I have been having a lot of conversations with entrepreneurs lately about their business…not a shocker given my profession right?! However, lately I have noticed a pattern erupting.
If you have followed me for very long you know that I LOVE business strategy and helping entrepreneurs and small business owners get the most out of their businesses. I love crafting the big vision and then showing them exactly what we need and how to get there. We set this up for them to have lots of passion and enthusiasm while avoiding overwhelm and burnout. You also know that I put an emphasis on sales as the gateway to your business.
In my recent discussions I have been getting a lot of feedback around the belief that you have to be an extrovert to be good at sales. Meaning you must be things like a: gregarious, verbose, social loving, mingling, weekend warrior kind of person. To the contrary, you can’t be great at sales if you tend to be quiet, prefer to stay home with a good book or hugging the wall at a party and keeping a general low profile in the social arena.
The truth is….none of that matters. Yup…you read that right. It’s all bullshit. What matters more than if you are an introvert or an extrovert or ambivert…or any ‘vert’ at all is your skill set. I have seen the most socially apt person suck at sales, and I have seen the quietest wall flower around that you might have mistaken for a deaf mute at a party absolutely glow in a 1:1 conversation. All you have to do to be good at sales is uplevel your skill set.
Too often when we hear people talk about sales training or skills they immediately feel like they need to take a shower because they immediately get a picture of a scumbag sleazeball who is pushily chasing them around a used car lot. This could not be further from the truth.
In its purest form it isn’t really about selling at all….it is about moving, motivating and inspiring people through conversation. We all move people. We move our children to do chores, and homework, and behave and eat vegetables…eventually move out. We move employees to be more productive and take on more responsibility, to be good leaders, etc. We move our customers and clients to invest in themselves through us and our products or services. We are all in the business of moving and inspiring people.
Sales is nothing more than moving people. We are moving them to a decision or an action for their highest and greatest good. Without this ability our business do not reach their fullest potential. Without mastery of this skill, I do not get to use all the other fancy tools in my bag to strategize, leverage and uplevel their business. Without sales there is no business to grow. Why? Because people have to first say yes and become a buyer of what we offer before we can serve them.
What roadblocks do your prospective buyers run into when trying to move them to take action?
Where do you see yourself struggle in inspiring them in this process?
Keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming free masterclass to help you uplevel your skill set without feeling sales-ey or pushy.
How can I get more people to the conversations so it’s not so hard to convert them when they do get there?
It all begins with how you are seeding the sale. What is ‘seeding’? Seeding is dropping things into conversation or the sphere of awareness of your prospective buyers. It is piquing the curiosity and interest of others and trusting that if the ground is fertile it will grow with a little watering. The lovely thing about seeding is it can be subtle and does not require pushy sales tactics that make you feel sleazy.
A few ways to seed the sale that are within easy reach and you can start today! I am going to give you four that are always top of mind for me. Please feel free to reach out with questions or comments below!
Testimonials/ Social Proof
We know testimonials exist. We make decisions to buy or work with someone based on them, but we are often afraid to ask for them.
People want to know that the path they are considering has been traveled by someone else. They want to know they are not alone, and that others have had an experience that they too desire to have. They also want to be in the ‘cool kids club’. People want to be the person in those stories and experiences that your testimonials describe. Can you imagine how great it also feels to be the person sharing those stories? Your people are dying to be asked to share their wonderful experiences! They often simply don’t know how or where to do so, and they likely don’t understand the impact they would have and how much it would serve you. People are good. They want to make a difference for you the same way you make a difference for them.
Invite them to be part of the ‘cool kids club’. Let them know they are the elite amongst the elite in your tribe and that you would love to have more people like them in your world. It is the greatest compliment to be asked to give a testimonial or send a referral. They are often wishing they could have given back already.
How to ask for a testimonial:
When they give you a compliment, graciously accept it and then let them know how much you appreciate them and say, “Would you mind sharing those words with others who may not know us as well yet?” Give them a form, or ask them if you can put those words into an email for them that you will send for thier approval.
If you weren’t offered a compliment..elicit one. Examples: “How was your visit today?” “What were your takeaways from our time together?” “ How do you feel about the experience you have been having with <insert, you, your business, your team etc>?” “What do you like most about working with us?” When they offer kind words go back to item #1 and ask to share their words.
