This week I want to talk about something 99.9% of my clients (and me) struggle with...
If I had a $1 for every good-fit call that started out with one of the quotes below- I'd have a diversified income stream lol.
I quote verbatim:
"Selling is just not my thing"
"I am not a good salesperson"
"I want to make money but not in a salesy way"
Considering we are well-trained consuming machines, who buy stuff all the time- somehow we are scared shitless of selling. I am not showing up today to rant. The truth is I struggle with this as well- BIG TIME. Today, I want to unpack this issue a little bit because it's a deeply personal and very complicated thing.
Symptoms of Sales Avoidance
I am willing to bet that in the last year in business you have hired someone for a service (related to your business) that you didn't really need.
Maybe you even purchased a digital course (or 5), and they are still sitting in your inbox somewhere collecting digital dust.
Most of the time, when we engage in business consumerism, we are avoiding something, and that something is usually sales.
It seems that solopreneurs will do just about anything to avoid the pain of selling. Guilty as charged over here. I've blown some serious cash on business money pits that turned out to be fancy avoidance tactics.
It's important to be conscious of this. We get sold to all of the time as service providers. If you are not hitting revenue goals, it is unlikely that any of the above services will move the needle for you.
The only thing that will is leaning into selling.
(I will share my approach a little further down)
Cold pitches and the prevalence of BAD sales tactics
Let's take a look at these together
This is the third email from this person trying to push a marketing intern they think I need for some reason. I am 100% one of many, many people who are getting these same messages. Will I ever engage- heck no!
This one even admits that they have no idea what my needs are. The reason is that they are mass messaging and hoping for a win 3% of the time. As solopreneurs, our close rates need to be above 50%. We are not a startup- do you know how many people you would need to talk to in order to make a living at a 3% close rate? UH uH. The only way to guarantee high close rates is to qualify your people so well that by the time they get to the good-fit call they know exactly why they need you. How do you do this? Content baby! More on that later.
What this person is selling is the cold pitch game. Again. Why? Because no one wants to sell- that's why. This message is unqualified and cold- so no clicks from me.
This is what we are up against friends, and this is precisely why my clients hate sales. Because they think this is what they need to do to get people in the door.
I'm not saying never to get into the DMs. I am saying don't do it cold.
P.S. I never got my 28 seconds back.
A better way to sell
“Marketing is the generous act of helping others become who they seek to become. It involves creating honest stories—stories that resonate and spread.” (Seth Godin)
There is a better but equally difficult way to make sales happen, and that is by using a combination of content strategy and strategic engagement.
I am platform monogamous and only post on LinkedIn, so the below is based on my experience on that platform.
Here's what's involved in non-salesy selling.
You need almost constant visibility. You need to CREATE like you mean it with a very specific person in mind. This will ensure that you stand out from 99% of business owners merely by showing up consistently.
You need to curate your audience by adding connections that meet your target client profile. Don't add your friends. Don't add people you "like"- treat this like a lead-gen activity, and don't waste your precious time hanging out.
You need to engage with your ideal audience in a non-slimy way and actually try to help them. How? Leave helpful comments on their posts. If it feels right- send them a connection request so they can see more of you on their feed.
You need to tell your story and stop it with the tips already. Tips don't sell. They simply make you blend right in. Storytelling, connection, and service is what sells.
You need to show up with ENERGY. You can't be shy and you can't worry about what your old boss things. People are energetic and will be attracted to your energy and confidence.
If you want to build a business without slime- content, and community is the only way.
It's a hard road because it takes time to iterate your way to the point where everything starts to click. Where your message and your audience are synced. When that happens, sales start to happen too!
It has taken me 1.5 years of constant learning to get to the point where I have 100% clarity on who I help with what and how.
Women, generational poverty, and sales (sound ofcan opening)
Women struggle with sales way more than men. I work primarily with women, and all of my clients have issues with sales. I still do, but I am getting better.
BTW sales includes:
asking for the close
asking for testimonials
asking for referrals
I was on a call with a new client last week. She is a career coach and confirmed that she experiences this in her line of work as well. Women don't ask for promotions, and they think they need to "do more" in order to be worthy of a pay raise.
This is why most of the successful consultants on LinkedIn are white males. They don't have qualms about selling, charging premium prices, and tooting their own horns. Part of the reason is that they've been told how great they are since birth, and most of us ladies have just been told to be quiet.
This is no joke- this is generational conditioning and it's a deeply personal thing that we must face. It's my personal mission to escape its gravitational pull and to help as many women do the same.
Don't get me wrong- I have 0 issues with working with the opposite sex- but the personal payoff for me is seeing women win.
Hope this was helpful on your journey.
Please don't cold pitch, and I hope you have a nice day!