of your comfort zone. That indeed may be something that you need to practise and get better at, until it becomes your new normal. That's how we grow. But something that's good for you and your business should never feel icky and totally out of alignment for you.
When you have to push people into a corner to work with you, that's when your sales process feels sleazy and slimy. We definitely don't want that.
And it's not always about money mindset and up-levelling. On the other side of the sales call are real people with real lives and real budgets.
Sometimes, people really can't afford to work with you and it's not about their ego holding them back.
Sometimes, people really do need time to consider everything before committing.
Sometimes, they do want to discuss with their spouses before spending a significant sum of money. And I respect that.
Real connections is about meeting people where they are. And you can't build real connections if you're only concerned about making a sale.
"The best kind of selling emerges naturally from your genuine interest in the person you're working with and your sincere desire to be of use."
- Tim Hurson & Tim Dunne (from the book Never Be Closing)
Here are 5 ways to sell more authentically and without being pushy
(1) Allow your clients to decide what feels right for them
You want your clients to feel good. If you have to wait for that decision, that's fine. Encourage the person to stay connected and reach out if they have questions.
(2) Focus on being of service instead of pushing your own agenda
Listen to your clients, build rapport, show them how you can help them and let them make the right decisions for themselves.
(3) Treat others the way you want to be treated
Treat everyone with respect and dignity. No shaming potential clients into working with you. Otherwise you're starting off with a bad client relationship right from the beginning.
(4) Trust yourself first
Take sales advice from others by all means but trust yourself and listen to your intuition first, even if someone more successful than you tells you otherwise. Don't let others steer you out of your ethics and values.
(5) Be detached from the outcome
Accept that not all sales calls / discovery calls will end in a sale but that's OK. Have the courage to trust that the right clients will decide to work with you.
How will you apply these more authentic ways of selling in your business?
Next time you get an icky feeling during a sales call, stop, and try applying these new ways to sell your services.
Make a commitment to not let anyone steer you out of alignment.
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