How to ask for a referral:
When they give you a compliment, graciously accept it and then let them know how much you appreciate them and say, “I really love serving you and I would love to have more people just like you. Who do you know that could benefit from the same experience you have had?”
If you weren’t offered a compliment..elicit one. Examples: “How was your visit today?” “What were your takeaways from our time together?” “ How do you feel about the experience you have been having with <insert, you, your business, your team etc>?” “What do you like most about working with us?” When they offer kind words go back to item #1 and invite them to refer.
What about those people who don’t refer because they don’t want anyone to know that they are getting ‘help’? Acknowledge and give them permission to feel how they feel….AND then give them verbiage. “Sally, I know that our work together is very private and I take confidentiality very seriously. I love working with you and I am proud of your results. I hope you are too! If I could give you a way to send me referrals without you having to say you work with me, would you be willing to do so?” Most people will say yes here. If they don’t it is a prime opportunity to find out what you don’t know and ask some questions. This is your chance to educate them. Help them be able to identify the pain points and signals of people who are your ideal target market. When they are in contact with friends family and colleague who exhibit these struggles, they can gently say, “I have a friend who works with people just like you to help them move from <insert pain> to <insert results>. May I make an introduction for you?” Nobody is ‘outing’ themselves and people are getting the services and support that make a difference for them in a way everyone can feel good about.
Think like they think
You have to get inside the heads of your ideal clients. Please do not misunderstand. I am not proposing we manipulate or coerce. We are already trusting that the soil is fertile and theses seeds we are planting can be nurtured to grow. We are here to serve Use language that is in alignment with how they think and how they make decisions to not only put them at ease during the decision making process, but to also build trust and rapport in letting them feel understood and honored. When we use words that are in alignment with their natural ways of thinking we build relationship. People will break contracts but they won’t break relationship. Get in a relationship.
Don’t sell the way you buy
It’s a trap! To my point above. You have to get into their natural way of buying. Too often we sell to others they way we like to buy. This can lead to a lot of people being left behind or out in the cold. If they make decisions in a way different from you, they will feel isolated and misunderstood if you sell to them in YOUR preferred way if it does not align with your own. To really serve we have to be flexible in our methods and always come from a place of serving in the highest and greatest good of the person we are in conversation with. How can we know how another person buys? Listen. Any sales conversation begins with a plain old conversation. Listen for what motivates them. Find their big ‘why’. Learn what they value and what is important to them. If you listen with purity of heart, they will lead you to how to best serve them.
Features vs Benefits
So often we talk features and fail to put enough attention on the results and benefits of working with us or engaging in our products or services. Features tell someone how something works or what it may do, but they fail to help someone understand the difference it will make to them or the end result of the experience. This is most importantly put in the context of ‘What is in it for me?’ They want to know ‘why’ they need what you are offering, ‘how’ it is going to change their life for the better, and why ‘now’. WHY. HOW. NOW.
If you naturally lean toward feature its ok to talk about them… AND you need to put in context of outcomes. Use this formula to convert features to benefits and results:
<Xxx feature> so that you can < insert benefit or results here>
Look at sales conversations as just what they are: a conversation. Be really present in the moment and listen for what they are looking for.
Strive to serve them not sell them and your authenticity and truth will stand out against the competition because you gave them the gift of connection and relationship. Seed the sale with these tips to warm them up and then give them the choice to learn more. If they reach out to take the conversation further then you know the soil is fertile. Water away!
If we can help, please reach out via your favorite social media channels or drop us a note below in comments.
If this message can help someone you know please share this post!
When gaining new business entrepreneurs love to talk about bottom lines and closing deals. This should all be language we use ‘internally’ of course, but it is often how we talk…and even think about it. I want to invite you to have a reframe. What if we look at the energy of ‘opening’ vs ‘closing’. Think about the words themselves. Opening is receiving and allowing. Closing is protecting and repelling. It can be a pervasive thought pattern in how we treat the process. What if we not only look at it as ‘opening relationships’ vs ‘closing deals’, but also actually change the thoughts and the language we use internally?
Can you feel the difference?
