I have a problem.
I don’t like selling.
It’s not selling in general I dislike…
it’s selling me.
Let me explain.
I own a small business and I do all the selling.
I have a great product and our customers love what we do for them.
That’s not the problem.
It’s just that when I’m pitching a new client there’s a little voice in my head saying…
“WHO THE F*CK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?”
Maybe you have that same voice?
If you coach, consult, teach, sell an online course, or advise clients in any way you probably know that voice.
Maybe it goes with the territory, but sometimes I just want to sell cafe lattes.
Customer: “I’d like a cafe latte.”
Me: “Great! Coming right up.”
Me: “You’re welcome”
I mean wouldn’t it be swell to have such a clean set of customer expectations that you can’t screw up?
Like selling lumber.
I’d love to sell lumber. All-day long I would point to the 2X4’s (of course I’d call them ‘studs’), 8 footers, and 10 footers. I’d have a pencil in my back pocket and a tape measure hooked on my jeans.
That would be swell.
Of course, it didn’t turn out that way—I had to go and sell me.
A lucky invitation to share a few stories on stage about my previous business turned into a 20-year career of teaching, consulting, coaching, and more than my share of hotels, airports, and buffet dinners.
So I had to learn how to sell myself.
And I had to learn how to overcome that little voice of doubt.
If this all sounds a little too familiar, I have 3 secrets to selling that will help:
- Ask don’t tell
- Tell the truth
- Silence sells
But first, we need to get one thing straight.
Selling yourself is hard
It’s easy to sell a cafe latte, lumber, pair of shoes – even a million-dollar home.
You’re selling a thing.
But, when you’re selling a service, like coaching, fitness training, or, in my case, writing blog articles for businesses you have to sell yourself.When you’re selling a service, like coaching, fitness training, or, in my case, writing blog articles for businesses you have to sell yourself. Click To Tweet
Sure, you ask lots of questions, but at some sweaty moment all eyes turn to you and the customer will ask:
“So, tell me more about what I can expect for my money.”
Ugh! My little reptilian brain fires up in fear, pupils dilate and I find it hard to complete a sentence without a stutter.
Even the most accomplished at the art of selling have that same reaction (it would be unnatural if you didn’t). That’s the selling chasm—the divide between those who want to and those who do.
The trick is to quiet the lizard brain by exercising your selling muscles.
You’re in the conversation because the customer has a problem and you know you can solve it. Now it’s time to pull up your big boy pants, remember why you are there and get the deal done.
If you struggle with selling yourself (or asking for the money), these 3 secrets will help.
Selling Secret #1: Ask, Don’t Tell
The biggest mistake when selling is doing all the talking.
It’s an easy mistake to make, after all, you know sooooo much and you are soooooo excited to share the magical transformations awaiting your lucky client.
Don’t do it.
Instead of doing all the talking, ask about expectations, concerns, past experiences…anything that checks a box on their checklist of concerns.
And here’s the neat trick with asking: one answer leads to another question.
You: “What would be an ideal outcome from my coaching?”
Customer: “I really want to have more confidence in my business.”
You: “That’s interesting. Where do you feel you lack confidence now?”
Here’s the first secret: when in doubt, ask a question.
That leads me to the next secret: telling the truth.
Selling Secret #2: Tell The Truth
It’s easy to exaggerate the truth. After all, you want the sale.
I see this online a lot:
“Make six figures as a freelance writer, working from home whenever it suits your schedule.” (Jon Morrow)
“5 behind-the-scenes secrets to generate revenue year-round” (Amy Porterfield)
“How to create a digital product that generates (AT LEAST) $100,000 per month” (Neil Patel)
These are all smart people who I consider experts in their field. At the same time, it’s easy to push reality a little with hyperbole and small exaggerations.
What your customers need, want, and will pay for is the truth. If you’re selling an online course or consulting to a company, be clear about what it will take to be successful.What your customers need, want, and will pay for is the truth. Click To Tweet If you’re selling an online course or consulting to a company, be clear about what it will take to be successful. Click To Tweet
The reality is only a small percent of people actually finish an online course, let alone do the work you are recommending. That’s okay, but students need to know that.
Selling Secret #3: Silence Sells
This one is a little harder to get used to.
The silence that comes after you explain the price, or options, or what’s not included in the package.
That’s the silence the customer will want to fill. Let them.
It sounds like this:
Customer: “I think I want to work with you and the timing is perfect. It’s just the price…”
“Can we agree on $##### instead?”
You: “It’s great to hear you want to go ahead. I have a great feeling about this. And that price is fixed.”
Customer: “Okay, I just thought I would ask.”
One more thought
Selling is hard.
And because most of us aren’t selling all day, we’re not building our selling muscles.
We get lazy.
But, here’s the funny thing…it doesn’t have to take much to get back in the game.
When I get off a sales call that goes well I’m on fire! I’m full of confidence – my lizard brain has gone back to sleep – and the next call is easy.
That’s the state you want to be in: confident, asking questions, telling the truth, and making silence your friend.
Remember: you’re not selling; you’re solving problems that only you can solve in your special way.
Now it’s time to get out of your own way and allow the client to say “Yes.”
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