Opening relationships inherently dictates that we are in for the long haul of service. We are establishing connections that goes beyond the sale. It breeds trust and loyalty. People will break a contract, but they will not break a relationship. Give them reasons to choose and stay with you beyond price and experience.
Opening relationships also allows you to build an unpaid sales force of heart centered, ride or die fans through referrals. This is free advertising and comes with the highest rates of conversion. Referrals transfer their trust in you to those they refer, they share their already great experience and people come to the conversation ready to say yes. It’s a slam dunk.
So why do most businesses focus largely and sometimes exclusively on new business and closing deals?!
Instead of compensating for the churn and burning the greatest amount of your energy and attention on new acquisition what if you focus on relationship and instead of letting them stampede out the back door? Close the back door. Nurture them, love them up, compliment them, celebrate them and ask them to bring their tribe. Serving these people, keeping them and inviting them to bring their circle of influence is infinitely easier than getting a yes from a cold lead.
Sounds pretty great to me!
Ask yourself why your current clients wouldn’t refer to you and then make sure you solve those problems. Ask them for their trust through referral and then give them the verbiage to make it easy to talk to thier people.
Open relationships…stop closing deals
Do you need help closing the back door? Drop us a note here or reach out via your Facebook and we are happy to offer support. Together, let’s serve more people!
Every year about this time I create space to spend time to review the year that almost was and plan the one yet to come. I begin with how I want to feel as I move throughout the year. I am a big fan of the Desire Map process (Danielle Laporte). Choose the feeling words for how you want to feel and then engineer goals from there. Each year I look at last years words and evaluate how I did at feeling that way and choose how I want to feel followed by goals that are in alignment with attracting those feelings.
Last year, truth be told, I didn’t do so great at staying in line with my desired feelings and got a little wrapped up in the tactical and the needs of others. It is always good to look back at what worked, what didn’t, and what you would do if you had a do over. This helps create a path to integrate the learning and create new standards for how you operate.
If you just take the learning without creating a path to applying it you don’t gain true wisdom from the experience.
In looking at what didn’t work this year. I gave a way a lot of time to things that did not move me closer to goals or me desired feelings. I spread myself across more projects and contract clients than I should have when I could have done less better. As ‘The Balance Maven’ my own personal balance experience is important to me. Truth be told, you cannot authentically lead someone to a place you have never been so I am always pushing the envelope on my own boundaries. It makes me better and that experience gets passed on to my clients.
In the coming year I plan to get back to focusing on how I want to feel, serving in ways that have a greater impact on others and that fill me up vs drain me out.
How do you want to feel in the coming year?
Where do you want to go in your life and business?
Last week I met with my business mastermind, who also happen to have become my dearest friends, to think bigger and then create the strategy that delivers on those very endeavors. Bigger visibility my way, my voice, my ‘Soapbox’. Wholeheartedly authentically without apology. MORE REAL and doing it all in less time than I was doing it before so I can have more space to meet the growing needs of my family.
It is amazing to do this planning with people who have a sharp business acumen, big and fiercely loving hearts, with no bullshi, real talk, and a crap ton of fun. You have to take a hard objective look at the year and all its successes and failures. You have to do it with people who will see you bigger than you see yourself and help you reverse engineer the plan that will take you there step by step. Having the knowledge of what you will achieve is one thing…a solid application of that knowledge is entirely another, and the most important part. Having accountability from a mentor or tribe is the secret sauce to reaching your destination. I feel like my crew would piggy back me if necessary. There is no better feeling than having people that you can count on thick and thin, good times and bad rain or shine.
Who are your people?
How will you plan next year?
Start with who you look up to. Who has things to say that resonate with you?
If you need help please comment below drop us a message or find us on Facebook Messenger!
Welcome back to ‘The Soapbox’! Anyone feel that the 4th quarter doldrums can be a hard time to meet your financial goals?
There are a lot of ‘reasons’ why people may decline or delay engaging in services that will make a meaningful difference in their business or life at the end of the year. Often they lead with the ‘money’ reason. Sometimes it’s the ‘time’ challenge due to holiday chaos, and other times it is what I like to call the ‘Scarlett O’Hara’…”I’ll think of it tomorrow, After all, tomorrow is another day!” (Everyone has seen Gone With The Wind right!?!?!?) They are just trying to ‘get through’ the end of the year and tell themselves they will make these kind of ‘growth’ decisions and investments after 1st of year.
Some business owners have had some experiences that makes them believe there is something different about the 4th quarter. It is so easy to tell a story that because ‘xyz’ (insert holiday spending, pending tax bills, low customer engagement etc) the 4th quarter is always slow. It can become habit each passing year to not invite as many people to the conversation as, “They aren’t going to say yes during this time of year anyway.” I invite you to consider this may not be real and it is a construct or story that you or your industry have bought into.
It can be hard to find the pain point that ideal clients and customers want to avoid enough to get them to move forward for their highest and greatest good…even in the face of a story. If we are to serve, we have to be careful not to buy into their story or ‘reasons’ that may really be excuses that they aren’t even aware of. We have to hold their greatest potential at the forefront and help them get out of their stories.
How do we do that you ask? It is a blend of mindset and strategy.
We have to help them find greater benefit and value in taking action than staying where they are. You have to show your leads and prospects WHY taking action now is in their best interest. However, before that, YOU have to ask yourself what stories YOU might be telling about THEM and why they are not buying. You cannot come to the table with limiting beliefs or your own head trash. You cannot diagnose their pocket book. Your mind and heart have to be open and clear. YOU have to believe at your core in any of the solutions that you are going to propose to them. You have to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that them taking action with you NOW, not later is in their best interest and lead them through their excuses toward action on their behalf.
PLEASE NOTE: This is not a BS game of manipulation. Super powers are only meant to be used for good.
You have to know that helping them navigate their fear and ‘reasons’ is truly in their best interest. To them the reasons feel real. They do not feel like excuses. They do not see how they are holding them back. It is a delicate dance to awareness with them.
Let’s walk through a few of the most common objections that we find in the 4th quarter.
“I don’t have the money.” There are many reasons for this expression. Your prospective customer and clients may not have had a fruitful first three quarters, work may be seasonal, they may be falling prey to the same ‘reasons’ from their own clients, living in fear and anticipation of a large tax bill they need to conserve for, holiday spending/travel etc…..the list goes on. How can engaging with you or your organization increase cash flow and ease the burden of these reasons? The money roadblock is simply a value proposition. People find money for the things they value. Not having money is often a case of “I don’t yet see value or why I should prioritize that’.
“I don’t have time with all of the end of year activities and holiday plans.” What do you offer that allows them to get time back in their day and be more strategic or efficient? How will delays in action delay their results? Can the deliciousness of those results create a large enough impact to tempt them away from the desire to delay. Can you show them the juice is worth the squeeze? This roadblock is a direct result of no sense of urgency. What you offer has to be so tantalizing that it draws such a gap between where they are and where they want to be that it makes where they want to be more irresistible than the comfort of staying still.
“Just need to get through the end of the year” (signs that they feel to stressed to make any decisions).
What will working with you bring to their world that alleviates stress, reduces overwhelm and gains clarity. What can you help them do now that makes an impact before end of year, but just as, if not more, importantly set them up for a great start at the beginning of the year. Too often people wait until beginning of year to take massive action and create change. Ahem….New Year’s Resolutions anyone? As a result they may not see the fruits of their labor until closer to end of the 1st quarter. Taking action in the 4th quarter ensures that they begin the year with these results vs waiting for them. They need to know this is not going to add to their burden, but alleviate it.
YOU have the power to improve your 4th quarter conversations and sales no matter what your previous history dictates, no matter what your industry has previously claimed, no matter what any of your peers say or the stories that have been told in the past. The past is the past and has already happened. The 4th quarter, however is here and now and you CAN have different experiences or results than what you have previously known. You can tell a new story and help your prospective clients and customers do the same so you ALL have a banging end to the year and set next year up to be the best year ever!
If you would like help with a specific objection and need verbiage or help through the mindset and stories you tell that are keeping you from reaching YOUR year end goals, comment below or reach out on Facebook via messenger! We love to hear from you and give you some tips or hacks to ease the struggle. If you don’t struggle in quarter 4 and it’s your best ever we want to hear your success stories too! Tell us all your secrets!